artist’s way week 5 check-in

For those who don’t know, the Artist’s Way is a course developed by creative Julia Cameron to restore your creativity. My goal with this course is to feel more comfortable being creative and find my creative voice.

Here are some of the major themes that stood out to me from the week 5 readings:

  • Seeing our creativity as impossible. I definitely struggle with this. Part of the Artist’s Way course does have a spiritual element, and this week, Cameron put seeing our creativity as “crazy or impossible” in the context of believing in a “higher power” and not being able to do so because we have a limited belief in what we can do as humans. Cameron claims that in reality, spiritual beliefs gives as an “unlimited bank account” of creativity. I had a lot of trouble with the spiritual bit in the Artist’s Way the first time around and it made me uncomfortable because I used to identify solidly as an atheist, but since exploring witchcraft, my ideas about a higher power have definitely altered somewhat, and I can more easily fit myself into ideas about spirituality, which I think is making this course more valuable for me.
  • Staying stuck creatively. Another major theme this week was exploring our creative blocks and the payoff for staying stuck. Cameron talked a lot about how many creatives choose being nice and pleasing others over our own creative desires. I definitely fall victim to this, so I really saw myself in this reading. Not creating is safer for our relationships, and we see depriving ourselves of creativity as a virtue.
  • Importance of acknowledging and indulging in forbidden joys. One of the ways we’re mean to ourselves and stay blocked as creatives is by saying no to desires that, if indulged in, would fuel our creativity and fill our creative well. A lot of creatives, and people in general, see our desires as too crazy or selfish, but ignoring our desires is just one of the many ways we are mean to ourselves and stifle our creativity.

 

check in

  1. How many days this week did you fo your morning pages?

I did the morning pages all but two days since starting week 5. I’m finding I’m actually liking them less as I go on, and have less to say. I go through phases where I have a lot to say, then a week or two where I only write one page instead of 3.

 

2. Did you do your Artist Date this week? Have you had the experience of hearing answers during your leisure time? What did you do for your date? How did it feel? Have you taken an artist date yet that felt really adventurous?

I did not officially do an artist date this week. I think I have had the experience of “hearing answers” during my leisure time though. While organizing materials for my book of shadows, I thought of a small business idea to sell handwritten and hand drawn grimoires that I’m really excited about trying. I have definitely not taken an artist date that felt adventurous, or that would feel adventurous to most people. Honestly, just leaving my apartment for some of these dates has felt adventurous for me because of my anxiety about leaving the house.

 

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? 

I don’t think I experienced any synchronicity this week.

 

4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

This week I really started thinking of more ideas and ways I want to experiment with creativity other than writing. I’ve realized through this course that I want to open myself up to creative passions other than writing because I don’t think I actually want to write at the moment. I also started realizing I might need a break from reading, or to find ways to put less pressure to read all the time. Reading is definitely my favorite “creative block,” even though it also fuels my creativity, but I’ve realized I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to and I’ve been exploring in my morning pages why that might be and steps I could take to make reading more enjoyable again and have it be a way to fill the creative well rather than block it.

the artist’s way: week 4 check in

For those who don’t know, the Artist’s Way is a course developed by creative Julia Cameron to restore your creativity. My goal with this course is to feel more comfortable being creative.

This week, I’m going to go straight into the check-in questions:

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you?

I did the morning pages every day but one, I think. I think one day I overslept and went straight to an appointment instead of doing them. The morning pages are becoming a very soothing activity even though I’m realizing a lot of things about myself through them that is making me uncomfortable.

2. Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel?

I did do my artist date this week, and I actually went out for it. I went to Target to get some hangers for my closet, but ended up buying two books and also a stuffed animal called a squishmallow that is indeed very squishy. It was really nice to let myself buy something silly that was just for my own pleasure and joy and comfort. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a squishmallow!

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

I did not.

