Yes, I’ve decided to start this year with a classic kick up the *ss – The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. My lovely friend Jess Stephens introduced me to this when we shared a studio in Barcelona while working towards our MA. We used to sit and have a cup of tea (or wine!) together, often late at night, in those dark hours when you’re exhausted, but you know you need to keep going, and read a bit of the book and feel more inspired, more motivated, more like we were doing the right thing after all – it was so reassuring!
So, here I am, 8 years later, a bit further south and sooooo wanting to keep the practice, keep the momentum going, after 6 joyous weeks of working in the studio almost every day and loving that feeling, that connection, that buzz… and, given the absence of Jess or any nearby studio buddies, (I wish), I’m turning to a self-help book for help, but I already know for sure it will.
The Artist’s Way is organised into 12 chapters, which Julia intends you work through in 12 consecutive weeks. I could put this off (self-sabotage) and say that focusing on the book for 12 weeks will detract from actually getting on with the studio practice bit, but as it turns out, the studio is being flooded on a daily basis with the deluge of icy rain that seems to be hanging around this part of Europe, so I have no excuse for just starting – what have I got to lose? Nothing. What have I got to gain? Everything.
My intention then, is to work my way through the book over the next 12 weeks, posting blog posts as I go, to share some of the great things in the Artist’s Way with you, and also so that I keep accountable – To DO the reading and actually DO the exercises. I also want to have FUN doing it (so that I finish it!). In 12 weeks’ time, after hopefully making quite a lot of artwork in the studio and selling at art fair in February, and getting pro-active via the Artist’s Way, I know I will have a much stronger sense of myself and what I’m doing next art-wise.
If anyone would like to join me in this endeavour and check in with each other to see how it’s going and work through the next 12 weeks together, (a kind of virtual Artist’s Way Circle) please feel free to contact me or leave your comments below…
No time like the present! Here we go:
Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety
Although I like the idea of following a set course all laid out ahead, in practice, I need to be a bit haphazard, so I’m jumping straight to the end of the chapter to read the exercises ahead for this week – actually, I want to schedule some time into my ical so that I actually do them, so maybe it’s not so haphazard!
1. Get up earlier than usual and write your Morning Pages every day (3 pages of longhand stream-of-consciousness/empty-your-brain – see video above!). Hmm, will have to set my alarm, I’m still getting used to back-to-school time… Monday, then read Chapter 1.
2. Take yourself on an Artist’s Date – easy this week, as I have an airport run on Thursday and will make sure I treat myself to a visit to Malaga’s Centre de Arte Contemporaneo.
3. Create your Monster Hall of Fame – list 3 old enemies of your creative self-worth (the building blocks to negative beliefs). Tuesday.
4. Write a Horror Story from your Monster Hall of Fame in all its gory details. Tuesday.
5. Write a letter to the editor in your defense. Mail it to yourself. Tuesday.
6. Create your Hall of Champions – list 3 old champions of your creative self-worth. (Be specific. Every encouraging word counts.) Wednesday.
7. Select & write out one happy piece of encouragement. Write a thank-you letter. Mail it. Wednesday.
8. Imaginary Lives: If you had 5 other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them? I would be… a pilot, cowhand, physicist, monk, psychic, scuba diver, cop, writer of children’s book, football player, computer hacker, belly dancer etc… do not overthink this exercise – the point of these lives is to have fun in them – more fun than you might be having in this one. Look over your list and select one. Then do it this week! (imagine!) If you put down cowhand, go horseback riding… Thursday, after the gallery.
9. Start a list of affirmations & blurts. Add to your list as and when they occur to you. Work with each blurt individually. Turn each negative into a positive affirmation. Monday, ongoing.
10. Take your artist for a walk, the two of you. A brisk 20 minute walk can dramatically alter consciousness. I’ll leave this for an intuitively spontaneous moment during the coming week…
it’s all in the diary, now let’s see if I can stick to my commitment…
and if you don’t have your own copy yet of the book, The Artist’s Way, there’s a link in the sidebar to a great value version that includes also Walking in this World and Finding Water, two of Julia’s other creative path books.
Visit Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way Online too.
Will you join me? Leave your comments below!