Image from fengshuidana.com
As I said in my most recent post, I am now reading Julia Cameron’s famous book on discovering and recovering your creative self, The Artist’s Way. AW is a book that I was skeptic on in the past, and even as I began reading it, I felt skeptical. After all, I have tried many “tried and true” methods for getting my creative battery jump-started when it’s dead. They haven’t all worked for me; in fact, I would say few have worked for me.
Why? Well, maybe it’s something wrong with me; maybe I don’t take the risks or have the guts to really dedicate myself to the many books and method lists for what to do when you get writer’s block, or get rejected, or get discouraged. I have done many journal entries about why I like myself, what are my favorite qualities about myself, etc. in order to boost self-esteem. I feel that AW is the artist’s version of that (for me, the writer’s version).
It sound stupid, but…wow! I can’t believe it’s working. I DO feel that writing affirmations after my Morning Pages is helping me to have more confidence. I have taken a deep breath, and I am having writing ideas return to me. The Censor is lying down snoozing and drinking lemonade, and meanwhile I’m scribbling down ideas in my notebook every couple of days.
Image from fabfreelancewriting.com Do you agree that writing faster is the way? I think I’ll do a separate post in this topic…
What’s more than that, I’m writing again! I am so excited! In the month of March and through the start of April I wrote nothing. I felt discouraged. I didn’t like how the revising of my epic fantasy was going. I didn’t know what to do with my literary novel steampunk “What am I?” second book. So one day I sat down and started writing something, anything…and what came out of me, so far, is a YA sci-fi with a Pocahontas sort of slant.
And what’s been happening as I’ve been reading AW and doing the exercises and homework is…more of the this YA sci-fi is coming out of me, in little spurts. I think I have about 10 pages now. I also write down ideas for my other 2 books; I wrote one more scene in the steampunk book, which felt good. (Later, I made the mistake of looking at that scene and the Censor rose its ugly head, so I learned a lesson not to look back).
The real Pocahontas
The epic fantasy is still intimidating and I haven’t done any work on it since I moved in March. But, I have hope that soon, maybe even this week, I’ll feel encouraged about it again. I *have* been doing some character explorations, since the characters are where I feel the revision is going wonky.
This week’s chapter, week 2, was about recovering a sense of self. The chapter talked about avoiding crazy and discouraging people who dampen your creative spirit. It’s also about exploring the people who gave your encouragement – a teacher in middle school who made you feel good about your writing, or the time you published something in your highschool newspaper.
Try as it might to kill our spirit, the Censor can’t. Because there are always ways that we have been encouraged; we just have to remember them.And, there are always current things we could be doing to help our spirit.
This week, my tasks for AW included describing my childhood room and seeing what was my favorite part of it, and if I could incorporate that into my current bedroom. I also did a great task called Life Pie, where I drew a circle and divided it into six parts: Exercise, Spiritual, Romance/Adventure, Creativity, Work, and Friendships. Then you put a dot in each slice of pie; closer to the center means less attention, further out means more. Connect the dots, and see where you’re out of balance.
Since the Life Pie activity, I have been working harder to re-balance my life. I’m exercising more, calling up friends more, and giving some time to daydream and think creatively – those are the areas where I struggle.
What are some of the activities that you feel you’ve neglected? What do you think would help you recover a sense of identity, creatively or in general?
Until next time,