What Makes Artists Well-Suited to Writing?
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V.B. Bernard asked the following, and it is discussion-worthy:

"I have been meaning to ask you all...what do you think it is about artists that make them so well suited for writing too? 

I think one thing is a finely tuned sense of detail.   And you?  What do you think?"

  • I think it's all in the way of being; you know like having something to say and then accompany it with a Visual image. I love writing Short Stories and accompany them with Visual Pictures to get the point across.
  • Good link -- metaphor!

    I entered into writing as an artist / architect.  I hated writing as a kid.  I began drawing journals as an architect, and then writing accompanied them (I am decent at English, despite my dyslexia, thankfully.)  I grew to enjoying writing when it was for myself, then to tell stories, and frankly, now I am a writer first, though my skills as an artist are well-developed.  If I had tons of time I might find balance between the two, but having to choose I choose writing.

  • Great question and discussion, artists/writers. I'm onboard with everything you've mentioned, so far, and am also thinking that a strong link between language and art may be metaphor. Both convey ideas, emotions, experiences using representational images. Both are profound processes for the creator and offer unlimited possibilities for expression. Art and writing are twin sisters, but not identical. During my many years as a middle school language arts teacher it was unthinkable to teach and expect learning to occur without incorporating both, and most of my students adored being able to enhance even their essays with visuals.  

    I'm wondering which comes first for you.  Are you more artist or more writer?  Or are those passions equal for you? 

  • Yes, Lynn.  And this type of thinking begins to move across the board in other areas, which is where you are heading, i know.  I was lousy at history, unable to remember the disassociated dates and names; however, when I was presented with california history (places I knew) and the social studies made me much more aware of the parts of government, then people who were involved in that were interesting. (Still not good with dates -- dyslexia.  I ask my husband how long we have been married when asked.)  Walking an area, or now, having a piece of furniture in front of me, then "history" makes sense.  

    Glad to see you back!

  • Hi, I've been away for awhile, writing more businessy stuff, proposals, etc 

    I agree with both of you, VB and Kate, and have always thought that what is necessary to do good artwork is a mindset that is flexible enough to go back and forth between the holistic big picture thinking and detail. But good writing,and all tasks for that matter, require the same flexibility.

    Schooling tends to be exclusionary, an only one right way of thinking which excludes that big picture holistic thinking.  Of course that thinking is our first language, and arts thinking, which is why it is basic to preK.

    Holism is both whole and parts but for some reason we are taught that holism is not practical because it does not include detail (?) Seeing the whole first allows you to see relationship, which helps us make sense of all the parts.  

    You're right Kate, VB's question is quite discussion worthy and leads to a fundamental aspect of that huge education crisis.  Arts can deliver holistic thinking which is 'both' thinking that schooling neglects.  

    And thanks, this is helpful for me, it's the kind of thing I'm wrting my proposals on and is an important argument that I need to remember.

  • I will take a turn answering too.  I think it is because artists can't do good art and over-think too much.  We know how to turn off our internal editor.  Artists have an easier time doing this, I think, because editors do not typically learn to paint / draw / sculpt.  However, editors are in training every step of the way in school, as we learn to write with over-critical teachers who never learn to let kids have fun writing and messing with clay.  Writing is serious, painting is fun, and so, we develop editors that write well and can't draw!  

    When I teach writing in the schools I spend all my time unhinging their editors and teaching them to unhinge them too.  What they are good for, and what they can't do well!

    I think VB's take on attention to detail also is true; artists are trained to detail. . . 

    Let's hear from the rest of you!