Sunday, May 04, 2008

Blogging The Artist's Way

I've been feeling kind of lacking in creativity lately. I haven't been writing, haven't been making jewelry, having been knitting, having been doing anything creative, really. I've been busy, it's true, but something as important as that deserves to have some attention paid to it.

So I've decided to do The Artist's Way again. I did it once, a long time ago, but I think I could benefit from doing it again. It's very well known, but for anyone who hasn't heard of it, it's basically a course in regaining creativity for creative who may be blocked, or people who don't think they are creative, but would like to be. It's a little woo-woo "New Age," I guess, but a lot of it is pretty straightforward. I started it today; I read the introduction and the first chapter over the past couple of days. Today starts Week 1.

Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety

My notes for Week 1:

  • Protect the artist child within
  • Acknowledge that you are an artist
  • Lose the fear of being wrong
  • Don't judge yourself, allow yourself to make mistakes
  • Go slow -- it isn't a competition, and there's no deadline
  • Affirmations: "I am a billiant & prolific __________."
  • Blurts - subconscious negative responses -- turn them into positive affirmations
  • Also - creative affirmations, i.e., "I am a channel for God's creativity, and my work comes to good," etc.

You are assigned tasks for the week; the expectation is that you will do most of them, you don't have to do all of them. The most important ones are the Morning Pages and the Artist Date.

Tasks for Week 1

  1. Morning pages
  2. Artist date
  3. List three early enemies of your creative self worth
  4. Write the story of one of these
  5. Write a "letter to the editor" in your defense
  6. List three champions of your creative self worth
  7. Write a thank you letter to someone who encouraged you (mailed or unmailed)
  8. If you had five other lives to lead, what would they be? Select one, and live it this week, as much as possible
  9. If negatives occur this week, turn them into positive affirmations
  10. Take a 20 minute walk with your inner artist

The Morning Pages are just three pages, written in longhand first thing in the morning, with no formatting or no thought other than to write three pages. I think of it as kind of a "brain dump" -- there's a lot of stuff in there that needs to get out, stuff that is clogging up the available space. Worry, concern, jealousy, anger. I already know that it helps to journal, but this is even more freeform. You aren't supposed to re-read them, in fact, you might as well throw them away, or shred them, or burn them. The point isn't to write anything worthwhile, it's just to write.

Artist Dates are time spent alone (well, the point is you're taking your inner artist on a date); no one else is allowed to come along. Cameron suggests visiting an art supply store, or a museum or the five and dime; it doesn't have to be expensive, it doesn't have to involve any expense at all. You could spend five dollars and buy crayons and stickers, or go to the park, or buy a museum pass.

The point is just to go out and do something inspirational, something fun, something with no particular agenda or expectation. Something that you enjoy. It definitely shouldn't be something that you think you should do, or anything that's particularly intellectually edifying, unless that's what you enjoy.

My Artist Date this week was going to a bead show at the convention center. I don't guess I mentioned it, but I hurt my back a week ago. One of those stupid lower back things -- I bent over to dry my hair and something popped, twanged, I don't know. Something hurt so badly that I could hardly straighten up. It's been bothering me all week.

Yesterday I drove past the convention center sign while I was running errands and saw the notice of the bead show. I wanted to go then, but my back was really bothering me and I knew I couldn't enjoy it. But today I was feeling a little better, so I went for an hour. It was a $5 entrance fee, and I spent about $25. I bought a Thai Hill Tribe silver charm--a little ring to slip on a chain--and several bags from someone's "grab bag" table--some aventurine, some carnelian, some gray potato pearls--those will all be used to make jewelry to sell--and a gift just for me, a Turkish "Evil Eye" pendant on a silver chain. Or, I guess, a gift for my inner artist.

Some links:

The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron
A Light for the Journey
Watermark: The Artist's Way
The Artist's Way Blog

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