Using Writing 201 as a Guide for any Creative Endeavour (part 1)

I missed the sign-up for the February 2016 Writing 201: Finding your Story WordPress Blogging U course. But, that’s okay – I’ve decided to follow along with the ebook version found here.

While I do write poetry and short stories from time to time, my chosen artistic outlet is photography. And in any case, I like seeing all artistic and creative endeavors as intertwined in process. Each begins, whether writing, painting, performance art, with an idea and a desire to create. A need for expression. In that sense, every piece of visual art or writing is a story waiting to be told. Once the process of creating begins, the process of editing coincides. Each brush stroke, key stroke, click of the shutter is a conscious decision. Each pressing of the delete key, re-paint, crop is another conscious decision to pair down, fix, edit. The end goal is to make the result, the art piece, reflect your initial vision – to be what you consider complete and ready to be shared with the world.

Week 1

  1. Finding your Angle
    1. What makes you you?
      1. In thinking about this, I recently edited the first paragraph of my bio, and I think it applies nicely here…
        1. “An introspective, introverted empath, full of anxiety and 90s kid nostalgia, Jennifer Nichole Wells creates images full of desolation, malcontent and longing by transforming her hand-built miniature tableaus through her camera lens. Her images draw influence from her midwestern roots and Florida youth.”
          1. Some items that have helped me define myself and my working process:
            1. “The INJ is different. They look at the blank canvas for a very, very long time. The paints are left untouched and it is absolute silence. They are in an intense state of concentration. In their mind they are imagining the end result they want and how to get there. What will they mix together to get to that end result they so imagine? They will then painstakingly make that vision come to life on the canvas, making sure not one stroke is off. No room for mistakes. It will take an unfortunate amount of time. But once it is finished, if it is exactly the conclusion or painting they wanted in their minds. The INJ will then show it to others, but only then. ” – http://fictionalcharactermbti.tumblr.com/post/138405893556/elusive-introverted-intuition-what-is-it
          2. None of these traits necessarily apply only to me, but combined they make up me and my typical inspirations for my pieces – empty simplistic spaces show loneliness while also reflecting rural scenery, the loneliness in the images serves as icon for malcontent and desolation, etc. etc.
    2. What original details do you see in your story?
      1. My story, I’m very aware is not original. As Writing 201 states, every story has been told before in some fashion or another. However, each of my experiences shapes me and those experiences, while possibly similar to those of others, are specific to me. What I see, do, dream throughout the day is mine and mine alone. Now, I have to find a way to channel it.
    3. How can you mine your personal history got just the right angle?
      1. My obsession with small toys and miniatures has always been completely me, from the time I was very little. I’ve managed to keep trinkets from before I can remember, because the smaller the object, the more I held it dear. Did I consider this when first creating a series with miniatures? Well, no. But it was essentially a natural flow. It felt right to get my ideas out by building small worlds and adding realism through my camera lens. With each series I gathered more items, and got better and better forming ideas, lighting and photographing. I was in tune with the items to the extent that I picked up on various scales quite quickly and could build my own items to coincide with the purchased items, roughly to the right size. I was able to control every tiny detail of the image directly before my camera lens, and part of that I like to think is because it’s something I had been practicing without meaning to from a very early age.
      2. I can also mine what I’ve seen, felt, experienced. For the early part of my childhood I lived in Indiana. Our backyard stretched into a corn field we could walk through to get to my uncle’s house. My grandmother’s neighborhood was half made up of my extended family members – they’d recognize me even if I had no clue who they were. My grandmother’s neighborhood was small and fully walk-able – the houses covered in traditional lap clapboard siding. My neighborhood, while full of life while we lived there, is now quite deteriorated – the young growing families that once populated it, all moved on to what I want to assume were bigger and better homes/neighborhoods.
      3. I grew up in a very Conservative christian home and always felt a bit of an outsider in my Sunday school classes. While I always felt strong in my belief early on, I always seemed to be saying something ‘wrong’ and could never quite wrap my head around why.
        1. Combine these things and much more and you can find my inspiration for many of my images.
        2. corn
        3. IMG_1297
        4. The Church at the Bottom of the Hill
    4. Once you’ve got detail, look even closer – a new angle may be waiting to surprise you.
      1. While  I won’t go into detail here, as Writing 201 suggests, I do like to compare past and present me. Like may be the wrong word here, but in any case – while the core of my personality has remained the same, so many aspects of my personality have dimmed and others brightened over the years. The more introspective I’ve become, the more I’ve learned and accepted myself – attempting to cast away the part of me that lives to please others, and coming to understand the parts of me that make me respond certain ways to different scenarios.
        1. “I did my best to kill her. My excuse, if I were to be had up in a court of law, would be that I acted in self-defence. Had I not killed her she would have killed me. She would have plucked the heart out of my writing. For, as I found, directly I put pen to paper, you cannot review even a novel without having a mind of your own, without expressing what you think to be the truth about human relations, morality, sex. And all these questions, according to the Angel of the House, cannot be dealt with freely and openly by women; they must charm, they must conciliate, they must–to put it bluntly–tell lies if they are to succeed.” – http://s.spachman.tripod.com/Woolf/professions.htm
      2. These events that have helped shape me become inspiration for iconography in my images
        1. shadow 2
        2. Cemetery Gate
    5. Consider using an object as a way “in” to the story.
      1. In this way I shape my series. One object serves as the focal point while the other objects and scenery move around it to tell a fuller story.
        1. PicMonkey Collage2
        2. PicMonkey Collage
  2. Intros and Hooks
  3. Finding your Key Moment
  4. Setting the Scene

Stay tuned for Weeks 2 through 4.

How do your experiences shape you and your creative process?

18 thoughts on “Using Writing 201 as a Guide for any Creative Endeavour (part 1)

  1. Interesting post, much to think about…thanks
    My background in the beginning was a real technical background, I studied in a technical school, first job was as a technician with a (limited) space for creativity. Later I switched more in a marketing direction which push me to think in a more creative way…
    It was at that point I was more and more interested in art and creativity and even my passion (photography) changed direction…
    Thinking about that now, years later I find interesting correlation between my job and my passion…to edit photo for an essay or an exhibition or decide what to display and how to arrange item in a trade fair are very similar mental process…
    robert

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  2. Love your photography Jennifer. Very creative stuff. Different than what I’ve seen out there. I have an eye for images that strike me but I’ve never tried my hand at photography or artwork.

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  3. Earlier I had thanked you because your daily photo challange ignited an interest in photography I did not know I had. Now I want to thank you for the “Writing 201 ” E-Book info and suggesting using it for creative endeavors. I have missed Blogging U. registration several times and never considered there the E-Book.
    You may have created a lazy monster. Instead of “thinking on my own ” I may just kick back and rely on you. Hey! Come to think of it considering the wealth of Word Press bloggers far smarter than me maybe the “why think on my own lazy blogger” strategy is not such a bad idea!
    Thank you Jennifer

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      1. I too have the problem of ever finishing the stories I begin.. But like you said art comes from a desire to create, a need for expression! I guess finishing the art doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of it haha ;)

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