4. Were there any other issues significant to your recovery that appeared this week? Describe them.

Honestly, I’m starting to realize that maybe for now, writing isn’t what I want to do to be creative. I went into The Artist’s Way expecting that it would make me want to write again, but in reality, I’m realizing I want a break from forcing myself to try to write when I’m not ready, and do something else that’s creative. This week, I started exploring the idea of starting a booktube and learning ukulele and songwriting again, because both of those things sound more fun than writing to me right now. I feel a little guilty and as though I’m giving up on writing, but if it’s not what I want to do to be creative right now and this is a course about finding your own creativity, then there’s no point in continuing to force myself to try to do it just to make myself feel bad when I can’t make myself write. I still want to do something creative in my free time, but maybe I can open myself up to the possibility of doing things other than writing that will make me just as happy or happier.

the artist’s way: week 3 check in

For those who don’t know, the Artist’s Way is a course developed by creative Julia Cameron to restore your creativity. My goal with this course is to feel more comfortable being creative, especially in regards to writing.

Here are some of the themes that stood out for me while doing the week 3 reading:

  • Shame & criticism. This week, Cameron discussed why blocked artists become blocked in the first place some more. One of the major reasons she noted as to why artists become blocked is shame caused by criticism and other things. This stood out to me because shame about showing myself through writing is definitely a huge reason writing is so challenging for me. However, Cameron also discussed how to deal with criticism when we do receive it, which I think will be helpful for me in all aspects of my life, not just creativity. Additionally, she stated that artists don’t create art with the future criticism in mind. I know for me, thinking about how I would market some of my writing ideas has stopped me from writing at all, which is ridiculous because I can just write for myself.
  • Nurturing yourself. This has been a big theme so far for all of the course thus far. Julia Cameron talks a lot about how to treat yourself and your inner artist and why that’s important for replenishing the creative well. Through doing this course, I’ve realized I don’t really like treating myself or spending time with myself anymore because it feels selfish in comparison to what I should be doing with my time. This was a big step for me because I didn’t realize I felt this way until I did this course, and I think it will be important for me to explore why I feel spending time with myself is selfish now even though I never used to feel that way.
  • Synchronicity. Week 3 also introduced the concept that Cameron calls “synchronicity” which is basically coincidences or answered prayers, depending on your life outlook. I don’t know if I really believe in synchronicity, but I suppose I’ll try to be open minded toward it this time around because I want to be successful in this course.

 

check in

  • How many days did you do your morning pages this week? How was the experience for you? If you skipped a day, why did you skip it?

I did the morning pages all but one day this week. I skipped the day because I woke up late because I’d had a breakdown the night before and went to a crisis intervention center instead and just didn’t have the energy to do the morning pages.

  • Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel?

I think this week I’m going to count going to Trader Joe’s (a cool grocery store, basically, for non-American friends) as my date this week even though grocery shopping seems like a weird artist date. But honestly, I think it can count because I always feel good after going there because I find shopping there so relaxing but also weirdly stimulating because they have cool stuff, and it’s nice to shop there because the people who work there are so kind and helpful.

  • Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

I don’t know if this counts, but I’d been hoping I could somehow have October 31 off to celebrate Samhain, a pagan sabbat, and now I’m on leave for health issues so I’ll get to celebrate it. Does that count?

  • Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

This week, one of the tasks was looking at your habits and how they sabotage yourself/your creativity. Looking at my bad habits made me realize I do a lot of things just to punish myself and keep myself depressed because it feels safer than trying to get better. Exploring this made me realize I need more serious help because this is not a normal way to feel.

 

the artist’s way: week 2 check-in

As I noted in my last Artist’s Way post, I am doing the Artist’s Way again! For those who don’t know, the Artist’s Way is a course developed by creative Julia Cameron to restore your creativity. My goal with this course is to feel more comfortable being creative, especially in regards to writing.

This week’s theme was “recovering a sense of identity.” Here are some of the major themes/ideas that stood out for me this week:

  • Trusting your creativity. Trusting my creativity is definitely really hard for me, which is why I’ve been doing this course again. Cameron talked a lot about self-doubt this week, which is definitely something I’ve been feeling. I didn’t remember from my first time doing the course that she actually said that a lot of people resist the course and its ideas throughout it. I certainly did that the first time I did the course and actually stopped doing it altogether, and I wish the parts about feeling self-doubt being normal had stuck out to me more.
  • Creativity happening when we’re safe and accepting of it. Specifically, Julia Cameron talks about your inner artist being a child that needs care and support. The most helpful thing from the essays this week was when she said to “safeguard” your newly found “artist’s child” against ideas about what you “should” be doing and to be open-minded about your creative recovery.
  • Addiction to fantasy. This phrase from the “Attention” essay really stuck out to me as well. The first thing Cameron discusses in this section is how instead of living and being creative now, we daydream and fantasize about what we could have if only we did it. This is definitely my biggest pitfall in being creative. I always imagine what I COULD write and SHOULD write, but never actually do it in the now. Writing is like a pipe dream that I feel like I can never achieve because I don’t have time and am too afraid to do it.

