Find Work Where You Can Draw Your Own Lines (Shop Talk #10)
Color inside your own lines
I’ve had several conversations lately with people looking for ways to bring writing into the rest of their lives. Some want to make a living as writers. Others want to flesh out a particular passion that been dormant behind the demands of their day job.
In each case I suggest drawing their own lines.
What I mean is to look for opportunities where you can define the problem yourself (or in collaboration with a few). When you define a problem yourself, you set the focus and you begin to take ownership. Then your brainpan starts spinning in a fresh orbit that lets you locate resources to help solve that problem. Defining the problem is a way of looking at the topic of your passion and finding what about it that excites you and where that might be a problem/solution for others. Inevitably you want to send your topic out so others can begin to care as well—or perhaps you send it out to find those other few who care.
Writing something is a way of drawing your own lines.
I know this from (literally) drawing lines of definition: over at Dumb Sketch Daily (currently at dumb sketch #152) I’ve been trying to learn to draw. I’ve found that an ink pen does a kind of definition work that my eye longs for. Sometimes I wonder if ink is a crutch: outlining before filling in detail with color or graphite. Do I really need those lines? But then I think
I don’t care.
Because there is something about the crisp line that yields a bit of loony joy. Yes, it is true, that line does not exist on the edge of my Brussels Sprouts. Not really.
Seeing something clearly feels worth that particular fiction.
What definition work will you do today?
Where will you draw lines?
Image credit: Kirk Livingston
Dumb sketch: Kirk Livingston
See also: “Can 78 bad sketches change your life?”