I’ve been playing with watercolors for the last couple of weeks, and I’m obsessed. For the past few years, I’ve been using black and white, pen and paper exclusively when I make things. Last night, I was showing my work to a friend to build up the courage to show it publicly (F you, impostor syndrome!). And she asked me very seriously, “Julia, when did you learn to watercolor?”
I felt silly, and I replied, “I haven’t.”
I don’t know what I’m doing honestly, but I’m enjoying it. I’m also about learning this new medium out in the open. For the first time I’m making art that kind of makes sense. And so far everyone I’ve shown it to has been impacted by it some way.
Read more about my early journey into watercolors and what I’m making: http://iamailuj.com/watercolors-learning-a-new-medium-in-the-open/
The first glimpse into what I’m working on.
James Patterson’s Advice on Writing Stories
I’ve never read a James Patterson book in my life. But based on the amount of them I see, I can’t deny that the guy is doing something right. He’s a successful writer and people like his fiction writing from what I can tell because it’s accessible and enjoyable.
Mostly what I love about this article are the tips Patterson shares for writing stories. Here are my favorites that I think apply to a whole lot more than stories.
Write stories the way people tell them.
Outline your book like it depends on it (because it does)
Know who you’re writing for and what they want.
Austin Kleon on the Great Discontent
I’ve long been a fan of Austin Kleon and long been a fan of the Great Discontent for their in-depth interviews with awesome people. So this interview is probably my favorite. Here are a few of my favorite chunks:
I always joke with people that the reason I’m a writer is so I can be a professional reader (laughing). It’s a good life.
But as far as work goes, all I think about is how I can do better. What really interests me is what’s next. I really like doing the work. I’m trying to create a daily practice, no matter what, without letting success get in the way. I want to make stuff and not worry so much about the results.
In all creative work, there is a balance between what you want to give the world and what the world needs: if you’re lucky, your work is in the middle. Because of that, I believe that every job has a service element to it. If you want to make creativity your job, you have to think about what your creativity is in service of. Think less about how you can be a genius and more about the scenius. What can you contribute?
The fact is that a lot of people aren’t going to be able to make money doing what they love, so it starts to make people feel bad. That pressure can make someone with a good, stable, bread-winning job feel like he or she has to toss it out because it’s not what they genuinely want to be doing.
The second issue I have with doing what you love—and I’m sure you two are finding this out—is the pressure to overwork. People are led to believe that if they’re doing what they love, then they should be working long hours, or even all day.
Austin Kleon & Hugh MacLeod collaborate on a talk on Show Your Work!
The biggest things I took from the talk are that you have to practice and you have to do it continuously. Working a small amount of time every day a week is way more valuable than a few hours one day a week.
Excuse my awful sketch of Kleon. People drawing for me is a work in progress.
"A Subtltree" by Julia Alaniz (me)
I can’t remember the last time I drew something so immediate and with so much focus. The last time was probably when I was a kid.