Fiction words written last week: 6,216 words
Blogs/Newsletter articles written: 1,687 words
Writing month to date total: 10,446 words.
Writing year to date total: 32,603 words.
Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted.
Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches.
Audio: I spent almost 3 hours on editing audio.
Week’s happenings: I accomplished much last week. I finished reading through The Doorway Prince. I just kept having to add scenes to it. Adding, adding, adding until it clicked and announced that it was done. After that, it seemed like a flurry of activity to get it uploaded for pre-order. Watch for Wednesday of this week when I have an excerpt from the book here on this blog. I also got History of a Dead Man up as a print book. At this moment, it hasn’t been released and while not a new book, I hadn’t planned on it being in print version until I released the 4th Sacred Knight book. Surprise! Well, more on that in a couple weeks. I updated my Zibbet store to add items. I also updated my book website. I got my February newsletter out. What, you didn’t get yours? Well, be sure you’ve signed up. Click the “Sign up for Dawn’s email newletter” button off to your right to make sure you don’t miss out on more sneak peeks and fun stuff.
I’m surprised I didn’t get any painting done yesterday. I woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday with this piece of advise someone in a dream was telling me. I couldn’t completely shake off the dream to write it down, but I remember waking up several more times during the night with it repeating in my head. The advise: “An artist who believes his canvas is white remains invisible.” This probably doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t paint, but I remember the context of the dream right before this line was said to me. I was talking to this unknown someone about the gesso (a preliminary paint used on canvas) being white already so why did I need another layer of white? I know that probably has no meaning for anyone, but let’s see if I can explain and maybe even I will glean some additional value out of it. In the dream, I was complaining that the canvas already had paint on it, white. How could I do anything when it had already been painted on? I was obviously having blank canvas syndrome.
After I woke up and began to write down the quote, I had to expand it. “An artist who believes his canvas is white remains invisible. A writer who believes his page is blank remains untold.”
That was when this really started to come together for me.
Many writers I have both known and heard about have faced the blank page, whether it be a literal piece of paper or a blank computer screen. They sit there and do not write. They fear that they won’t be perfect. They can’t get out of their head to tell their story. I thank my lucky stars that I have never been afraid of the blank page, even when I had writer’s block and spent many years not writing. Even then, I could always find the hole on the page and slip through it to another world; I just felt all my words were crap. Hint: that’s usually a sign that you’re leveling up. I know that now. The blank page never remains that way for me for long. I write. I tell stories. I don’t even care if anyone else reads them or not. I’ve shared if people want to access them. I’m moving onto the next story. No blank pages. I see through to another time and place; I take the next adventure. My page is never blank and so my stories get told.
My illustration on the other hand, is a whole different creature. My canvases are blank. I am remaining invisible. I don’t know who I am as an illustrator. That’s what this dream was telling me. I have to find that same hole and slip through to see the artwork that is already created. I don’t know how to do that.
Okay, so there are some people who would say to just start throwing paint at the canvas and see what develops. I’ve done that, and I’ve had success (which in itself can be scary because it’s a power one has no control over and yet needs to respect). When I have a story idea, I usually start with a character who begins just talking to me and won’t shut up. I don’t know what to listen for with the painting. I don’t know what to look for. I feel blind. It’s invisible.
And yet I really wanted to paint on Sunday. Badly. I’d written early in the morning and by the afternoon, I wanted to switch to painting, but I didn’t know what to paint. I didn’t even pull out my paints because I didn’t want to face the blank canvas. Or, blank Bristol Board as the case probably would have been. Do I believe that my painting surface is white? I must for my work remains invisible.
I remember thinking at one point last night as I woke again with the quote circling my head that I could paint all my canvases with a light coat of burnt sienna. But all that would be doing is changing the color of the canvas, not solving the problem.
I know the answer, for it is the same thing answer for the blank page syndrome for writers: Just start. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. Just do something. Give yourself forward movement. The block points to leveling up.
If I let my canvases remain white, the magic I want to share with the world will never been seen.