My Second Chapter of Reading The Artist’s Way
Reading chapter 1 of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way was not easy. My mind wanted me to skip over it, or parts of it. It said, “What are you doing? This is stupid. You read this just last year! What a waste of time.” But I told my mind to just shut up and keep reading. I told it, this will help me write. Don’t you want it to write?
My mind, however demoniac it can be, however distracting and worried and stupid, it does enjoy writing. It knows that when everything in life is dull, I can turn to writing, and find a reliable old friend.
So I slogged through anecdote after anecdote, and thought about how I should pen down each moral or writing-related gem at the end of each anecdote, but I didn’t. They flew through one ear and out the other, I admit.
Challenges on the Way
This workbook is tough. Why? Because it requires me to change myself. Humans seem to protest or fear change, sometimes, and I confess to being one such human. I don’t want to change. I get stubborn and rebellious. I get scared. I get confused and angry. This stops me from progressing in writing and in life.
But one day, as someone said, you’ve got to just get so sick of your own bullshit that you pick yourself up and go, right?
So that’s what I did. I read the entire chapter, and noted down two very special things:
The Artist’s Date
- The Artist’s Date. This is a day every week where you shut up your inner editor with Harry underneath the cupboard under the stairs, and run about with your inner child, AKA your creative side. You let it live and let it “take the bit” and “have its head”, to use horse terms. This could mean, for you, the peacefulness of painting the sunset from your back yard. Going on a walk in nature. Having a romantic date with yourself. Making a collage of your favorite celebrities from the magazines at CVS. Playing some games at Chuck E Cheese, even though you’re about 20 years too old for it, now.
(By the way, these pictures above are from real artist’s dates people did).
The point of the Artist’s Date is to let yourself go wild. Don’t judge or try to change the inner child artist. Just let him or her be and do whomever he wants. Let him have some freedom.
The result of this freedom, at least over time, if not immediately – one hopes! – is that you can shut up the inner editor during your creative work and get more done, and get better work done, and not become one of those “I wish I was a novelist” people, and actually write a novel.
The Morning Pages
The second item the chapter gifts the reader is:
2. The Morning Pages. These are 3 pages of anything whatsoever that you dedicate yourself to write EVERY. DAMN. DAY. Not when you feel like it. Not after your shower and yoga. You scribble that S*** down every morning, ideally as soon as you wake up! You can doodle, draw, write down a to-do-list, write down your worries, but make it 3 pages, and do it EVERY day.
This can seem trite and annoying but in actuality it helps, somehow. My personal feelings are that it helps me clear my head so that when I sit down to write, I’m not thinking of the dishes or the laundry or an important phone call, etc., because I wrote about it, and I either plan to do it after, or I already did. But if I already did it, or I haven’t, and I DIDN’T write the morning pages about my worries or to-dos, then…somehow, a little hole is open where non-writing thoughts sneak in.
When I Failed
Then the whole thing just goes to crap, and I get nothing done, to be honest. I go on Pinterest to look at Pre-Raphaelite art or even writing TIPS, HA!, or check email, Facebook. etc. so much CHECKING to be done…and little to no writing gets done that day. Because when I’m done wasting time on the computer – which was supposed to be my writing time – I have to spend time with people, or get that to-do-list done, or sleep…and there goes that writing time good-bye. *sniffle!*
Today I did the morning pages. I did them late, but I DID them! And what did I do tonight, for two hours at Starbucks? I wrote! I started and finished an entire chapter of my book-in-revision, and I took notes down for the next chapter. I hope to write that chapter tomorrow, thanks to my morning pages. *smile* =)
See? It works!
Read With Me!!
Pick up an Artist’s Way book and try it out for yourself. I think this blog series would be so much more fun if we all read and did the exercises together, wouldn’t it?
If you have read, are reading, or plan to read the Artist’s Way, please tell me in the comments. I’ve only read chapter 1 so far, and you have an entire week until I post about chapter 2, so – this is your chance! Pick up a book, order it online today, and this can become a Read-Along. You can get your writing or art, or any creative project you may have, done! You can create quality work and shut out the Inner Editor! Just pick up this book, work on yourself, do the exercises, and you will see results.
I promise I’m not getting paid to say all this. I genuinely feel this way. I hope reading about my journey can help you in your creative efforts, and I enjoy sharing.
Until next time,