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.