Note: This post is part of a series I am doing on my progress through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way with a cadre of creative ladies. More info about this venture can be found in an earlier post and all of my related posts are under one category.)
Week two considers other barriers to our creative recovery, both from others (folks Julia Cameron calls crazymakers and poisonous playmates) and from within (the skeptical voice in my head that says, “You’re not an artist!”).
I’ve done a couple of this week’s tasks, which I’ll share here:
This is a great visual exercise—not just for those using The Artist’s Way, but anyone—to make you consider and own up where the imbalance in your life can be found. To play along at home, simply draw a circle, divide it into the six pieces below, and make a dot in each “pie”—closer to the outer rim signifies greater fulfillment, closer to the center reveals displeasure in that area.
No matter what your final pie looks like, there will be some areas where you have achieved greater satisfaction than others. Give yourself a pat on the back—but also pay attention to the areas where you could be happier. In my Artist’s Way journal, I’m keeping a running list of the things I can do to improve my happiness in the areas of friendship, exercise and romance/adventure.
Di and Cassidy have already completed their “20 things I like” lists, so I ought to also join in. The following is an alphabetized list of activities I enjoy doing, followed by the last time I had the pleasure of said activity:
|1||being pampered||August 07|
|2||brewing beer||2 years|
|4||chatting w/ girlfriends late into the night||November 07|
|5||cooking for friends||March 08|
|8||going to the movies w/ husband||couple of months ago|
|9||making my own clothes||September 07|
|10||meeting new people||this week|
|12||seeing live music/theater||2 years|
|14||shopping thrift stores/estate sales||February 08|
|15||spending time out of house w/ brother & husband||this month|
|16||staying in bed with husband||this week|
|17||traveling to new places||5 years|
|18||visiting galleries/museums||November 07|
|19||volunteering w/ Habitat for Humanity||2 years|
|20||walking the dog||yesterday|
What surprised me in doing this was the disparity—so many things I had done in the last month or so (approx 40%)…and then things I haven’t done in two years or longer (45%, italicized). Any of the things in italics which can be done for little cost are now officially on my to-do list. Others—travel and homebrew, for example—need to wait on other things, but this has certainly put them on my radar screen. (Note: I specifically didn’t mention my artmaking activities, one, because they are many and I could have used slots 1-10 just on that; and two, because they are obviously a priority for me else I wouldn’t be reading this book, maintaining this blog, etc!)
The thing I would just say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting, creative work—they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste, and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as what they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. [...] The thing I would say to you is everybody goes through that. The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work.
That tidbit comes from the video below, which is part of a series of four clips; I recommend you watch them all and soak up the inspiration and compassion for what it means to be driven to create:
Thanks for reading!