I don't want this space to be all about me and my journey. I want it to live and breathe with all of our journeys, whether they directly relate to artist's way activities or not. This is a space for creative rebirth, renewal and revelations. If you've read a great quote, share it! If you've seen an amazing documentary that inspired you, tell us about it! If you've created an amazing collage that you are bursting with pride over, we'd love it if you let us sneak a peek of it.
To start us off, today, I'll just share some of my journey this week with Artist's Way activities. Tomorrow, i think I will share one of my artistic endeavors. Watch out, world!...
From My Hall of Champions
One of the biggest cheerleaders of my creativity in my life has been Jenn H. Jenn was one of my best friends throughout my childhood years, and she was incredibly special to me in so many ways. But the gift she gave my creative self-worth left a lifelong imprint.
Every story I wrote for several years, Jenn demanded to read, regardless of whether it was finished or in “perfect” condition. I’d bring in a story to school and wait with bated breath for her reaction sometime later in the day, which was always, “I love it! This is awesome!” In her bubbly penmanship, she’d leave comments in the margins next to her favorite lines or react to things characters did. I still have the story where she wrote something to the effect of, “You have to finish this story, or I will kill you!” I want to frame those words because the motivating power of them was so incredible to me. They made my day then, and thinking about them at this moment makes my day once again.
Jenn offered the kind of unconditional love and support of a friend that everyone deserves to be blessed with at some point in their life. Not having her in my life in quite the same way anymore definitely leaves an un-fillable hole. She knows how she touched my life though. And she still offers to read my writing. Maybe I'll take her up on that offer again one day soon.
If I had Five Other Lives to Lead, I would be:
1. A Cirque du Soleil acrobat
2. A Broadway performer
3. A web designer
4. A motivational speaker
5. A forensic scientist
Tools for Your Journey Toward Creative Recovery
Cameron suggests regularly using two main tools to help us work toward creative recovery. The Morning Pages is a free-form writing exercise used to help us find our creativity.
Buy a notebook just for your morning pages. Find a comfortable spot where you can start your day, clear your mind, and just write. Write whatever comes to mind, no matter how silly or petty or strange it sounds.
It doesn’t have to be perfect prose. It doesn’t have to make sense. It can be choppy. It can be so boring re-reading it would be pure torture. Ignore your inner critic if it tells you Don’t write this crap. The point is to keep your hand and pen in motion.
You can use Morning Pages as a diary of sorts. You can include dreams from the night before, to-do lists, work out creative ideas, or even write a letter you can never actually send. The point is to clear your mind of whatever thoughts and feelings might be clogging it up. You’ll often leave your morning pages feeling refreshed and more focused to do whatever needs to be done in the day.
In Morning Pages you explore your thoughts. You send out your hopes, dreams, and concerns to the universe and make them better known to yourself. In the other main tool of creative recovery, the Artist Date, you take time for your inner artist, or inner child, paving the way for guidance, insight, and inspiration. This is your chance to have a play date with yourself, giving you quality time to nurture your spirit in solitude, doing things that “fill the well” of your creative resources with sensory images that inspire and delight.
Browse a bookstore. Make snow angels in the backyard. See a play. Visit an art museum. Take a long, soothing bath, while listening to your favorite music. Take a long walk while the sun is setting. Make it enjoyable!
Make a commitment to your inner artist to do your daily Morning Pages and a weekly Artist Date.
It is suggested that you read these once a day. Keep watch for changes in your attitudes or beliefs.
Basic Principles of Creative Recovery
As the new year dawns and I hunker down to finish my novel, I come once again to The Artist’s Way. For the last couple weeks, I have been taking increasing steps toward unblocking myself creatively again. I’ve been talking about my journey and brainstorming aloud and on paper. I’ve been researching areas where I am less than an expert to keep me moving forward in those parts of the story that had previously caused me to tread water or circle back to other storylines. And yes, I am once again remembering to play on the page.
An athlete stretches and lifts weights to prepare for peak performance racing. Those seeking creative success—and by success here, I mean being actively creative instead of creatively blocked—also can do exercises to help get and keep them conditioned for optimum creativity. To help me stay on track with one of my new year’s resolutions, which also happens to align with Cameron’s Basic Principles of Creativity: Using my God-given gifts of creativity and working toward my creative dreams, I turn to the Artist’s Way course for additional direction.
I encourage any of you seeking to claim more creativity in your life to take the journey with me on whatever path you are called. Regardless of how old we are or where life has taken us thus far, whether art is our calling, career, or a hobby, “it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly” to discover and affirm our creativity.
excerpts cross-posted in my personal journal
I'm about to enter Week 4 again, and I am experiencing that same resistance just knowing I am not supposed to read for an entire week. I learned how to read at a very early age, and I have comforted myself to sleep at night for most of my life with a book.
Not reading feels like punishment to me. As a writer, not reading feels like it's stunting my growth. I read for ideas--an interesting article sometimes works its way into an editorial or short story I've written. I read for inspiration--falling in love again with the beauty of a perfectly crafted stream of words in a master storyteller's novel is the fastest way to get me jumping back into the latest story I'm writing.
I read to learn where a story's strengths and weaknesses are, and in turn, discover strengths and weaknesses in my own writing. Oh no, what dreck--I can surely do better!
At the same time, I recognize that reading is often a crutch for me. At times, I swallow myself in an amazing story instead of challenging myself to attempt to work on my own amazing world of characters and plot.
I read to ignore the loneliness I feel finding myself alone on yet another long night--instead of reaching out to my old friends or stepping out of my comfort zone to go out and make new ones.
I read to drown out the steady beat in my brain that tells me to create, to fight the limits of my music ability and just tease the keys of the piano or noodle around on the guitar.
