Part one of a twelve-part series on "the Artist's Way":
Instinctual creativity lurks within us all. It's just a matter of unlocking it. Each of us has an inner artist that many of us deny. We think our love of writing, painting, singing, cooking, gardening, collecting, or any other wonderful act of creativity is something to be ignored, a childish fantasy better left to the young.
A friend of mine suggested I buy "the Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, a course in discovering and recovering your creative self. I did. For the next few weeks, at the suggestion of Ms. Cameron, I intend to share what I'm learning about my own creativity.
Before beginning the journey, it's suggested we dig out all the negative feedback that we always give ourselves when we talk about our art. My mind tells me things like "I'm not good enough. I can't write a book." or "Don't try to compare yourself with (name of favorite author). You're not in the same league." Another good one is "That's all right for a hobby, but you'll never get published."
Now that I've discovered some of
my creativity killers, I have to go back into my past and find where those denigrating words originated. I remember some of my family and as well as the nuns telling me I was nothing but a daydreamer. I grew up believing daydreaming was bad. I've since learned differently. Daydreaming, for me, has always been about beauty and possibilities. It's part of my instinctual creativity.
Once I've pinpointed the negative thoughts, I begin to combat them with positive alternatives. "You don't know how to write" becomes "I can learn how to write." Positive affirmations using a higher power i.e., the Universe, God, or H.P. (Higher Power) also help. "My dreams come from H.P. and H.P. has the power to accomplish them."
In this book, Ms. Cameron asks that her students begin each day with Morning Pages, three written pages or writing that lasts one half hour. This "stream of consciousness" writing about anything or nothing at all, helps students to see and clear out the negative censor. According to Ms. Cameron, this writing not only helps to clear away the negativity, but it also kick-starts the creativity.
I bought the book three days ago and I have already seen a huge difference in my thought processes. This morning, I had an exciting idea about promoting my book and those of my writing group. I was able to come up with a long list of steps to accomplish this dream.
Each chapter ends with tasks to perform. One I love is to take yourself out on an artist date. Each week go someplace, all by yourself, that will give you pleasure. It doesn't have to be anything big. I'm thinking about going on a trolley ride.
What about you? Where would you like to take your creative self?