Lately, I have been focusing on personal development in my art work, expanding my skills, and really trying to extend myself. I invested heavily in some amazing tutorials and the payoff has been phenomenal. I am now exploring much more complicated scenes and am finally coming to grips with digital painting and overpainting, which I have been wanting to learn for years. Here is my first ‘painted from scratch’ effort.
It’s no Rembrandt, but I’m loving it! And the added bonus is that my personal development quest is keeping me sane during a major writing slump.
Every Cloud has a Silver Lining
The lack of motivation and inspiration for my writing started as a niggle, manifesting as fewer words per day, then missed writing days, which turned into missed writing weeks, and now sadly, missed writing months! I no longer wake up, grab my laptop, and start writing before I have had my first cup of tea. It’s frustrating and I’m not sure how to make it come back. I started to beat myself up over it, and even made myself sit at the computer and stare at the screen for hours on end. ‘I don’t believe in writer’s block; this is a discipline thing,’ I said to my apathetic self, but shaming didn’t help either.
So, I tried distraction in the form of digital art tutorials. If I couldn’t be creative in one way, then perhaps I could in another. What do they say, every cloud has a silver lining? Or was it more about, making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Either way, I shifted my mindset. ‘I can’t write’ became ‘I am taking a break to work on personal development.’
It still sucked that I was not putting pen to paper, but I was being kinder to myself, and it convinced my internal demons that I wasn’t wasting time.
Just When I Wasn’t Looking
A few weeks ago, I was looking at the book covers on a fantasy series of mine that has been out a while. It is under my Sadie Collins pen name, and book 1, The Wolf You Feed, was the second book I ever wrote. I have always wanted to have more illustrative covers for this series, so as part of my writing procrastination personal development, I decided to finally tackle this and create new art work for the books. The plan was to let my imagination run wild and create a scene out of each book.
Here is the one I created for the first book. It depicts Tore, the central character, meeting with his father, the old school, austere, Lycan clan leader.
Boy did I have fun! I spent way too much time on these, but in my defense, there are 6 books in total in the series, and then two boxed sets, so almost two weeks building each of the core scenes wasn’t so bad. They look so pretty, and I’ve finally uploaded them to Amazon!
A Glimmer of Hope
While creating these scenes, I remembered that a couple of years ago, I’d started a seventh book for the series. Deadlines for other books, and a heavier emphasis on my romance stories, meant the book was pushed aside and forgotten. Curiosity got the better of me and I dug it out of my files. Maybe there was enough there for a short story that I could put on my website.
I was surprised to find that I had 50 thousand words. Hmm, not a short story then. Honestly, I was astounded that I had put the thing away with so much of it written. Before I knew it, the day had passed and I’d read through the whole lot. Then something happened… I began typing. A couple of days later, I had written a new chapter. It was like pulling teeth, slow and painful, and I really didn’t want to do it, but it was a chapter. A few days after that there were several more chapters.
I’m proud to say, I finished the story… all 82 thousand words of it.
It was not plain sailing; in fact, it was quite the struggle. I really had to push myself to get there, and I can’t say I enjoyed the process. There was a lot of deleting, a fair bit of soul searching, and more than once, I stared at the blank page for hours on end before giving up for the day. But I did finish, and I am now knee-deep in the editing process.
My writing slump isn’t over yet, far from it. I still can’t get myself to start something new, but I have finished drafting this book, and I have set myself a deadline to get it published. The pre-order goes live Sept 1st, so I have to get all the editing done. It is a glimmer of hope, and I am calling that a win–albeit a tiny one.
This last book is called Blood Ties, and the opening scene involves my skinwalker warriors hunting an escaped mishipeshu, a mythical creature that is part panther with dragon scales on its back. It has a serpent-like tail and a mane of black feathers, oh… and horns. A kind of Heinz 57 type creature. Needless to say, Deposit Photos was decidedly lacking in photographs of such animals. Okay, no problem. I could create my own fantastical creature. I am tickled pink how well it turned out. Below is the mishipeshu that appears on book 7’s cover.
So the moral of the story? Personal development is not writing procrastination; it is exercising my creativity, and it’s well worth the investment. It might not have rid me of my writer’s block, but I am one step closer to finding my way back. I’m just hoping the second step comes soon.
Angela Stevens is an Amazon International Best Selling Author. Her steamy romance novel, Nolan’s Resolution, from the highly popular multi-author series, After Hurricane Nina, hit #1 New Release on Amazon in America, Canada and the UK.
Her 5 book debut series, Hockey Punk, is a sports romance series set around her adopted town near DC and revolves around her favorite sport of ice hockey. Writing in both contemporary romance and contemporary fantasy genres, Angela portrays gritty characters with emotionally charged plots and is not afraid to tackle difficult social issues in her fiction. If you pick up one of her romances, you may have to order an extra supply of tissues, but Angela Stevens will always deliver you a HEA and some smoldering hot scenes to get you there.