Artist, Photographer, Engineer, but Maybe not a Writer?
August 31, 2016 § 4 Comments
By Christa McHugh
“I am a photographer, artist, musician, engineer… and goofy kid at heart.”
This is a quote that I use to describe myself on all of my social media profiles, and back in my single days, my dating profile. These are things that I am. One thing I am not and have never claimed to be: a writer. Somehow, this non-writer’s first class in her Critical and Creative Thinking Masters program is Creative Nonfiction and one of my last assignments of the semester is to write about writing. So here I am. Writing about writing.
But, in all these things that I actually am, I am a storyteller. As a photographer I can tell a story through an image. I can use perspective, color, light and focus to lead the audience down a narrative path to my visual conclusion. As an artist, I can create designs that convey a story through two-dimensional lines and colors. As a musician, the notes from my guitar tell a story through the ebb and flow of the melodies. And even as an engineer, I craft my story through my technical ideas, using the binary narrative of 0’s and 1’s to provide my customers with a solution to their technical problems.
But, I am definitely not a writer. I have never attended a writing workshop. I don’t spend hours hovering over a shiny silver laptop in a trendy coffee shop. I don’t even own a leather bound notebook. I do not “network” with other “writers.” I do not keep a journal. I don’t own a vintage typewriter. And come to think of it I don’t think I have ever used a typewriter. I’m not even an alcoholic, although I do enjoy a good dry dirty martini and a nice glass of wine.
So, what is my word count? 312? Why am I here? And am I done yet?
When I do write, I do what most writers describe… I pour my thoughts and feelings onto the page. I let it flow. But, then I refine, refine and refine; every word, every phrase and every sentence. I read and revise again. I solicit feedback and revise even more. I pull from my archive of the lessons I have learned through my music, my art, my photography and my professional career to ensure that these words display the imagery, paint the picture, sing the melody and create the design that leads my readers on my narrative journey.
I obsess over every word and every minor detail. I over analyze. And then I over analyze my analysis. I question every word on the page, until I feel that warm sensation in my chest of satisfaction and exhaustion. It is my body, mind and soul letting me know that I have done all that I can to pen my narrative… as good, bad or ugly the final product may be.
And I enjoy every step of the arduous reiterative process.
So, I may never be cool enough to be a writer. But, hopefully, one day you can call me a storyteller.
Christa McHugh (@christaphoto) is a photographer, artist, musician, engineer… and goofy kid at heart. She has received her MFA in Media Design Management from the International Academy of Design Technology in Tampa. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Critical and Creative Thinking at the University of Nebraska Omaha.