Margie likes to puzzle, Liz is a quilter. Usually when I'm blocked or don't know what to do with my manuscripts, I go for a walk or I sew.
For the past several months the interwebz have been awash in the latest creativity craze: adult coloring. Experts (and coloring book designers) insist coloring is a great way to de-stress, to be creative, to unblock those writing blocks.
News outlets have interviewed all kinds of experts about why coloring is good for us as adults, what this kind of intense concentration can do for our brains, and why it is suddenly catching on. I've avoided reading most of them, but I've seen the headlines.
There are a few grown-up coloring books on Amazon that have been #1 best sellers for weeks and weeks. There are mandala coloring books and hot guy coloring books and animal coloring books and flower coloring books...there are probably sex coloring books.
I wanted to see what the fuss was all about, so I decided to grab a coloring book, some colored
I've been hip-deep in revisions for Super #3 for a few weeks and I'm at the point that I know what I've finished is good....but I needed a little distance from the project to freshen my mind a bit. So I shut down my computer, turned off my phone and turned on the radio and started to color.
I colored a bunny (isn't he cute?) and some daffodils and didn't bother to make either of them look anything close to what we'd see in the real world. For me coloring has never been about recreating on paper something I might see in the wild; it's been about taking something from life and making it
brighter and different. I think the flowers are my favorite because they are just different enough to be completely wrong, but I like the way the colors play against one another.
I spent a solid hour coloring one afternoon last week. I didn't think about which colors came next, I just chose what felt right and colored whatever seemed to need that particular color.
It was fun taking a little time to do something different than my usual thing. I didn't feel like I was doing anything 'wrong' or like I was stealing time away from myself. I gained the distance I wanted from the revisions and now I'm nearly to the end and ready to send the pages off to my editor.
Still, I don't think I'll become an ardent adult colorer (is that even a word?). It isn't that I didn't like the act of coloring, because i did. I've always liked coloring, but I've never been in love with it. I was never the kid who created masterpiece after masterpiece, who filled up book after book. My mom probably still has boxes of partially finished coloring books of mine because 1) she never throws anything away and 2) usually I would get half-way finished with a page and be ready to move on to the next thing. That's kind of what it was like this time. It was fun while I was doing it, I felt creative. It was calming and I found myself whistling as I did it. But I never lost myself in the act of coloring the way I lose myself in the act of sewing. Maybe having one of those more detailed adult coloring books would make a difference, I don't really know.
What I do know is this: when I finish a sewing project, I feel a sense of accomplishment, and usually somewhere along the line I am hit with a bolt of inspiration about conflict or motivation or characterization. When I finished these coloring pages I felt. . like they were cute. So maybe sewing is where my non-writing creative outlet lies.
What about you? Have you tried out the adult coloring craze? What did you think?