From now on, these check-in posts will be on Wednesdays, but since I was guest blogging yesterday, I postponed this first one to today.

Week 1 Theme: “Recovering a Sense of Safety.”  The idea is that artists need support, especially from ourselves.  We need to learn how to nurture our inner artist, to make her feel safe and to avoid self-sabotage from ourselves and from others.  One way to do this is to write out every negative thought we think about our art and then write a positive affirmation next to it.  I didn’t do this or the other exercises in this chapter this week because I’ve done it twice before.  I am well aware of which personal demons haunt me the most.  I know that if I don’t write or start talking negative smack to myself it’s because I am afraid.  In fact, I know I have a lot of fear.  I’m hoping later chapters will address how to overcome (or at least work with) the fear.

Morning Pages: Yes, I did them.  Every day.  I even did them enthusiastically for the first few days.  It was only yesterday that I started feeling the temptation to sleep rather than get up and write them, but that is because I don’t like waking up period.  I tell myself the truth – that 15 minutes of extra sleep is not going to make a difference in how I feel that day, but skipping the morning pages most definitely will.  So far that pep talk is working.

Artist Date:  I spent an hour in antique/flea market that I love.  I love looking at the huge variety of objects there and imagining the stories behind them.  The simplest things are the ones that intrigue me the most – a jar of old buttons, a dough bowl and a biscuit tin, a milk-glass cake stand, porcelain tea cups.  Who owned these little treasures and what were their lives like?  When and why did they give them up?  How did they land in this store?  Stories, stories.  Then of course, there are the books.  On this visit, I scored a 1968 hardcover copy of The Complete Poems of Robert Frost and a hardcover copy, in excellent condition, of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

Any “Aha” Moments?  I’m not sure this counts, but one of my children’s book manuscripts had a prologue of sorts that was way too long, but I could not figure out how to cut it down.  It came to me suddenly in the car today, and it’s so simple I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  But it could also be that the course is greasing my creative wheels.  Time will tell.

A few favorite quotes from the Week 1 chapter:

“In a twisted version of Darwinian determinism, we tell ourselves that real artists can survive the most hostile environments and yet find their true calling like homing pigeons.  That’s hogwash.”

In recovering from our creative blocks, it is necessary to go gently and slowly… No high jumping, please!  Mistakes are necessary! Stumbles are normal.  These are baby steps.  Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.”

“By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one.”

Any others have experience to share, either from The Artist’s Way or other creativity-building practices?

The Artist’s Way

Categories: Books, Children's Books, Creativity, The Artist's Way, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , ,

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23 Comments

  1. I remember really enjoying this course, Julie. Sounds like you are, too! (And making great progress.) Congratulations!

  2. Hi Julie! Thanks for sharing your Artist’s Way check-in thoughts. I’ll be regularly checking in to see your progress. I’m currently doing the course for the second time myself (the first time was years ago and I don’t think I got all the way through it). I should actually be finished by now, but I’ve taken a number of breaks – I’m taking one this week in fact – so I’m only up to Week 11. I also didn’t start blogging about it until I was about halfway through the course … but I have been considering doing the follow-up courses (“Walking In This World” and “Finding Water”, which I’ve seen described as sort of intermediate and advanced versions), so I think I’ll blog more regularly about them.

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing. It’s so nice to see how other people are finding The Artist’s Way. I have actually been surprised – and somewhat dismayed – at just how few people there seem to be blogging/tweeting about the course. Even the official Artist’s Way forums are very quiet.

    If you want to see what I’ve been up to, head on over to http://restdreamtry.blogspot.com. I originally started it as a “space for my right brain to play in” but I found myself just blogging more about the creative recovery process than random creative things, so I’ve shifted the focus.

    • Hey thanks for coming by! I didn’t even know she had follow-up courses, although I’m not even going to allow myself to think about that right now…

      Loved your blog and will be following your progress too!

  3. I’ve been doing the Morning Pages every day and I love them. I find that during the course of writing them, my thoughts generally turn to my WIP and I’ve made some amazing discoveries as I’m writing down my thoughts.

    I do, however, have difficulty with those Artist Dates … and I’m not sure why.

    Keep up the great work, Julie!

    • Sheila, good for you! I actually haven’t written a single thing in my morning pages about any of my “real” writing. I just hasn’t been what’s come up for me. I was pleasantly surprised with my epiphany about revising my opening for one of my WIPs though. I’d like to think the course is helping.

      I don’t love the artist dates either, to be honest. Whenever I’ve tried this before I never did them. But I’m determined to give it a go this time and observe what happens (and why I find myself resistant to them.

      You keep up the good work too!

  4. It is going to be so good to read these weekly Artist’s Way check-ins, Julie. I started The Artist’s Way last January, after giving it to myself as a Christmas present, and was very enthusiastic for a beginning, but bogged down. I found that I was expending so much energy on the morning pages, and on another journaling/dreaming/creativity-awakening thing I was doing, that I had no energy left for actual WRITING. I would like to give it a try again some time. I look forward to reading about your progress, and wish you well on the journey!

    • Hmm, were you writing more than the three pages in the morning? I force myself to stop, even if I’m on a roll, for that very reason. Then I try to forget about them until the next morning.

      It’s a really tough program though. Like I said, I’ve already left it incomplete twice. It seems like a small amount of commitment, but it’s actually a great deal of emotional commitment, IMHO.

  5. I just finished reading a book by Julie Cameron, God Is No Laughing Matter, in which she disproves her thesis by “proving that God has a great sense of humor and is waiting for us to lighten up a bit.

    That inspired me to I tackle a reverential subject . . . LOVE . . . with the utmost irreverence.

    I really enjoyed her writing style ~ very straightorward and amusing.

    • Wow, that’s amazing! I haven’t even heard of that book before. I guess she’s written a lot I haven’t read – lol! Good for you for tackling the world’s most important subject!!

  6. Brings back memories of when I did this course. I must try it again and see if I can get past chapter 6. I think you have to do it at the right time, if that makes sense. Good luck and I look forward to your updates!!

    • I’m envious that you’ve made it to chapter 6! I always seem to get bogged down at week 3. Keeping my fingers crossed I’ll pull through this time.

  7. Julie,

    Thanks for being so generous in sharing your journey 😀
    I look forward to checking in on your progress each week!

  8. What an interesting journey you’ve embarked on. I admire your self-discipline! It’s way too easy for me to skip over things I don’t like or don’t really want to do!

  9. I love antique/flea markets too. One of my favorite things to look through are all the old photographs. I wonder who the people are and what stories they would tell me if they could.

    • Oh yes, the photographs are always fantastic! I always wonder who buys those though. To me it seems creepy to hang a photo of strangers on your wall, but maybe I’m missing something…

  10. lynnkelleyauthor

    Thrift stores and antique shops are fun to rummage through. Congrats on the new intro for your children’s story! Yes, I bet it’s working. Keep going!

  11. thanks for sharing your journey thru the /Artist’s Way. I love the book and the process. would love to hear her speak. i have worked through it a number of times. Can’t wait to hear what you learn and experience. the idea of problem solutions coming out of the blue…awesome.

    enjoy the process

  12. I enjoy these updates. I need to explore morning pages.

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