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Creatively, I believe that art and writing fall into the same category; the creation of something new, the love of taking nothing and turning it into something beautiful. However, I was thinking about the difference between the enjoyment I get as an artist (I am still in early stages, but getting better) and the enjoyment as a writer.

The biggest difference, has to be the satisfaction factor. Art is almost instantaneous. Okay, it can take many, many years to become a great artist, but you still have something immediate in front of you, whether it is a doodle or painting or digital work. It is tangible. And, in general, you can share your work fairly promptly and get feedback fairly promptly. Lots of short, sharp, instant moments of appreciation or at least comments, not to mention self satisfaction at seeing something on the paper. Then there is the ability to move on quickly to create the next piece and rinse and repeat.

Writing is so different. Months of slogging are required to “finish” a piece (at least in my case!). You can’t generally share your work with many others before you are nearing completion or perhaps a great outline, you can’t put it online and say, “look at what I did!” because there is a high chance you are looking to get it published, and sharing too much can be dangerous (and also because you don’t want to share too much of your baby too early, or is that just me?) And even just sitting reading over paragraphs recently written doesn’t seem to produce the same sort of “high” as art does, even when the paragraph is sounding damn good. (although there are a few moments when you do think, Wow! That’s quite good…) I think writing is a lot harder than drawing. The motivation is lower without the frequent, personal affirmations that what you are doing is “good.”, as is found with Arting. Often, you only have yourself to pat yourself on the back for long stretches, then you hope to release it to the world and get several pats on the back.

It is a bit like dog training. I used to do some work with the dogs I groomed (I was a dog groomer in my previous life). If the dog did something good, he got a little treat. He then began to enjoy it and behaved much better in order to get more treats. Little and often made everything so much more pleasant for the dog and for me. However, if I waited till the end of the groom to treat, ignoring the little issues, the dog would be rather pleased with his biscuit, but wouldn’t know why he had it and wouldn’t change his behaviour for the better.

I am not 100% certain where I am going with this, but I think it is interesting. Perhaps writers need to step back more often and give themselves a pat on the back. Or chocolate. Chocolate works well.

Perhaps we need a few more treats along the way, especially when the finishing line can seem so very far away.