Hey You: art is messy

6:00 AM

Hey you. Yeah, you.

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say you’re in the middle of a project right now. It might be a novel, a short story, or a poem. It might be for teens or adults or children. You might be in the heat of the first draft, or in the craze of edits.

Regardless of which of these you’re in at the moment though, I can almost guarantee one thing.

Your book is just a little bit messy.

If you’re in the sea of first drafting, you probably feel like you’re trying to make a sand castle in the bottom of the ocean. The water is quickly destroying any progress you make, tearing away your carefully constructed details and reducing your work of art to a big hunk of blob.

If you’re in the desert of edits, you probably feel like you’re stranded in the Sahara and struggling to make that sand castle—only now you have no water and the sand is too dry to form much of anything at all.

And maybe you’re not in an ocean or a desert. Maybe you’re sitting at your desk with a sheet of nice clean paper. But when you look around for a pen, all you can find is a box of crayons, most of them broken and none of them pointy. A nice, detailed picture or elegant poem is nearly impossible. 




Writing is hard stuff. It’s messy. Whatever stage you’re in, you can probably relate. It’s frustrating when that scene just won’t come together like you wanted, or when you just can’t get your antagonist’s motive down.

And you know what?

It’s okay.

Not just because it’s nano, the notorious month of mayhem and mess, but because it’s writing. Writing is tough stuff. You can’t get it perfect the first, second, or third time. In fact, you can’t ever get it perfect. Not really.

And you know what?

It’s okay.

You know why it’s okay?

Because this is art. And with art, there is not perfect way.

There is no perfect way because there is no set standard. Art is about being expressive and unique. It’s about touching people in ways nothing else can.

People are all very different. Why would there be some set standard of How To Impact a Human? We are all impacted and touched by different things. Thus, all art is beautiful and different.

You—yes you—have power. You have words. You have things to write, a story to tell.

So enjoy the mess. Messiness is its own kind of beautiful.


And there’s always another draft.


How are you faring in nano so far, or whatever writing projects you're currently handling? Are you embracing your mess? 

<3

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14 comments

  1. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. I'm currently sorting through beta reader feedback and wow my novel seems like such a mess right now. But it's ART. Thank you for this reminder <3

    audrey caylin

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    1. Ahhh yes, that's got to be really exciting and scary. You've got this! *passes chocolate and coffee to you*

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  2. Yes!! This is SO TRUE for me right now. I've hit the hard spot in my MG/YA novel, and it's not pretty. It's messy. It's ugly. I would never let my baby into the world at this point. But... It's art. Thanks for the great post, Hannah. 😊

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    1. Ahg. *pats* You've got this! Keep pushing forward!

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  3. You always write such beautiful posts Hannah! <3 Realizing our art is messy is something hard to accept, but it's the truth. As I like to tell myself, there's a reason the word 'art' is in 'heart.' Love your post, as always! :D <3

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    1. Aw, I love that! :D And it's so true! The heart goes into our art, and it breathes life into it. But, in the process ... we make a mess XP Thank goodness we can clean it up a bit!

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  4. You're so right, Hannah! Art is messy - I don't know anyone who'd disagree. And the end result might not turn out like you expected, but often you just need to give it time, and you'll decide you like it later. ;)

    (Nice picture of pointy, non-broken crayons, by the way! xD)

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    1. UGH. I looked for ages for a picture of broken up crayons, but I COULDN'T FIND ONE. For some reason everyone wants /pretty/ pictures. And it was two in the morning and I wasn't home so I couldn't take one myself. *siiigh* I was rather amused though, and wondered if anyone would notice XP It's still hard to draw a good picture with crayons though, so the point stands XP

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  5. Thank you! I needed this reminder as I prepare to step back into editing after some time off.

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    1. Ah, yes. Time off is always a hard decision to make, but almost never regretted. Enjoy your break! You deserve it <3

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