My first FULL morning pages journal

Per my post last week, I’m combining Weeks 8 and 9 into one check-in. It is way later than usual because, well, the vagaries of life got in the way this week – grocery shopping, cooking dinner, transporting kids all over hell’s half-acre.  BUT, this one is a doozy so hold onto your seats! 🙂

  • Week 8 Theme: “Recovering a Sense of Strength.”  This chapter focuses on surviving artistic losses by turning them into gains.  It also works on freeing us from using time as an avoidance strategy and creative block.
  • Week 9 Theme: “Recovering a Sense of Compassion.”  This chapter deals with our biggest creative blocks – the internal ones.  We learn that creative blocks are born from fear and only fear, and that it is artist-abuse to call it anything else – laziness, untalented, unworthy, etc.
  • Morning Pages: I missed a couple of days over the past two weeks, even though I didn’t intend to.  Here’s what I’ve learned about morning pages.  If I say to myself, “I’ll do them later,” I won’t.  They have to get done first thing after I wake up or they just don’t get done.
  • Artist Date: I didn’t go anywhere, but I did indulge myself in a couple of different activities.  First, I have been participating in a free online business boot camp called Women on Purpose.  The calls are an hour a day a few days a week.  Normally I would not allow myself the luxury of a whole hour to do something that is seemingly not directly related to my work.  What I’ve found, however, is that the topics addressed on these calls ARE directly related to how I want to run my business.  They are fun, encouraging and inspiring to listen to.  Second, when I found myself feeling run down this week, I allowed myself a couple of long naps in the late morning.  Very restorative.

Any “Aha” Moments? 

  • Chapter 8: One of the tasks for the week was a “memory mining” exercise.  I discovered that I had done several things in my youth to sabotage my budding writer.  Out of nowhere, I remembered that in my freshman year, my creative writing professor wanted to submit a couple of my papers (which were really personal essays) for publication.  I said no.  He encouraged me to take more creative writing courses.  I didn’t.  I know exactly why I didn’t, which I’m not going to say here, but what’s amazing is that I had forgotten ALL about it.  From there, I was able to remember other things I did over the years to squash myself before anybody else could.  Must. Stop. Doing That.
  • Chapter 9: The big assignment this week was to read the morning pages so far.  Wow.  In a way, that was extremely painful, and in another way, both enlightening and encouraging.  All along I’ve been pleased with my progress.  Just making it to Week 10 is an achievement.  Yet, I hadn’t yet felt that I’d experienced any major transformation.  Well, I was wrong.  My early pages contain lots of name-calling (of myself), feelings of lack – of accomplishment, creativity, discipline, etc.  Somewhere in the middle of my journal (because I have now filled an entire book!), more often than not the name-calling and feelings of inadequacy gave way to insights, ideas and excitement.  After I finished reading, I started thinking about all I have done and everything that has happened since I began November 9, 2011.  A few examples:
Things I’ve done since I began The Artist’s Way
  • Was a PiBoIdMo Winner
  • Set up the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge.  This idea was just a twinkle in my eye at the beginning of November.  Now we are one full month into the challenge with 400+ members!
  • Completed revisions on my primary WIP from the second half of 2012 and sent it off for final comments
  • Continued work on a plan for a soon-to-be-announced side business, including networking and setting up meetings
  • Was a guest on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast!
  • Got three assignments (so far) to write articles for the Tools of Change conference in Bologna and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
  • Got a press pass for ToC Bologna
  • Established four-year goals for all aspects of my business, working backwards into each month for 2012
  • Outlined rough ideas for two potential e-books
  • Wrote a picture book draft in January of a story I’ve wanted to write for more than a year
  • Had my very first school visit and got invited for three more as a result
  • Set my networking and continuing education schedule for 2012 – conferences, seminars, etc.
Not too shabby, right?  And I still have three weeks left to go!  The best outcome so far, however, is all of the friends I’ve made along the way, especially from PiBoIdMo and 12 x 12!

A few favorite quotes from the Week 8 chapter:

“Creativity cannot be comfortably quantified in intellectual terms… (T)he entire thrust of intellectualism runs counter to the creative impulse. For an artist, to become overly cerebral is to become crippled.”

“Pain that is not used profitably quickly solidifies into a leaden heart, which makes any action difficult. When faced with a loss, immediately take one small action to support your artist.

“At the heart of the anorexia of artistic avoidance is the denial of process. We like to focus on having learned a skill or having made an artwork. This attention to final form ignores the fact that creativity lies not in the done but in the doing.”

A few favorite quotes from the Week 9 chapter:

“Fear is the true name for what ails the blocked artist. It may be fear of failure or fear of success. Most frequently, it is the fear of abandonment.”

“(B)eing an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline… Enthusiasm (from the Greek, “filled with God”) is an ongoing energy supply tapped into the flow of life itself. Enthusiasm is grounded in play, not work.”

“Remember that art is process. The process is supposed to be fun.”

How have you overcome avoidance (fear) and/or internal blocks to your art?

