Sunday, January 10, 2016

Week 1--The Artist's Way


Week 1—The Artist’s Way
Recovering a Sense of Safety

I just finished Week 1 of The Artist’s Way, a book/program written and designed by Julia Cameron. I’ve done this program before—the first time in the mid-90s, back when “everyone” was doing it. I’m doing it again now because life hasn’t been very kind lately and I really got away from my writing and my creativity. I’m hoping these 12 weeks will ease me back into a creative life.

So… week one. It’s all about feeling safe with one’s creativity, safe from others’ judgments and safe from my own. My internal editor is a total bitch (her name is Helga), and AW is all about learning to ignore Helga and be a bad artist for a while if that’s what it takes.

Julia Cameron says our biggest enemy is our negative core beliefs. She says if we are blocked in an area of our life, it’s because we feel safer that way. Hmm. This used to be my issue, which is why I’ve done the program before. But right now, I haven’t been writing (being an artist) for several months due to personal reasons that have nothing to do with writing. Back in October my husband was diagnosed with colorectal cancer after a routine screening. His prognosis is good, but our world went topsy turvy, and my focus turned far away from my writing to him and our kids. I haven’t written more than 2000 words since early October.

Normally, that would really stress me out, but I’ve been very patient with myself because I know I’ve been focusing on what’s important. However… now that my hubby is between treatments for the moment, I feel ready to get back to the page. I never feel quite right unless I’m writing. Unfortunately, when I sit down in front of the computer, Helga is screaming in my ear so loudly that all I can do is stare at my blinking cursor. She’s telling me that my writing isn’t important at all, my husband is. That if I focus on my writing, I’m not focusing on him. Or my kids.  Even though they all want me writing again.

I just can’t shut Helga up on my own. Thus, the Artist’s Way to the rescue. I can’t say I’ve made a ton of progress in one week, but I did my morning pages every morning (three pages of unedited, stream of conscious writing). I did most of the tasks, and even did my artist date—Cameron says in order to be a good artist, we must regularly fill the creative well. That means taking myself on a weekly artist date. I went to Ben Franklin, a craft store I haven’t spent much time in for years. I made myself walk down every aisle, lingering longer in the print art and gallery section, and the art supplies section. But I felt very antsy, like I was wasting time and should be doing something else, like being home with my family (I blame Helga again).

Anyway, doing this program makes me feel like I’ve come home again—maybe because I did it in the early days of my writing career, when I was 20+ years younger. I look forward to seeing what the program can do for me this time, now that I’m older and wiser. (Um… Older, yeah. Wiser? Ha ha ha ha.)

If you’re doing the program with me, let me know how you’re doing and if you had any a ha moments.


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