 

check-in

  1. How many days did you do the morning pages this week? How was the experience for you? How did they work for you? What were you surprised to find yourself writing about?

I did the morning pages every day this week. They have been extremely helpful for me. Doing the morning pages is largely what encouraged me to get back to blogging because it helped me work out what was and wasn’t working about blogging for me and reminded me that I love doing it. I had more times this week that I wasn’t sure what to write about.

The thing that surprised me to be writing about was whether or not I actually want to be a writer. The whole point of me doing this course is to encourage me to be more open to writing and make the time to write. I don’t want it to be a fantasy life I keep leading; I want to actually do it. But this week I found myself questioning whether it’s something I WANT to do or feel like I SHOULD do. I think it’s probably both. I feel called to be a writer in a way I don’t feel called to be anything else. But I found myself questioning whether I am really a poet or a novelist, even though in reality I can probably be both and don’t have to choose.

 

2. Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel?

This week I did basically the same thing as last week. I worked on my book of shadows/grimoire, and listened to Tegan and Sara’s new album. In my final morning pages of the week, I found myself questioning whether I can count that as an artist date because I was so horribly anxious on the day I did it that I didn’t enjoy it. It felt silly to spend time on an artist date and just doing something that I wanted to do and not something I should do. I found it really hard to enjoy myself even though it was something I wanted to do because I didn’t feel like I should be enjoying something frivolous and silly, even though that’s the whole point of an artist date.

 

3. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

I feel like I’m starting to realize that I can write just for me. Last week, what stuck out most was that I shouldn’t share my art too early on in my creative recovery journey, and that still stayed with me this week. I’m trying not to think about how I’d market my work, or whether my work is good. I really just want to remind myself that I actually enjoy writing and it makes me feel better to do it.

I also realized that music is important to my creative recovery. This week’s artist date involved listening to Tegan & Sara’s new album, and listening to music every morning when I wake up makes me feel relaxed. In week one, Cameron talked about doing things that replenish the “creative well” like cooking or other repetitive tasks, and I think listening to music does that for me, so I think making music part of my routine and creative journey will be really important.

the artist’s way: week 1

Aaaaaaand I’m at it again with The Artist’s Way. For those of you who don’t remember or are new here, I did the Artist’s Way a while ago but stopped around week 4. The Artist’s Way is a course by Julia Cameron that is designed to help you recover your creativity and lead a more creative life. My main goal in doing this course is to get myself to write again, or at least to work on writing and work towards writing.

The topic of week one was “recovering a sense of safety.” The main points that stuck out to me in the readings this week were these:

  • Shadow artists. I am definitely a shadow artist. Julia Cameron describes a shadow artist as someone who has a career that is shadow to what they really want to pursue artistically (in my case, being a librarian vs. writing). She also talked about how blocked artists often surround themselves with other artists or date other artists, which is definitely true in my case. I consider my boyfriend to be a “real” writer, while I consider myself to be a wannabe writer, basically.
  • The artist child. Cameron describes your inner artist as a child that needs support and attention, which really resonated with me. She talked about how judging your work too early or offering it up for judgement and criticism before its time is bad for your artist’s child, which stuck out to me because in the age of social media, I feel like I have to share my writing in some way to be valid. She talked about it being important to SLOWLY and GENTLY recover from your creative blocks.
  • Affirmations. I usually find affirmations to be hokey, but I think I could greatly benefit from positive self-talk when it comes to art and creativity. Cameron wrote that affirmations increase a sense of safety and hope, and I could definitely use some hope when it comes to my writing.
  • Morning pages. Morning pages are one of the two key components of the Artist’s Way. They are three pages of written journaling. The point is to get your thoughts on paper and out of your head to make way for other things throughout the day.
  • Artist’s date. This is the aspect of the course I had the hardest time with last time. The artist’s date is supposed to be an “excursion” by yourself to replenish your creative well. I didn’t always actually go out of my house for my artist’s date because that’s not really relaxing for me, and I probably won’t this time either. I tend to have trouble thinking of an artist’s date, and it’s challenging for me to spend time by myself even though I always claim I want alone time because I don’t really like spending that much time with myself and my thoughts.

