Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Creative Endeavor, Cont'd

.....There on my bookcase, partially blocked by my miniature replica of Westminster Abbey, was a book I had purchased years before and had half-heartedly attempted to follow.

But, now, I knew I was ready! So, I went to the bookcase and pulled out The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

Do you have this book? Have you heard of it?

You probably have. It’s sold over a million copies.

But, in case you haven’t, here’s the gist:

Only you can remove your creative blocks. You remove them by tapping into the creative power of the Creator/Universe/God/Zeitgeist/however you define it.

These blocks prevent you from not only creating art as society has come to define it (like painting, writing, singing, dancing, etc), but they also block you from living more creative daily (like figuring out a solution to a work issue, or developing fuller and fun-er relationships).

Creativity can heal you, and heal those around you. And tuning in to your creativity can change how you view your world, making each day more exciting. (And who doesn’t want that?!)

And The Artist’s Way helps you challenge your blocks and break through them!

Now, before you say, “But, um, I’m not creative”, you need to remember that creativity is our birthright, and in every one of us. So, while you may not be writing a novel or painting your family portrait, you’re probably choosing what you wear each day (and accessorizing), or making up a story for your child, or coming up with a new way to spice up your spaghetti sauce, or changing the layout of your living room, or re-telling an incident that occurred at work (with gestures and voices). THAT IS CREATIVITY!!!

One of my favorite quotes from her book is “[A]s we are creative beings, our lives become our artwork” (Cameron, p. xxvi).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought about my life as being my artwork! What an inspiring idea! And I’m ready for the challenge to make it more colorful.

Are you?

The Artist’s Way is a 12 week course. And Julia (I’m going to call her by her first name because it sounds like we’re friends) makes two requests that must be fulfilled during the 3 months:

1) You must write three pages, first thing every morning. This she calls “Morning Pages.” You are not to show these pages to anyone and you are to write whatever comes to mind (even if nothing comes to mind). Ramble away!

2) You must have a weekly “Artist’s Date.” This date should be between 1 to 2 hours long and should be done solo. It doesn’t have to cost anything, but it should delight you!

Both of these things are going to be tough for me because:

1) I’m not a morning person. So waking up earlier, just to write poorly, is going to be a challenge.

2) While I don’t mind going places or doing things by myself, I’m not so good at following through when I’m not held accountable by others (especially when my pajamas are calling my name).

But, I’m going to do it. There’s a contract in the book and I’m going to sign it!

Now, along with these two requirements, she has weekly exercises to pick and choose from. Julia suggests you pick the ones that make you the most uncomfortable. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

At this point, if you’re still reading, you might be asking yourself “Why are you telling me all this?”

Good question.

To be honest, I wasn’t going to mention it. It was just going to be something I did for myself, by myself. But last week, as I was discussing this book and it’s concepts with my friend, Taryn, she suggested that I should blog about it, and that perhaps it might inspire someone else to try something creative. And she’s absolutely right! (Plus, it helps me with accountability. Bonus!)

So, if you’re interested, I’m starting next week (on Monday, of course). I’ll being posting about the exercises I choose, the struggles I have, the discoveries I make, and my weekly Artist Date. My plan is to post all this on my sad, lonely, and forgotten blog. (I want to leave this blog open for all my other witty thoughts…..… [crickets chirping]……… [hollow wind blowing]……… [……….]………)

If you want to try this with me, great! I would love for you to share this journey with me.

But, more than that, I hope you realize that you have the option of injecting creativity into your life any time you choose.

Choose now!


Rachel said...

This is a brilliant idea and I can't wait to see what you come up with. Katie got me a similar book for my birthday called the Crafter's Devotional and I started this week (excersise three: coloring. Bingo!) I've been stuck, creatively, for some time now, mostly because of inertia, and I'm amazed at how quickly it comes back when you put just a little effort into it. I think we should have regular meetings about how we're progressing. Possibly over ice cream.

Hannah said...

I am having flashes of the great "Year of living the ideal life at least a little" of 2008, which I LOVED. I would also like to be more creative in my life. At the moment my imagination is mostly being channeled into narrating my dog's thought processes to Alex. I want to pretend I'm embarrassed about this, but I can't is HIGHLY amusing. Still, since I am as yet unemployed and don't really have any friends up here, I should probably try to do something besides plan my dystopian nanowrimo novel.

Liz W. said...

Rachel, I think getting together to discuss our attempts at creative-block thwarting is a fabulous idea! (Ditto to the ice cream.)

Your comment is reminding me of something that I want to discuss with you. It’s along the same vein as this topic. We must speak soon…

Hannah, you have intrigued me with your dog narration. Might I suggest a picture montage with suggested dialogue?

P.S. I’m also thinking about nanowrimo. I’m thinking about writing mine on the topic of vampires. You know, ‘cause we haven’t had enough of them.

P.S.S. (or P.P.S., whichever is accurate) We’ve had enough of them.

Anonymous said...

Is there a course for injecting more Not Lazy into my life? Can you teach me creative ways to be Not Lazy?

Camille said...

Oh boy did I need this Liz. Thank you for being willing to share. I just might go to a bookstore and purchase the book tomorrow. Gold star for you!

Laura said...

I get very inspired and excited when I read stuff like this. And I am GREAT at setting goals. It is a talent I have - I'm an excellent goal setter. Now, being a goal KEEPER - not so much. But I too, have been stuck a little bit and want to do more creative things. It's just a matter of dedicating some time to it, and allowing myself to do it.

I can't wait to read about your experiences! Maybe Thrift Store Day will provide some interesting materials for some projects.