Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson

Looks can be deceiving.


On the surface, it sure looks like I haven’t been doing anything. My word count on my sequel hasn’t moved at all for weeks. I had to take a break from it, because nothing about it felt good.

Then I got sidetracked. A long time ago, I was going to be an artist when I grew up. I lived and breathed drawing. I took every art class I could, and never went anywhere without a sketchbook or at least loose paper and a pen. When it came time to pick a college, I was torn between art school and becoming a teacher. I decided on teaching, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

About a month ago — curiously (or not), the same time I needed to take a break from the story — I picked up some art supplies at the store and started doodling again. Man, I thought, am I ever rusty! The problem with art is that we have these images in our heads and know what we want them to look like, but somewhere between brain and page the images get altered. I thought, I’m no good at this any more. I’ve lost my touch. The truth of the matter is that like anything else, drawing takes practice. If I was good at it once I can be good at it again, as long as I have patience with myself and acknowledge that fact. There’s been improvement! I’m growing more confident with my art daily and for that, I’m immensely happy.

I haven’t been writing, but I have been creative. I found a digital program I like, which means I can draw on my phone. The screen there is tiny, but the tool set is perfect for someone like me who likes line art. There’s a learning curve, but learning is something I’ve always craved. My need for creativity is being filled, just in a different way. I started a small art blog so I can track my progress.

Another piece of the puzzle is the critique work I’ve been doing. Editing isn’t necessarily compatible with writing, in that they require different parts of the brain and I can’t do both well simultaneously. Rounds of editing instead of rounds of writing: it’s a trade-off with a big payoff and I can deal with it. My only deadline was self-imposed, and disappointing myself is nothing new. I can live with that more readily than I could live with disappointing someone else.

At least I’ve learned that creativity marches on! In one form or another, I’m always creating.


Author: G.L. Jackson

Writer, reader, amateur photographer. Mostly, I just like pretending to be a different person each day of the week.

2 thoughts on “Looks can be deceiving.

  1. How I know that feeling! I always feel rusty when I pick something back up, even fanfic and writing. I’m quaking in my boots at some of the chapters of fanfic I want to get to, simply because it’s been forever since I wrote the pairing or the fic-type.

    Editing and writing ARE so different. My brain finally quit on me once and I’ve done better at separating them since, which was largely to stop betaing for any but one or two select individuals. At all.

    Creating in a different medium can also help and enrich writing because it strengthens brain connections and cross-references. Myself, I’m eclectic, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

    Besides, I could never think you were doing nothing. 🙂 If nothing else, you’re refilling the well.


    • Refilling the well, I like that way of looking at it. It turns out I’m not as bad at it as I thought, so that’s something. Now I’m busy sprinting off in yet another direction, but hey, I’ve got a Gemini ascendant and it keeps me busy.


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