 

weekly check-in

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you?

I did the morning pages all seven days this week. It was really helpful and helped me feel a little less anxious throughout the day.

2. Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel?

For my artist date this week, I spent some time alone watching Are You the One and working on my grimoire/book of shadows. It was kind of challenging and kind of enjoyable at the same time. I used to love doing things by myself but for the past couple of years I just haven’t been enjoying spending time with myself.

3. Were there any other significant issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

This time around, I chose to do some of the activities and prompts that I didn’t do the first time I did the Artist’s Way. I wrote about some old enemies of my self-worth, and the major incident when I was a teen that made me stop writing for fun and landed me in the hospital. It was somewhat helpful to just admit that those people and what happened when I was sixteen still effect me even though I feel a little embarrassed that I’m still upset by what happened. It just changed such a core part of who I was as a kid and who I want to be now and I have never figured out how to get back that same joy for writing. I also wrote about champions of my creative self-worth, most of whom came from my teenage years as well, and that made me realize I should probably try to believe in my own creative gifts the way those people did.

the artist’s way week 6: check-in

recovering a sense of connection

This week was all about recovering a sense of connection. In the context of the course, Julia Cameron defined this as connecting to our art and the ability to listen to the stories our artist wants to tell. She talked about how our art exists within us in its entirety and we just have to listen for it and get something down instead of trying to think something up, and not to be stopped by our perfectionism. Perfectionism was also a major theme in the readings this week, which I appreciate because that is the number one reason I don’t write. Perfectionism isn’t about having standards or fixing up what we have, it’s an excuse to not let ourselves go ahead with our art. Perfectionism is basically not helpful to our art and we should let it go.

 

check in

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Have you allowed yourself to daydream a few creative risks? Are you coddling your artist child with childhood loves?

I did my morning pages for 6 days this week. I kind of dropped the ball on most artist’s way things this week because it is a very stressful time right now and I just didn’t have the brain space for it. I have been daydreaming about a few writing ideas in my morning pages. I wouldn’t say I’m coddling my artist child yet and my artist child is probably feeling very stifled and un-taken care of at the moment. I should fix that and watch some cute movies. My artist child would definitely like that.

 

2. Did you do your artist date this week? Did you use it to take any risks? What did you do? How did it feel?

I did not do my artist date this week. Oops.

 

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

I did not experience any synchronicity this week.

 

4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your creative recovery? Describe them.

Probably the main issue that was significant to my creative recovery was my discussions in my morning pages about perfectionism. I’m holding myself back from writing because I’m worried that I can’t be a “real” writer. I’m worried that not being able to write every day or have a high enough word count or writing a bad draft or not having the perfect time or place to write all means that I cannot be a “real” writer. I’m intimidated by people’s wordcounts that they share on social media and feel I will never have the time or ability to get up there in terms of word count.

I definitely realized that perfectionism is holding me back, but I don’t have any ideas on how to fix it and allow myself to write an imperfect, messy first draft. I’m used to waiting to write until things sound perfect in my head, and then not feeling like I have to do much editing even though I know in my head that that’s not realistic for any writer. I just have it in my head that I have to have a perfect first draft and things have to be done a certain way and I have to write for a certain amount of time or for a certain number of words and it’s honestly exhausting to keep this up and continue keeping myself from trying to write, but I don’t know how to stop and just let myself write something, even if it’s bad. I’m worried if I have a bad first draft I’m not a real writer or a good writer, which I know is unrealistic. I am for sure struggling with my perfectionism, but I’ll admit that doing the artist’s way is making it a lot harder to keep up my perfectionist stance about writing.

