Thursday, July 10, 2014

But Don't You Have To Have Natural Talent To Do That?!?! (Sydney Salter)

I can't count the number of times I've told aspiring storytellers--of all ages--that writing is NOT an innate ability. Authors don't possess any particular Word Magic that others cannot access. We're good at putting words on paper because we've practiced, often without realizing it. I started writing by keeping an angst-ridden teenage diary, dabbling with poetic language, and filling notebook after notebook with 10-minute speed writing sessions after reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones. I loved writing and eventually I created publication-worthy stories and novels.

But drawing? That super cool hobby takes innate talent. Too bad I wasn't born with that!

I've spent more than four decades of my life believing that I couldn't draw, even though I love art. I can spend hours in museums, reading biographies about artists, pouring over art books, and admiring pieces at local art festivals. But I never dared to participate in art-making. Never even signed up for a class.

Wasn't born with IT. Dang!

Over the past few years, I've watched my daughters draw and paint. The process looks a lot like my writing journey. Rough immature stuff gets better over time with practice. Lots and lots of practice. Neither child popped out of the womb with colored pencils clenched in her fists--phew!--but a love of coloring books turned into blob portraits of our family and pets. I signed them up for lessons with an artist who lives in my neighborhood, and they learned some short cuts, but mostly they practiced. Doodles appeared everywhere around my house--a few times on the walls. They're doing something they love and they're getting pretty good at it.

So, this summer, I've taken the plunge. I'm diving into a new hobby: drawing. The other night I sat at the kitchen table and doodled along with my daughter.

Sophie has always loved adding wacky aspects to her drawings. I still treasure the angry buffalo comics she drew on a long car trip years ago. Hilarious!

I'm working through I Love To Draw by Jennifer Lipsey. I might even dare to add a couple of puffer fish to the next real letter I send…

Drawing has turned out to be a relaxing hobby. I might even get good at it someday, if I keep practicing.


  1. Love the monkey and I've always thought the same thing and just recently arrived at the same conclusion. Art classes have now gone on my bucket list LOL!