I have recently joined a little discussion group for looking at The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This follows hotly on the heels of reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Both books look at creativity and how it works, how it can be stimulated. I was introduced to the Artists Way by Kamsin, who blogs at Life in the key of E.
Now normally I don’t just sign up to things, but this seemed different. Quite by luck, it appeared to me, I found a small group of writers that I have connected with since I started blogging, and they have been a great encouragement to me. So I thought this would be another step along the path to me finding my creative self. And now I realise this is probably me listening to myself, or the universe (whichever view point you wish to take).
I have always wanted to write. I remember as a child reading endlessly, getting lost in a myriad of other worlds. As a teenager, I wrote diary entries, short stories, poems, and some song lyrics. I felt like I wanted to write. When I was 16 I wrote a list of the things I wanted to achieve in my life, and writing a book was on that list.
But something happened when I entered the ‘real’ world, all that writing got sucked away or left behind, depending on how you look at it. Either way for the last 15 or so years I have not written much up, until starting this blog, and even before then I know there were things that held me back. I’m hoping that I can find out what has and is stifling me, although I have an idea or two.
And what have I learned so far on The Artist’s Way? That I am afraid I cannot produce the goods, I doubt myself and that stops me trying. The morning pages I have so far produced rather prolifically, but being random ramblings without a point, I wonder if I can write with more purpose. The difficulty I have had so far with writing a plan for a novel, making it all hang together.
That I wait for praise; that I feel the need to be perfect; that I need to show evidence of what I have done, to be working validly. I spend hours editing and ‘fiddling’ over blog posts to get them ’just so’. The number of people who read my blog, the chasing of social media interactions. All about validity. In a sense, historically in my life, results have been prized over effort and practice. Historically.
But on the other hand, if I have patience and if I wait, if I allow the creativity to come over me, then the words will come. Words will tumble out of me if I let them (18000 in morning pages so far), I am capable of writing, and not all of it will be gems, but some if it might. I can hope that the flow will come to my other writing.
And it has confirmed , what I was finding out through mindfulness, that when I pay more attention to my life around me, the happenings but also the not happenings, the beings, those things can co-exist with potential writing in my brain, and can even spark it. I have completely changed the way I saw my novel idea, changing the protagonist’s point of view by 180 degrees which is rather exciting.
And what feelings has it brought up? Recognition of the anger I feel for being led up the wrong path, and the jealousy of those who have not. But also hopefulness for a different future and the feeling that I am on the right path now. So I will continue with The Artist’s Way and hope that I am shown more insights to my creative self.