I also really like the idea that our story or art is already within us fully formed and we just have to listen to it and put it down. That’s a lot easier to deal with than the frustration of having to constantly be coming up with ideas. I definitely feel like I have a couple of stories that are in my that are ready to be written, but my perfectionism is blocking them from coming out and I can’t hear what they want to say.

the artist’s way // week 6 check in

recovering a sense of abundance

This week’s theme was about recovering a “sense of abundance.” This week, Julia Cameron’s essays talked about how artists often block themselves when they feel they don’t have enough money, and really “enough” in general. This week’s activities were all related to giving yourself a sense of luxury, and, more importantly, “authentic” luxury that is really meaningful to your creative journey. Dealing with the themes of money and luxury was interesting for me because I do often worry about money even though I have a relatively decent full-time salary. I always feel like I should be making more than I am, and often stress about money even though I’ve never really HAD to worry about money. It was interesting to examine my perceptions about money as well as how I spend my money, and to discover that I do have a somewhat good idea of how I tend to spend.

 

check in

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you?

I did the morning pages all seven days this week. I’ve now added it into my normal morning routine so it’s been very easy to add it to my day and do it consistently. It’s nice to have a place to dump my thoughts in the morning before work and try to work on any personal or emotional or creative issues I am having. This week I found myself struggling a bit to think of things to write again, and found myself going back to my old habit of just writing what happened or what will happen. I did journal some about why I am blocked like I did last week, which was a useful exercise, and explored why I think I don’t deserve to have fun or be creative.

 

2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Have you considered allowing yourself two?) What did you do? How did it feel?

I finally did an artist date this week! I went to this really cool and charming old mill that was converted into a bunch of antique shops and art galleries, and spent a short amount of time there. My anxiety has been a lot better lately but I still get anxious about being away from home too long, but this was the perfect place for me to go because it was about five minutes away from me, was easy to find, and had easy free parking. I went to a chocolatier and got three delicious little chocolates, including a lavender chocolate that was absolutely delightful. I also checked out their used bookstore, and saw that they had a bakery, where I plan to go in the future to read or write. I really loved this place and felt so at home there and was delighted by everything I saw and found it utterly charming. I am actually now looking forward to future artist dates and trying to find other cool local things to do that are in my area near home.

 

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

I don’t feel I experienced any synchronicity this week.

 

4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

This week I basically confirmed that I spend the most amount of money on food. When Julia Cameron talked about allowing yourself “authentic” luxury, that really stuck out to me, because I don’t think food is really the best way for me to treat myself, for a variety of reasons. This week made me realize that a) I could save a lot of money if I didn’t go out to eat so much and b) I have things I’d rather spend my money on that could actually enhance my creativity, help me pursue relaxation, and offer me more “luxury” and rewards in the long term.

The most helpful thing I did this week was to make a list of things I would get myself and do to reward myself if I had the money. I think I’ll actually share some of what was on the list:

  • subscribe to Writer’s Digest magazine
  • buy blackberries or blueberries every week
  • subscribe to TBR to experiment with reading more adult books
  • buy one music album every week
  • do Francesca Lia Block’s writing class
  • buy organization items for the apartment
  • do more #bookishwish to get rid of unwanted books

Almost all of these things seem like things that would not only help me relax and enjoy life more, but contribute to my being more creative as well. I’d really like to do an experiment next week where I don’t go out to eat at all and try to treat myself to some of these things when I want to reward myself with food instead. I definitely plan to continue tracking what I spend next week and see how changing what I spend my money on makes me feel.

I also managed to do a little work on my Southern Gothic sapphic Jane Eyre retelling. I am debating counting working on outlining as my writing for the week, because I feel outlining would really help me and I’m rereading my useful book on outlining and am getting a lot of ideas for how to prepare to write this novel. I did try to write a little bit and got some words down, and even though it’s not very many and they’re not very good, I’m proud of myself for sticking to my goal of writing once a week. I also brought out my notes on Southern Gothic literature that I wrote when I first came up with the idea and bought a discbound notebook to write the outline for the novel in so I can move pages around and have it be more organized. Even though I haven’t actually written much or really started my actual outline, I feel like I am moving closer and closer to getting started on writing again and I am happy about that.

