Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I've been following the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron for three and a half weeks now. I bought a copy of this book over eleven years ago when I also worked in a bookstore. But since the book is geared to "blocked" creatives, at age 21, just fresh out of a stifling relationhip, stimulated by college courses and in love again (yes, with E.) and pouring myself into journals several times a day, I most definitely did not qualify as blocked. Naturally I didn't find it very helpful.

Well now I'm back at it, and while I still wouldn't qualify myself as "blocked" entirely, I would say that I'm sort of fettered, bound by beliefs and old ideas about myself as an artist/writer that make certain things very difficult for me. For that, I find the book very useful. But also very maddening.

Some days I really resent my morning pages even though I regularly write in a journal--I always balk under rules, but being a "good girl" I have a powerful inner slave-driver who makes me follow them, bitching all the way.

I find taking the time for an artist's date to be a real inconvenience. What about plain old rest? Pshaw! Even this photo was staged:

I often put off doing the introspective exercises until the very end of the week.

All in all I find that I do very little to actually nurture myself as an artist. I'm always busy worrying about the work that pays, about deadlines and about pleasing others that I rarely sit down and do something solely for myself creatively.

This week, to make matters worse, I'm supposed to be undergoing reading deprivation. I had no idea how much I read: from books to blogs, to news to old magazines--I live in an almost constant state of reading. So this not reading feels very much like withdrawal. I have had to make a few changes--there is some reading I must do for the writing that I have due, for instance--but the many blogs I regularly visit must wait, and I can only read the headlines of interesting news stories and forget that stack of books waiting!

Yes, I've cheated a little, but I am trying to turn that focused energy elsewhere. Although, of course, naturally I don't feel like writing. My novel-in-progress is very close to the end of a first draft but it's at that sticky, messy, how do I resolve this plot stage that makes me want nothing to do with it. I started by coloring. Yes, as in with pens in a coloring book.

So mainly I've been making jewelry again, which is actually a lot more satisfying than I realized. Now that I don't make it to sell it anymore I really only do it for occasional gifts...Now I think I'll make jewelry and give it away when the mood strikes me, not even for special occasions. I like the idea of spontaneous gift giving.

Anyway...I have read a couple of blogs today, but for the most part I'm really trying to stick to this, so if I don't comment--that's why.



At 4:24 PM, Blogger Ms. Theologian said...

I honestly think the not-reading-week was the most helpful week of them all.

P.S. Don't read this message!

At 9:51 PM, Blogger tricia stirling said...

i used the excuse that i was in grad school and couldn't NOT read. guess maybe i should give it another go, (although i can't NOT read my children bedtime stories, can i? we're smack in the middle of Twig.)sigh. maybe some day ms. cameron will get through to me.
pretty jewelry!

At 4:50 AM, Blogger SusanD said...

Lovely jewelry, Jordan. You're very similar to me in this regard -- when I hit plateaus with projects I run away and get very creative with something else to avoid that project. And not reading is hard, but hopefully it'll charge your batteries in the right way. Hang in there and follow your plan and you'll have your first draft done soon!


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