What Artists and Writers Share in Common

I have been reading a lot of writers’ websites. I’ve noticed as they make their lists, I often say, yes, artists think that way as well. For example, A. K. Andrews asks, Can Your Computer Drain Your Creativity? One could certainly make this argument for writers or visual artists. In this post, I’ll explore what artists and writers share in common.

sleeping child

Here is my list:

  • If you don’t write, you won’t have good or bad writing. So write. If you don’t draw, you won’t have a good or bad drawing. So draw.
  • Creativity drives the work of both artist and writer. Artist’s block or writer’s block can hamper that creativity.
  • Artists and writers can both make use of blogs as platforms to show their work.
  • Inspirational exercises can stimulate both artists and writers.
  • A blog can be used as a platform to teach art or writing. An artist or a writer can thus demonstrate their skills.
  • Artists think in images. Writers think in words. Both tend to hyperfocus when at work.
  • An interviewer asked Hemingway, why did you rework the ending so many times? What was it that stumped you? He replied, “Getting the words right.” An artist in a similar fashion can rework a painting many times, especially one or two details.

What do you think – what do artists and writers share in common? How are they different?

Note on the drawing: I found the drawing of a young girl in a sketchbook – it must be from almost ten years ago, when my daughter was a toddler.

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12 thoughts on “What Artists and Writers Share in Common

  • I like your train of thought, capturing both concepts.

    I have used both art and words together in the past…taking a specific photographic scene and then processing it with my own quotation or short poem within the finished photograph.

  • Not being an artist .. but I think we are both trying to share a bit of ourselves..too simplistic.. I think it is all creative expression and include photographers in that..Michelle

    • Yes, certainly photographers fit into many of these examples! I was thinking of many kinds of artists as well – musicians, dancers, show producers … but I know art and writing best.

  • Thankyou so much for mentioning my blog post Leora. I was an artist before I was a writer so I think they have a lot in common. My take is that the common denominator is they both come from the right side if the brain. I find painting and writing a meditative process, and either can get you in ‘the zone’ where your subconscious takes over & you really hit your creative streak. When I’m rewriting and changing a word here & a sentence there,it feels so similar to final brush strokes that ultimately can make or break a painting.
    Your drawing is lovely Leora. Isn’t it nice to come across something you did ages ago & still connect with it . Thanks so much for the post:-)

    • Yes, that right side of the brain often does take over in writing and in art.

      Glad you enjoy my old sketch. I struggled with how I wanted the reproduction to appear – scanning or photographing a simple sketch captures too much dark grays, I’m afraid. I ended up using a white paint brush in Photoshop to bring out the highlights. I tried using the curves tool, but it wasn’t exacting enough.

  • If you don’t write, you won’t have good or bad writing. So write. If you don’t draw, you won’t have a good or bad drawing. So draw.
    I like this idea. In fact, just this afternoon, a friend and I were talking about how the only way to master any skill or talent is simply to start trying.

    Other examples: If you don’t get in the pool, you won’t be a good or a bad swimmer. So jump in. If you don’t use a foreign language you have learned, you won’t speak that language fluently or atrociously. So open your mouth and start talking.

    • The foreign language one certainly is familiar, as in, if you don’t open your mouth in Hebrew, you won’t get better at speaking the language (thinking of one of my sons).

  • Society tends to entertain the idea that creativity is all genius and no work. I struggle to teach the opposite to my pupils. The idea of starting with a draft is alien to them. I try to tell them that the songs they listen to was not written in two minutes but am not sure I am successful in getting the idea across.

    • Great insight – that could be a whole new post in itself: “Society tends to entertain the idea that creativity is all genius and no work. I struggle to teach the opposite to my pupils. ”

      I try to send that idea to myself as well! Some say the difference between a good artist and a great artist is hard work.

  • You make it sound so simple. If you are a writer you must write and if you are a painter you must paint. It’s what we do — both are creative endeavors even if you’re writing and designing a brochure for a technical product.

    • Simple? really? Ah, I fear nothing is simple. I’m chugging along here …

      Good point about writing and designing as creative even when paid. I think it can be even harder to do as a paid endeavor.

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