 

The Artist’s Way: Week 5 check in

This post is part of my ongoing series about my experience doing Julia Cameron’s course/book, THE ARTIST’S WAY, which focuses on self and creative recovery and discovery. You can check out my intro post for more information.

So this is a pretty big jump since the last time I did an update post for The Artist’s Way was week 2. I did do week 3, but it fell right before my trip to Book Expo, so I did not do a wrap up post. I also decided to skip week 4, which focused on the reading deprivation activity, because I did not think I could do it and I can choose to alter this course as I like. Most of the week 4 activities were also not very helpful to me, so I don’t really regret not doing them.

 

week 5 check in: recovering a sense of possibility

 

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you?

I did the morning pages all 7 days this week. At first, I was really using them more as a way to record things that happened and was having a weird amount of trouble talking about my feelings even though I’m usually very good at that, and in general trouble finding enough to write about for three pages. This week, I started to use the morning pages more for self-reflection, which made them both harder and more helpful to write. I wrote about a lot of topics, both suggested by the book and that I wanted to explore on my own, including my weight struggles and struggles I’m facing on my path to being more creative.

 

Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel?

I did not do my artist date this week. I know I should be doing them weekly but I have not been. I think it’s because I’m not so fond of spending time with myself and my thoughts. Whenever I take any alone time, it’s usually with some reality TV to drown out my thoughts and whatever’s going on in my brain so I don’t have to actually think. I think I’m not as comfortable with alone time as I used to be for some reason, which is probably something I should explore in my morning pages. I also don’t have any ideas for artist dates? I don’t want to always have to leave home for my date because I am a serious homebody and on my days off I really like to have some time at home. If anyone has ideas for artist dates, please feel free to make suggestions in the comments.

 

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Did you experience any synchronicity this week? Describe them.

The most significant part of my Artist’s Way journey this week was exploring my creative blocks, including how and why I stay blocked and what I get out of being blocked. I realized that while I believed in my abilities to write and be creative when I was younger, it’s like a switch has been flipped since I started working and being more of an “adult” that I don’t believe in my creative abilities as much. I also realized I am super afraid to take risks with being creative, afraid of the work that will have to happen if I commit to finishing a WIP, and also afraid of changing my routine, which helps keep my anxiety at bay.

There were also a lot of activities around dreams that you want to pursue, and most of mine focused on writing again. I want to write again with all my heart, but I’ve been so blocked for so long and I have so many excuses as to why I don’t write that I don’t know how I’m ever going to break out of my avoidance and excuses and actually do it and fulfill my dreams again.

The synchronicity aspect of this chapter made me somewhat uncomfortable because I felt like Cameron is basically trying to prove to people that God exists because of coincidences that happen, and I am very atheist and am generally uncomfortable with having religious ideas thrust upon me. I guess in her terms, I did experience some synchronicity this week: one of the activities that the course had me do was to write what I might do if it weren’t too selfish, and I wrote that I would sign up for a writing class with one of my writing idols who I know offers courses, Francesca Lia Block. I looked at her course offerings, and it turns out she’s offering a course on writing, healing, and personal growth in July. It just seems so serendipitous that she would be offering such a perfect course topic right when I feel like I’m ready to take a course, and I’m really strongly debating taking it even though I’m scared of the commitment.

the artist’s way week 2 wrap-up

This week I participated in the second week of The Artist’s Way course. Here is my intro post about what The Artist’s Way is in case you missed it!

 

weekly thoughts

I don’t feel this week with The Artist’s Way was as successful for me as last week, mainly because I didn’t put as much effort into being creative as a I did the first week. When I did the activity where I chose five other lives I’d like to have and “lived as a poet,” I was a lot more motivated to do things to inspire creativity and be creative. I wanted to choose “romance writer” to be this week, but honestly I was a little tapped out after last week and had a lot on my mind, so I just didn’t feel like doing it.

I also spent time thinking about how I spend my time in general, and realized I don’t do a lot of the things I like to do anymore since I started my first full-time job last year. I have always been a major advocate for self-care for other people in my life, but when it comes to myself, I tend to be of the gogogo mindset and prioritize thinking about work during the week and don’t think about anything else. I definitely want to make changes in how I spend my time, but currently I’m at a bit of a loss for how to do that since I’m always so tired during the week and work and then go to sleep.

