Getting Sloppy with It

On the matter of making art, sometimes painters will get intentionally sloppy with their work to get their creativity muscles working.

Some visual artists may do a quick study, as Hunt Slonem does every morning with his rabbits. Or, they may draw something with their non-dominant hand. In visual art, sometimes the mess becomes the art.

Note: anyone can do a splatter painting. This must be true, as I’ve done several of them, my first after a 30-something year gap post-grade school before attempting to create any art. The painting below is one of those, and I think I managed to make it look “artful”.

Painting and vignette by Kimberly Kabonga

I’ve found with writers, they are less willing to put “garbage” on the page never mind let anyone else see it. Many of us writers, from beginners to published authors, spend a good deal of time disparaging our work, though I’m sure painters suffer from some of the same affliction.

If you find yourself stuck one day with a bout of writer’s block, or if you want to try your hand at a new form or genre, or if you simply want to try something different, I’ll suggest quickly throwing some utter trash on the page. Maybe it will end up in the bin, maybe you’ll love it, or maybe it will clear a path for you through to your next creative burst.

Image by Alicja from Pixabay

Good luck and enjoy the journey!


  1. Great post, Kimberly! I think the writer’s equivalent to “getting sloppy”, for me anyway, is “writing myself free”. That is just writing anything that comes to mind, stream of consciousness, if you will, until some kind of theme or sense turns up. It’s something you can do as morning pages to get the creative juices flowing. With any luck your muse will catch up with you sooner or later.

  2. I also use morning pages, written in pencil and by hand, as a way of getting the rubbish out of my head. Scribble it down, not to be read (probably illegible anyway!) but a good way for clearing the head to make space for more serious stuff. The latter may not always come, but there’s room for it if and when it does.

  3. I’ve been practicing a sort of sloppy morning page discipline for a couple of years now, on and off. Trying again this month to make it a regular feature. I find it difficult to just write – write without looking beyond to what I might do with the writing – so thinking of it as Jackson Pollock essay is not a bad visual to hold on to. Thanks for the suggestion!

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