5 Things I learned in April

Encouraging pushes from friends help

If you’ve looked at my blog at all since the last Things I Learned post, you’ve probably noticed that April was National Poetry Month. Back at the beginning of the month, a friend of mine texted me a link to another blog she follows, whose author was planning to participate in the poem-a-day challenge. My friend encouraged me to do the same. Although most of my creative works that I share online are art related, my education is actually in writing. I’ve always loved writing, but it has been the most difficult form of creative work for me to share. It always felt too personal, and although I am not a perfectionist, I could rarely bring myself to believe my writing was “good enough” to share. The powerful desire to share my writing, specifically poetry, has always been there, however, so I decided this gentle pushing from my friend was a chance to go ahead and take the leap. And I did! I wrote 30 poems in 30 days this month.

writing isn’t so scary

Along with writing a poem every day this month and posting them on my blog, I also posted them in the community section on Writer’s Digest. I got a lot of good feedback on my poems from the other members there, and it definitely gave me things to think about whenever I feel timid about sharing my writing. I got to see how my writing measured against the other writers there. It is certainly not a competition, but by comparing my work to the work of the others, I could see that my writing is actually closer to what I want it to be than I had previously allowed myself to believe. I was so encouraged by my own progress, courage and success with writing this month that I have resolved to continue doing it weekly (writing a good poem daily is hard) and I’m even considering seriously a combined poetry and art project in the near future.

New friends aren’t so scary

We branched out and spent time with some different people this month. People we know, but essentially new friends. I’m always quite hesitant about relationships and social interaction. Becoming known to someone is one of those strange paradoxes wherein the desire for it is high, but the fear and insecurity about submitting to the task of making oneself vulnerable is almost too much to bear. Hyperbolic, I know, but it’s not easy for everyone. What we ended up discovering is that we are more alike than we may have thought, had fun together and wanted to spend more time together. It’s as simple as that!

I actually do still love reading

When your major study focus in college is English, you go through the whole arsenal of literature, lit crit, stuff that’s good, stuff that’s weird and everything in between. School sort of took the joy out of reading for me, at least at the time. That was why I focused more on writing and the technical aspects of language rather than literature. I’m still not a voracious reader to this day, but this month I read a few volumes of poetry, Just Kids by Patti Smith, half of a Franz Kline monograph and I re-read Light, Color & Gesture by Jay Maisel. I had great experiences with each book, and I feel so good, so enriched by having read them. I learned that my problem is not that I don’t love reading, it’s that I have convinced myself, erroneously, that I don’t love reading.

making art feels like home

In addition to writing a poem every day and reading several books, I made a lot of art this month. I finished 3 18″x24″ mixed media pieces using mainly my new favorite medium, acrylic ink. I love it. It has all the speed and efficiency benefits of regular acrylic, but covers much better and saturates to vivid, beautiful colors. The hours I spend sketching, drawing and painting go by so fast and I don’t even notice. It has become my favorite time of the day when I can devote focused time to making art. Creativity and intentionality, in general, has been the theme for my April this year, and it feels amazing. Just like home.

What have you learned in April? Leave a comment below!

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