 

weekly check-in

1. How many days did you do the morning pages?

I did my morning pages all 7 days this week. I found there were a few days where I really didn’t have much to say and just rambled, but it has actually been somewhat helpful to have a bit of a brain dump each morning.

 

2. Did you do have your Artist’s Date this week? How did it make you feel?

I did not have an artist’s date this week. Honestly I was so out of it over the weekend that all I wanted to do was sleep or just lie down for long stretches of time. The weekend is the only time I have available to do an artist’s date, and I just didn’t feel like doing it this week. To be honest, thinking about having to do an artist’s date stressed me out a bit this week because I have so much on my mind with some personal emotional stuff I’m dealing with and preparing for Book Expo and freaking out about having to work basically an entire week with no day off next week because of doing outreach stuff (don’t worry, I’m getting paid extra for the extra time, but I still have to do it so…ehhhh.) So artist’s date this week was…not. A success. Or existent.

 

3. Were there any significant developments in your creative recovery this week? Describe them.

Honestly nothing of note happened for me creatively this week. I should’ve done “romance novelist” as my “other life” this week, but I just didn’t have the energy after living as a poet last week, but I think I might try to make up for it and do it next week instead.

the artist’s way: week 1 wrap-up

This is my first weekly wrap-up post where I’ll be detailing how my experience with The Artist’s Way is going. Here is my intro post about what The Artist’s Way is in case you missed it!

week 1 thoughts

Week 1 of The Artist’s Way was all about getting myself in touch with my creativity again and exploring my creative history. Most of the tasks were focused on examining my critics, both inner and outer, which was really helpful. I didn’t have many outer critics of my creativity to talk about, but I had plenty to talk about in terms of my own critiques of my creative works that were caused by my own inner critiques.

I had two favorite activities this week. The first was writing a list of five “other lives” that I wanted to lead. I then picked one of them to live as for the whole week. The “other life” I picked that I would like to live was being a poet. How did I live as a poet? I mainly read lots of poetry books for inspiration, and even managed to write some new poems without being super judgey of myself, which seems like a major feat. I’d really like to continue doing this exercise and practice living as various things that I want to live as in the coming weeks of the course. A couple of the other “other lives” I wrote down were novelist and cosmic witch, so I think I want to try those next.

I also wrote a “letter to the editor” in defense of myself and my creative work. This was a really helpful exercise because it allowed me to face my own critiques of myself and critiques I’ve been afraid people would say about my work in a productive way. It was very affirming to write about how I actually feel about my own writing, and to defend it to critics, both real and imagined. I reaffirmed why I want to write and why I write the way that I do, and somewhat convinced myself that my writing is valid.

I also did affirmations pages most mornings where I picked an affirmation about my creativity and wrote it ten times. I also wrote affirmations based on critiques of my writing that I have felt on the inside a lot that have stopped me from writing and turned them into positives to take with me. This exercise was also extremely helpful even though I have never believed in doing affirmations before and helped me turn my negative self-talk that has been blocking my creativity into something productive and motivating.

 

weekly check-in

Each chapter in The Artist’s Way has a weekly check-in section at the end of the tasks list. Here are the questions for this week’s check in.

1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? 

All seven 🙂

2. Did you do your artist’s date this week? How did it make you feel?

In addition to the Morning Pages, which are three pages of longhand writing, the other crucial component to weekly Artist’s Way tasks is the Artist’s Date, which is basically setting aside a block of time to spend with yourself. This week, I watched Wreck it Ralph and read HOPE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES. It was extremely relaxing, and good to know that I am capable of enjoying time alone with myself, which I have not been able to do for a while because of my extreme lack of self-esteem.

3. Were there any significant developments to your creative recovery this week? Describe them.

I basically did that above. But I feel like I managed to reaffirm to myself that my creative pursuits are worthy and valid and worth pursuing, and my art is just as valid as anyone else’s. I felt like I was able to reignite some respect for my creative passions and pursuits, and began to chip away at the blocks that I have put inside myself that inhibit my creativity.