MANW Check-In Week 14: Making Room for Art

Today’s check-in is brief; my head’s been down and I’ve been focused on words, words, art, and more words. I’d like to briefly discuss what it means to make room for art, and how a simple trick to reprogram your brain can help you get the words down, the sketches out, or the stitches stitched. Often, we feel guilty making art because it feels as if it’s not important. It’s not work, it’s not going to make us any money, it’s playtime. These toxic attitudes toward our art affect our mindset and sink into our subconscious, so when we go to make art it can feel like it’s a “big deal” or a major event.

The value of making art can’t often be seen or felt until we actually do the work, however, which means that we have a tendency to say “No, I can’t.” before we do it because we are operating off bad assumptions. It won’t be worth making a bracelet, because it’s just for you. It won’t be worth writing that story, because no one will read it. Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. These premises, when coupled with the time required to sit down and make art, combine to form a barrier that actively works against our inner artist. Then, when we do make art, we feel guilty about it. We feel as if we shouldn’t have been making art in the first place.

To get past that roadblock, sometimes the best way to do that is to not think about the value after you make art or the time required. Instead, focus on where you do something small to make art by re-prioritizing your efforts to put your art (and yourself) first. For example, if you’re having a hard time writing a novel, then perhaps your priority isn’t placed on finishing one. What happens when you do make it a priority? Suddenly, everything shifts. You might spend your days doing the same thing you’ve always done, but instead you’re actively looking for ways to carve out ten, fifteen, twenty minutes at a time to chip away at your story.

I hope you’re continuing to make art and you’re having fun this week! Spring seems to have arrived with a lot of sunshine, some rain, and many flowers. Finally, eh?

    Mood: There is nothing but words
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: 2. And I, um, went through withdrawal.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Walking!
    In My Ears: Air conditioner
    Game Last Played: Pokemon GO
    Book Last Read: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: The 10th Kingdom
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition and Unknown Armies Books 1-3. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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