You Don’t Have to be a Master to Master this Medium


Andrea MacDonald

It’s Friday and this is our last day together. Thanks for sticking with me so far.

I’m going to start today’s essay with this question: Think words are the only way to express yourself? Words may be the best way for us writers, but they’re not the only way.

Here’s what I mean. I recently spoke with a travel blogger who took up painting during one of his early trips. Now he creates a treasured piece of artwork on every single one. This not only nurtures his spirit and makes his memories more tangible, it has made him a better blogger. Look at his creations and you can pretty much feel the emotion in every brush stroke.

Numerous studies show a positive link between painting or drawing and productivity. Some scientists even believe creating visual art can change your brain, not to mention reducing cortisol levels and normalizing heart rate and blood pressure.

Have you ever been to a party or event and met an artist–or perhaps seen one on TV–who is also incredibly articulate? You can’t help but think how great it would be to have the best of both worlds.

I’m here to tell you, these two talents are not mutually exclusive.

Thinking of ourselves as “just” writers is a bit limiting, after all. We all like to create or we wouldn’t be in this business. So why not use a paintbrush or even a stylus to express our ideas for a change?

Maybe you don’t fancy yourself a modern-day Monet or Van Gogh. You’re not a graphic designer. Maybe you can’t even draw a straight line.

That’s OK. See how well you can express your ideas visually by using tools like infographics. You can get loads of free templates from places like HubSpot. Just think how much that skill alone will increase your value as a writer.

Hey, if a picture is worth a thousand words, an infographic has to be worth at least a few hundred bucks from your client.

Action step: Create a picture you’re proud to hang on your wall, even if you’re never picked up a brush. You can use whatever medium you like, even a paint program from your computer.

Let your creative spirit run wild on this one. Unless you’re already an author-illustrator (color me jealous!), this should be a good challenge.

Describe your creations below. I’d love to hear all about them!

Well, that’s it for this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed the different ways and ideas I’ve given you to boost your productivity and writing skills.

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Published: November 20, 2015

7 Responses to “You Don’t Have to be a Master to Master this Medium”

  1. It's been an enjoyable week Andrea. Thank you for sharing. I do paint & sketch - a love of horses and sunsets. My favorite? A horse at full gallop quasi Chinese style. The medium? Watercolor on interfacing (the kind used in sewing to reinforce collars etc.) to give it a parchment look. I just explored, experimented & created a large painting & it felt wonderful, as did the glow when a Chinese visitor thought it was done by a Chinese artist!

    JudyB-RaleighNovember 20, 2015 at 12:22 pm

  2. No thanks - I can't paint or draw worth a darn, but I do like to take photos. So, I'll just have to express my "artistic" side that way..

    Guest (Sue Coulson)November 20, 2015 at 5:51 pm

  3. Being a Computer Network Engineer I chose creating a Video as part of my writing presentation. It was all about the Whiteside Group who raises money for Homeless Vets. How we can all help. You see that is my passion. My first CP client watched it and hired me to do some of her Proposal responses! Guess it was OK. Thanks for the new idea.

    Guest (Garret Whiteside)November 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm

  4. At the last Writer's Digest conference an entire section was devoted to adult coloring books. They have been proven to stimulate creativity and especially for writers.

    mike1000November 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

  5. First of all, neither Monet nor van Gogh had EVER drawn a "straight line." So that's hardly a requisite for art. Secondly, born dyslexic, I can tell you that writing and drawing ARE mutually exclusive. But not forever. Afraid to even talk, I resorted to drawing AMAZINGLY; convinced that I was some Leonardo reincarnate. Over time, as words became more familiar (perhaps in effort to discern Leonardo's notebooks), dyslexia waned. That my book CAN be judged by its cover is a story unto itself.

    Guest (Chris Morris)November 23, 2015 at 9:22 am

  6. I enjoy most forms of art. I used to paint when my children were small and got away from that.

    On my trip to Cuenca, Ecuador I did enjoy beautiful abstract work. I have been considering trying my hand at that.

    I am a photographer and writer.

    Thank you Andrea,

    j finnemoreNovember 26, 2015 at 10:52 am

  7. I am an artist and a writer. I work mainly in watercolor and oil. Also,I sketch in pencil and ink. People have suggested to me that I should do illustrations, but my time is very limited, so I discounted the idea. After reading this, perhaps I should reconsider, and make time to do it. I don't know what the client would say, however.....

    wordsaremylifeNovember 30, 2015 at 9:52 am


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