Write. Paint. Play. - Maggie Stiefvater NYT Best Selling Author
January 2, 2021

Write. Paint. Play.

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People often ask me if my art helps my writing or my writing helps my music or vice versa. The answer is yes, I think (?), but not the way I ever expect. The process of getting abstract concepts out of my head and onto paper or into a recording studio or on a page is a bizarre, amorphous one, but every year I understand more and more that it’s the same no matter what I’m making.

Swapping between media helps me see it more clearly: when I throw out a version of an art piece, for instance, to try it again, to try to get closer to what I intended, it seems like a more straightforward process than when I do it to every word in a manuscript.

When I do little scratch thumbnails of characters’ voices before I begin writing, it makes more sense what I’m trying to learn when I do little color swatches before a big art piece.

When I write a lot of little pieces of music and throw out all but one musical phrase that will later only be important to me in a track, it helps me accept when that happens with my plots, too.

It means that once I find a process that works in one media, I immediately try to see if I can apply it to the others to make more and more interesting and nuanced stuff each year.

And helps me remember art can be good, art can be what you intended to make, and art can be what other people want — but also to remember these are three different goals that often have to be worked toward separately.