I read to fight the voices that tell me to get out of my routine, to buck up against the inertia that keeps me in a bad relationship or repair the good ones gone sour or hold myself accountable when the going gets tough.
Yes, reading is my drug of choice. And the thought of going through the withdrawal for an entire week makes me want to pull out my hair. Anyone have ideas for fun and stimulating things to do when I don't have my head stuck in a book?
I don't know how many of you are familiar with Angela Shelton... She is amazing and if you haven't seen her documentary, you must ! It impacted my healing in a hugely positive way !
Her book is coming out in April and there is a huge grassroots movement to show up at Barnes and Nobles on April 1st and buy the book. You can also preorder it on her site.
I am one of the team leaders on the joy campaign in Washington and I wanted to encourage these of you in Washington to join the team.
Please note, I am not getting paid to do this and this isn't about slaving away or activism that isn't rewarding! It's about breaking the silence individually, creating and finding our own healing and supporting the movement that Angela Shelton starting in doing all of the above !
She is truly an incredible woman and her videos are helpful and hilarious all at once.
It is so important to remember that healing doesn't have to be all pain all the time and that while it is extremely painful and hard, humor can sometimes help hugely.
And so does community !
Love and healing to all.
artistsway08 is up, running and ready for budding writers and artists to form a new Creative Cluster, for your support,inspiration and encouragement. Join now! (:
Recovering a Sense of Power
As “nice” people, we are taught to deny or bury our anger. On the contrary, anger is to be listened to and honored. Anger is our compass showing us where we’ve been that we haven’t liked, and pointing us where we instead want to go. In our state of creative recovery, anger is a sign of good health.
It tells us won’t work anymore in our old life. Like procrastination. A friend of mine was totally upset when he discovered the plot of the wildly popular Harry Potter series. Why? Because he had written something very similar years earlier while he was a young teacher. He had written chapters into this story when something stopped him. And now, years later, he was kicking himself to discover someone had basically run away with his idea. If only he hadn’t stopped…He wasn’t mad at J.K. Rowling—he was angry with himself.
We can choose to act upon our anger, instead of acting it out. Anger can become our catalyst for change, a kick-start to a new way of life. Anger is a tool, not a master. Laziness, apathy, and despair are what we should be fighting against; we should welcome anger. It tells us when it’s time to stop allowing ourselves to be betrayed (sometimes by ourselves), and to start acting in our own best interest.
Answered prayers—it’s something we plea for with all our hearts, but fear when we receive it. With it, comes great responsibility and expectation. So we might call it luck or coincidence to defuse the power of it. Whatever the name, it’s an answered call, whether conscious or not.
A singer/songwriter has long dreamed of getting her music heard. At a wedding, she strikes up a conversation with an independent film producer who is looking for music for the soundtrack of his latest film.
A woman who has put her dreams of writing a novel long aside stumbles upon a local novelist who will become her friend and mentor, inspire her to start a new novel, and will introduce her to numerous other novelists and people in publishing.
A personal story: having reached the stage where I'd nearly given up on my dreams of becoming a health educator through writing, a friend and colleague invites me to a meeting with a national organization that...offers me training to become a--health educator! I very nearly passed up this meeting, which quite literally fell into my lap, and the training was mentioned very briefly as an aside. This time, I didn't let it fly over my head--I opened my mouth and asked for more info, grabbing the opportunity by the horns.
If we’re paying attention, many doors will be opening to our creative dreams. If only we would have the courage to walk through. Fortunately, there won’t be just one chance to follow our dream. Pass it by and a second door will open at a later point. Take a chance, and even more doors will be opened to you.
Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.- Goethe
The universe will reward you for taking risks on its behalf.-Shakti Gawain
Art brings things to light. Creating art can feel a lot like you’re sharing secrets. For many, this breeds fear and shame for our curiosity and exploration. Shame may come in the form of bad reviews, the kind that ridicules, condemns or dismisses. Or we may suddenly become disinterested in our work as we near completion—this becomes a a coping mechanism to avoid pain and vulnerability; often this is a learned behavior from a lifetime of disappointing experience where seeking approval for achievements has constantly been shot down.
We have to create our own safe place. We can’t allow our first negative thought or doubt take hold and stymie our creativity. The antidote for shame is self-love and self-praise. We must find and embrace people with whom we can trust and share our artist child.
DEALING WITH CRITICISM
Useful criticism has a ring of truth, gives us a sense of relief: “Okay, that’s where I go wrong.” Useless criticism leaves us feeling shamed. It is personal, inaccurate, ambiguous, and condemning. Nothing can be learned from it. Artistic child abuse creates rebellion creates block. And it requires healing.
How To Deal
Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.-Brenda Ueland
CREATIVE WORK, AN EXERCISE
I've used my own answers, but please answer for yourself!
"I take two steps forward and two steps back..." Growth is by its very nature erratic; Don't be discouraged if you may dormant at times--think of it as resting for you periods of motion and insight. Your morning pages are important to your growth; commit to doing these and one kind thing for yourself each day. For every nice thing you do for yourself, two more will be done onto you. Be open to gifts, support, and encouragement from unexpected places
Recovering an Identity has taken me a lot longer than I anticipated. Obviously. Week three shall commence this week. With the aid of my fellow Artist Way crew, we're moving forward here, so please don't give up on us just yet. Or if you have, re-discover us again and re-kindle the magic that drew you here in the first place. This only works with all of our participation, so please don't be shy to give input about your experiences--there is no right or wrong, truly. We've all made "mistakes" and had fall backs. It's part of our growth. So please continue the rollercoaster journey. trust me, it's a beautiful ride that you won't want to miss.