The Writing Landscape

Art Journal Prompt: Draw an inside Map

I can get lost even when I have a map in hand, because I have no sense of direction. But maps fascinate me, and I’ve used a lot of vintage maps in my art. I especially like the metaphor of a map – it is a way to move from one place to the next, to find new meaning, to change location, to see new things, and even to explore ourselves. I love the language of the road map: treasure hunting, adventure seeking, discovering uncharted territory, traveling to new places while we always, and at the same time, have the means to find our way back home right there in our hands (or phones – I’m also a big fan of GPS maps). Going away is just as important as coming home to me.

I think traveling will also take you to new places within. We can also map out our own interior design in a way. To me this is very linked to personal journaling and self-discovery. By journaling we explore our own inner world, and by drawing a map of my own inner world, I see it more clearly. A while back I carefully mapped out where I am at with my word of the year: writing, mostly because it is a place where I need some guidance forward right now…

Hand-drawn map in my art journal

As my writing has been at a stand-still for most of this year, my One Little Word not helping at all, I decided to draw a map of the Inner Landscape of a writer, or rather, me as a writer right now. I think drawing a map is quite difficult and time consuming, but important and super fun. I did over-think quite a bit, talked a lot with my inner critic about the fact that I can not draw and then sent her off and drew anyway…

W is for the Map to Writing

My favorite part of the whole process is coming up with the names of the different places in this Writing Landscape. There is the Forest of Discontent, where I’m at right now with my writing, though I can see the forest’s edge glimmer in sunlight at a distance…

Writing Map Detail: the Procrastination Mountains

The Writing Landscape

Surrounding the forest is the Desert of No Ideas (or deserted ideas), and neighboring like a dark cloud, is the Procrastination Mountains (the highest top is in the Mountain Range of Inner Obstacles) where I have a Hideaway Cabin that I stay in a lot. It’s just so darn cozy there, homey and comforting (with a big sofa and telly). It’s just a walk away from the Spider Web of WWW (it’s the wrong writing way, also known as Other People’s Awesome Online Writing) where you can sit and watch cute bugs and spiders all day without even moving a pen…

Writing Map Detail: The Forest of Discontent

Between these two dark places is the Freeze Up Patch and the Hard (To Find) Road Forward, and as you pass the desert you only reach the Gate that is Always Locked (typically I think that’s where my Inner Critic hangs out too). If you’re lucky in The Writing Landscape you’ll eventually reach the water, where there is Shallow Writing grounds and Deep Reef beyond the Fishing Spot.

Writing Map Detail: The Spider Web

I guess the Lawn of Yawn gets its water from the Lake of Bright Ideas, where the sun always shines and the pencils are constantly sharp and moving on to the next chapter. But if you visit, be weary of the Ebb and Flow! It can catch you of guard…

The Writing Map Overview

So as you understand, writing is a tricky thing with lots of road blocks on the way to the Good Writing that Makes you Happy – but you’ve got to find your own way there. There are many different roads to move forward on, pick one and forge ahead. This is just my personal map, and my thoughts, on the obstacals I often find and the landscape I have to travel through (always on my own, pen in hand).

This map came about as Tammy asked me to draw something for her art journal series Prompt60, though the idea of an Inner Map was my own. Check out prompt #38 – all about drawing your own map in your Art Journal. Thanks Tammy for always inspiring me.

Thank YOU for reading this post, I appreciate you being here on this journey.

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18 Responses to The Writing Landscape

  1. Arielle says:

    What a gorgeous map, Hanna! I am a big fan of maps, too! I am loving all your landscape details and your names of places. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  2. Miri says:

    Hvor er det en smuk, fin, inspirerende mde at gribe det an p. At have et kort ved hnden, nr vi skal ud i det ukendte kan vre en stor hjlp ! At have et kort ved hnden, nr vi er faret vild og ikke ved hvordan vi skal finde hjem, det er godt.
    Ej hvor er det bare flot :)

  3. Corinna says:

    Wow! That is a wonderful map! Love your drawings and names. And somehow, I do find myself in quite a similar world. We might meet in the Spider Web or the Procrastination Mountains once in a while. I’m there quite too often. ;)
    Thanks for sharing this awesome piece of art!

  4. Andria says:

    This map is absolutely delightful, Hanna. I could sit and look at it for hours, and get so much from it. I love the idea of using a map to explore inner worlds. (I, too, enjoy maps as part of my art-making, and how meaningful to create one’s own!) When I was a teacher, and writing was part of my curriculum, I would often have my students create “Life Maps” to help them see all of the topics for writing they already possess, simply from the lives they have already lived. It is a very effective pre-writing exercise!

  5. I’m caught in the web this morning, going to my favourite haunts . . . ALL of them it would seem. Extracting, rescuing myself now with a final ‘post comment’ command!

  6. What a beautiful map of your inner writing landscape! I can see that you have hidden depths and fun corners to write in. So clever and beautifully painted. I also like what Adriana said above, about making a “life map” to unearth topics we already possess within us. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. Denise H says:

    I love this! I would like to try this same thing some time in the future and will add a ‘life map’ or ‘personal map’ to my list of art journal prompts that I draw from when I have no other inspiration. Your map is so beautifully drawn & painted & ‘place named’!

  8. Sandy says:

    Your map and comments are spot on and meaningful to me and probably many others who struggle to overcome doubts about talent and value and acceptance. You’re the best and I honor you! Keep going….please.

  9. Ellen says:

    This is wonderful. I love the names you came up with for the different parts of your world. They made me laugh, ponder, sympathize and understand. Be well and happy.

  10. Toni says:

    What synchronistic timing! I’ve just received my copy of a mixed media journaling book called Personal Geographies – I owned it once before but at that time it just didn’t resonate, and I sold it. In the last several weeks, though, all of my thoughts and journaling (& reading!) has been drawn to everything ‘map’ … yours, shared here, is brilliant. I have started a list of potential ‘map topics’ and have found that most of them center on interior journeys – emotional, spiritual. I’m going to go see the blog you link to – it feels like all this was gifted to me today.

  11. lauren says:

    What a wonderful mapmaker you are! I’m sure that all who have experienced the creative doldrums can appreciate it no matter what has taken the wind out of their sails. Your map is inspiring! And you are too! Thanks!

  12. anja says:

    how did you know that this is what my landscape looks like but I’ve never in the world given it a moment’s thought to invent these brilliantly found names sprung from your dimensions. This is wonderfully done!!! well, you’re back then! I think you are ready to cross a border into a new country with names like ‘the road to success’ and ‘the path of glory’

  13. This is so wonderful! Internal maps are even more important than space-and-time maps. Just love these!

  14. Marit says:

    What a gorgeous map Hanna! I LOVE seeing the names other people come up with in these kinds of ‘personal maps’. I once draw a map like this (it’s in this photoalbum). I remember I just bought the book “personal geographies” (Jill K. Berry) and was inspired by it. Do you know that book? Maybe I should draw me a personal map again… it’s fun!

  15. Karyl Howard says:

    I love it! Thank you for sharing and thank you for your return to your blog. I’m glad that you are okay!

  16. Kathryn says:

    I love this post Hanna! What a beautifully illustrative map – both figuratively and literally. I think most creative people can relate to all those regions. :)

  17. This map is absolutely amazing!!! Inspired to figure out my landscape now!!! <3

  18. Chris says:

    Hanna, I hear and see everything you are saying and showing, here. Besides the fact the map is a delight for the eye and mind, it also echoes so much of what’s inside me. I used to write fiction and poetry and even confessional articles for decades, and then all of a sudden…

    Cheers to your journey, my friend !

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