The Artist's Way: Week One

I was turned on to the book "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron by my good friend and fellow blogger, Maria Johnson.  I ordered a used hardback from Amazon and started reading as soon as the book came in the mail.  (Side note: my home receives way too many packages)


Once I read the introduction and the first chapter, I wanted to go and find other bloggers that had updated readers on their week by week progress.  How did things progress?  How were the chapters?  Did you do those silly artist dates?  (Maria mentioned something about an artist date and I thought she was a little crazy)

So...I have completed the Introduction and Week One.  You want to know if I'm writing more than ever.  Am I spitting out book chapters and blog posts like crazy?  Short answer.  No.

The opening chapter introduces the idea of "morning pages."  Three pages of HANDWRITTEN, stream-of-consciouness words.  Nonnegotiable.  The other exercises (of which there are many) are pick and choose, but this must be done.  I found this idea daunting.  First of all, I'm trying to blog/write more.  If i'm using up all my creative energy (and time) writing these long emotional diary entries, how am I ever to get to my other projects?

Julia's idea is that for the blocked or stifled creative person, sometimes you just need to pour out without thinking.  Let the words flow from your brain to your hand to the paper.  Even if all you write is "I don't know what to write" over and over and over again.  It's the act of putting pen to paper which releases you to find your "creative inner child."

Ok...some of it is hokey.  But, to her credit, she does admit that up front.  

There's this thing called the "Affirmations" that you are supposed to do every day.  As you write the affirmations you are supposed to listen to the negative voices from your past contradicting those affirmations.  This...this I didn't like.  I know there are some creative people who were stifled in their gifts by sometimes well-meaning and sometimes downright mean family members/teachers.  I am not one of those people.  My family, friends and my teachers were all incredibly supportive of the creative things that I did.  Incredibly.  Miss Sharon, Miss Diana, Mr. Doster, Mr. Locklear, church choir directors (both Baptist and Methodist), all were instrumental in making me feel that my creative gifts were a beautiful part of who I was and am.  I don't think I'm being "blocked" there.

My block is me.  I'm in my way.  (Whew...that's cliche)

Julia does encourage you to speak/write positively.  

Now...I'm not one of those "power of positive thinking people."  I believe that hard work more than good thoughts make for a well-lived life.  But in some of the affirmations there are negative thoughts that creep in.  Like "I'm never going to finish that book.  I have great ideas, but poor follow through."  

I'll tell you what Julia doesn't have.  Julia doesn't have children.  Julia escapes to Arizona for months at a time when she needs to write or when she's feeling depressed.  

So here are my excuses (just to get them out of the way):

  • I work nights, so I can't get up early(ier) to write
  • I have kids of varying ages who I homeschool and who all are up at varying times of the day/night.  
  • Because of the aforementioned work and family life, I have NO SET SCHEDULE
  • My primary vocation is wife/mother (taking 3 hour artist dates feels, well, selfish)
  • I like to make lists of excuses

But they are just excuses.  I do know, say, on Sunday, how the week is going to go in general.  I could schedule time to write.  An hour here or there, penned in when I know it will happen, is better than no hours at all.  

At the end of the week, writing about writing is getting me to think about writing.  And that's a good thing.  Writing those pages in pencil everyday is giving me ideas.  And last night, I was writing in bed and Jude was laying next to my bed watching his Kindle.  I remembered that I used to attempt to do more than just write in my journal.  I would draw, or paste pretty pictures cut from magazines, or write snatches of poetry or quotes.  So I drew a very bad sketch of my little boy, just trying to capture a bit of that moment.  Being an artist.  Creating.  It's what we were all born to do.  

My journal...

My journal...