Week 7 Check-In

Week 6 Check-In

Week 5 Check-In

Week 4 Check-In

Week 3 Check-In

Week 2 Check-In

Week 1 Check-In

The Artist’s Way

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Creativity, Goals, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Spirituality, The Artist's Way, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. Perfectionism plus a fear of criticism held me back for a long time. I was writing and writing, and getting good messages from friends, but never allowing myself to finish things, or to be involved with any sort of a writers’ group.

    Getting involved in Emma’s Just Write for Kids class, and reading her affirming, encouraging words was the first step. Further experiencing her encouraging support — but clear feedback — in manuscript evaluations was the next step. Going to SCBWI LA last year, was a big step. Then getting involved in PiMoIdMo, and especially 12 x 12, has been enormous.

    Thank you for helping me further spread my wings, and thank you for sharing your journey through The Artist’s Way.

  2. Hi Julie,
    Good for you!! I really enjoy reading these updates. (I love the photo of your journal full of entries.) You’re learning and doing so much.
    Thanks for mentioning the nap– I feel guilty when I nap but I’ve been so tired. It’s nice to know someone else takes a nap from time to time.
    Keep going. 🙂

  3. Still working on how to deal with fear/avoidance. I think I am going to check out The Artist’s Way!
    Your accomplishments are inspiring Julie!

  4. Your entry made my day! The Artist’s Way made an impact on me and so many others now. It’s been years since I first read it (back when it first came out), but I’m sure it had an influence on me becoming a creativity coach. Today I feel like I know much more about you. It’s amazing what happens when we let go of old beliefs, isn’t it? Keep going, girl…!!!

  5. You’re such a go-getter, Julie! I love that you’re taking online business classes. What you view as a luxury, many see as “too much work.” 🙂

    Compassion with ourselves is so important, particularly as artists. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Your list of accomplishments is spectacular. I am beyond excited that your 12x12x12 challenge is such a success. 🙂 Congratulations!

  7. Pretty impressive list Tzarina Hedlund!

  8. I am amazed how you keep all the parts of your life! I’m impressed, Julie! Thanks for all you are doing, and will do in 12×12 in 2012.

  9. Very happy to hear about your list and look forward to your future endeavors. I’m not doing morning pages, but I’ve reworked my scheduled so I write in the mornings now. I have a set number. It’s been a freeing experience, because I set my goal. Once I make it, I’m free to tackle the other things on my list.

  10. What a great list, Julie. I don’t know how you fit it all in. They are wonderful accomplishments. This is going to be a great year!

  11. Dear Julie, Thanks for visiting my website and your gracious comment!

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I’m new to your blog and really appreciate all the information and encouragement you’re sharing. I started The Artists Way years ago… the quotes you shared are drawing me back! Thanks!

  12. Enjoyed this blog, Julie. A friend is currently “doing” the Artist’s Way. I think I may just have to get the book myself. Sounds so rewarding. Thanks for sharing.

  13. It’s pretty amazing how we can think we haven’t really changed that much until we look back at something we wrote a few months before. Then we can look back and see all the progress. Amazing, Julie. I, too, did a lot of things to hide from my love of writing in my youth. I used to think about the coulda and shoulda’s, but now I’m just working on moving forward. Thanks for the great insights.

  14. Wow! That is an impressive list of things you’ve accomplished! Well done you! Woo-hoo! 🙂

  15. Julie, your post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’d started the re-writes on my book, and read a passage to my writers group the other night. My plot is solid, the motivation is there, all that is fine. But the writing itself had no color. Literally. I still write the way I was trained in journalism school, just the facts. Today I forced myself to make lists of specific objects and details and colors and emotions, knowing that those are the kinds of things my work is missing. I am battling my biggest fear, that I won’t ever evolve as a writer, that I’ll just get stuck in my old style. Lesson learned: you still have to push yourself, it doesn’t get easier, but you have to stick with it. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments.

  16. Hi Julie (found you from Ellen’s blog 🙂 ), I love how Julia Cameron’s book has inspired you to write Morning Pages and go on Artist’s Dates. I’ve been writing my morning pages for 2 years and it is so valuable to me. (I admit I can’t do 3 full pages every day …). Your list of accomplishments sounds grand. Congrats!


  17. Lynette M Burrows

    Impressive accomplishments! I am so glad you’re making the change from negative self talk to the positive. It is hard, but essential. I hope you take in all the comments/reactions to your post and feel the positive impact you’re having on others, too. Good job!

  18. Julie, I don’t know how you do all you do — and so well! I’m having a hard time just keeping up with posts. I apologize for not being more present here, in recent weeks. I had so much going on, that January wasn’t productive for me. So many people doing wonderful things. But, I do enjoy reading your journey with the Artists Way and am glad to see that you have stayed with the program — it really is such a spiritual process and I think that balance is helpful. Liked your list and that you took out time for yourself.

  19. You’re a rock star!! WTG girl!!! P.S. I adore that photo! It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside as well as a lovely sense of peace.

  20. Liesl Garner at Love~Sparks~Art

    I love that you are keeping track of your weekly check in online. I am in week one for about the third time starting. But this time, I had been developing a daily habit if writing for about a month first.

    Your accomplishments are impressive. I’m rooting for you and being mentored by your successes as well.

    Thank you!

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