Thirty In Thirty Day 21   

 The Creative Life: Doing What You Can Not Do


Choosing to be a creator writer, painter, composer, fiber artist, sculptor is to also choose to be a life-long learner. In every creative endeavor there is always something to learn: a new form, technique , medium, or method.  That is the joy and the struggle of being a maker. There is exhilaration and fear in learning something new, in pushing one’s self. 

There are often breakthroughs, triumphs and discoveries.

More often one experiences struggle, doubt and do-overs. It may involve painting over a canvas, pulling out stitches, crossing out notes, filling up the wastebasket , or hitting the delete button.

It is not a straight road; rather, it is a wild stumble though the brambles looking for the path. And, it takes time.

Picasso said, “ I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”



For many years I have been working in long-form fiction – the novel.  I completed one a number of years ago. It is the one that many novelists refer to as their “under-the-bed book” because it will never see the light of day. I worked on it for several years until I completed it. Then I put it away.  It had served its purpose by teaching me how to write a novel and how not to write one. I learned how to tell a story.

Four years ago I participated in NANOWRIMO. It is an international event that takes place every November. The goal is to complete a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days.  That means averaging around 1700 words per day.  I began a new novel with a character and a situation that had been bouncing around in my brain for a while. I completed the challenge and ended up with a completed novel that needed lots of polish.

I am on draft number six of that story. What I have gained from that effort was how to revise and edit a novel length manuscript. Plus, I have learned perseverance.


It is still a work in progress that I hope to publish one day.

Recently I have been working on a series of short fairy tales for children.  I have enjoyed writing complete stories in this shorter form. This has kindled a desire to write short stories for adults with an eye on publishing in magazines. This is a recommended step for fiction writers who wish to build a platform that will attract  the interest of agents and book publishers.  So now I am teaching myself to write short stories.

 I have been using the Thirty in Thirty challenge  to try out my skills in quickly developing interesting characters and compelling  story lines. So far I have been able to write some acceptable opening scenes. Now I need to figure out how to extend a story premise to a satisfying conclusion.

I just keep plugging along, one step at a time.

 “I am doing what I cannot do in order to learn how to do it.”