The Bookish Fox

Writing Lessons from Painting Pottery

One of my closest friends had her bachelorette party at one of those studios where you paint pottery. My artistic skills are pretty non-existent, so I went in with a bit of trepidation. However, my feelings of fear subsided a bit when I saw a cute fox piggy bank (or is it a for bank in this case?). I made a beeline for it, grabbed the on-brand fox, and went to my seat.

As I went through the painting process, I learned a ton of lessons that can be applied to writing. 

1. Plan Ahead

Once I started painting, I had a moment of panic. Do foxes have white fur on their faces? What color are their noses? I didn’t make progress on my pottery for a few minutes because I was scrambling to google images of foxes.

Too bad I didn’t realize foxes have white on their faces after I painted the whole face red. I would have been saved this “embarrassing” mistake if I had done my research.

Your takeaway: When you are about to write a book, it is a good idea to have an outline or a plan. That way you don’t fumble or panic as you write. Need help developing an outline? I have your back.

2. Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Work

There was a small child that was killing it. She seriously is going to end up in some gallery some day. She also picked the fox bank and was meticulously painting the eyes and used the perfect orange-red color for the fox fur. She was even using a hair dryer to dry her art! 

I looked down at my own fox and felt painfully inadequate. Especially since I was getting schooled by someone that was at least twenty years younger than me. Once my friends told me to focus on my own fox, I felt more creative and productive.

Your takeaway: Don’t spend your time scrolling through other writers’ social media or agonize over their Amazon rankings. Just focus on your own writing. I guarantee that you will hit higher word counts each day and will be happier in general.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

My fox looked rabid at one point. Literally. I was trying to paint the fox’s mouth white, but the paint dripped down to its stomach. Instead of taking the fox out back and smashing it against the wall, I asked my artistic friend to help. She not only made the fox look healthy, but she also fixed the black eyes so the fox didn’t look like it belonged in Bastille’s Pompeii video. 

Your takeaway: It is okay to reach out for help with your writing. Talk through your issues with a friend or hire an editor to clean up your manuscript. No author is an island.

4. It Take a Few Rounds

When I successfully painted a bank that looked like a fox, I gave a sigh of relief. Then, to my horror, the woman helping us told me I need at least two more coats of paint. I took a deep breath and then carefully repainted the fox with three more coats of paint.

Your takeaway: Your book will not be done when you have finished the first draft. It will take multiple drafts to get the book to where you want it to be. Have patience with yourself and your book. You will get to a version of your book that you are happy with, but it will take a bit of time to get there. 

5. Don’t Forget to Have Fun

After I went on a rant (longer than Buffy’s in season seven) about the fox’s eyes, my friends reminded me that it was supposed to be fun. They also gently gave me a hard time about my neuroses. Their perspective helped me to relax, and it reminded me that I wasn’t performing brain surgery. Even though I wanted a beautiful fox bank to post on social media, the world would not end if it was less than perfect.  

Your takeaway:  Writing is supposed to be fun. Nobody’s life is on the line (except maybe your fictional character’s). Take a deep breath and relax. If you are feeling tense, try to write a humorous scene in your book or play some fun music as you write.

What writing lessons have you learned from your other artistic endeavors? Tell me in the comments below.  

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