I paint; I draw; I write music and play the guitar (though not well); I knit sweaters and crochet lace and afghans; I do beadwork. At times in the past I have spent some time learning the basics of how to play the hammer dulcimer, the cello, and the pennywhistle. I write a middling amout of poetry. None of these things is ever going to earn me a dime (well, maybe the painting might someday, and I have done the maps and such in some of my books, but in general none of this is going to earn me a dime.) It does allow me to express myself in forms that move beyond the structure of words on page and the linear logic of story, and I suspect it allows my mind to approach my work from angles that it wouldn't otherwise get. I've used my experiences with music and art and crafts in my work, too, but the verisimilitude I've been able to bring to the books because of that has been secondary to the gains I get from having other outlets for creating.
You don't have to be good at any of this stuff to do it. You're doing it for yourself. Cut yourself some slack - you can be a lousy painter and still enjoy the delightful smell of linseed oil and the sensual feel of dabbing paint on canvas, or the homely pleasure of restringing and tuning your guitar and playing a few chords that suddenly sound pretty nice together.
Was this article helpful?