Per my post last week, I’m combining Weeks 8 and 9 into one check-in. It is way later than usual because, well, the vagaries of life got in the way this week – grocery shopping, cooking dinner, transporting kids all over hell’s half-acre. BUT, this one is a doozy so hold onto your seats! 🙂
- Week 8 Theme: “Recovering a Sense of Strength.” This chapter focuses on surviving artistic losses by turning them into gains. It also works on freeing us from using time as an avoidance strategy and creative block.
- Week 9 Theme: “Recovering a Sense of Compassion.” This chapter deals with our biggest creative blocks – the internal ones. We learn that creative blocks are born from fear and only fear, and that it is artist-abuse to call it anything else – laziness, untalented, unworthy, etc.
- Morning Pages: I missed a couple of days over the past two weeks, even though I didn’t intend to. Here’s what I’ve learned about morning pages. If I say to myself, “I’ll do them later,” I won’t. They have to get done first thing after I wake up or they just don’t get done.
- Artist Date: I didn’t go anywhere, but I did indulge myself in a couple of different activities. First, I have been participating in a free online business boot camp called Women on Purpose. The calls are an hour a day a few days a week. Normally I would not allow myself the luxury of a whole hour to do something that is seemingly not directly related to my work. What I’ve found, however, is that the topics addressed on these calls ARE directly related to how I want to run my business. They are fun, encouraging and inspiring to listen to. Second, when I found myself feeling run down this week, I allowed myself a couple of long naps in the late morning. Very restorative.
Any “Aha” Moments?
- Chapter 8: One of the tasks for the week was a “memory mining” exercise. I discovered that I had done several things in my youth to sabotage my budding writer. Out of nowhere, I remembered that in my freshman year, my creative writing professor wanted to submit a couple of my papers (which were really personal essays) for publication. I said no. He encouraged me to take more creative writing courses. I didn’t. I know exactly why I didn’t, which I’m not going to say here, but what’s amazing is that I had forgotten ALL about it. From there, I was able to remember other things I did over the years to squash myself before anybody else could. Must. Stop. Doing That.
- Chapter 9: The big assignment this week was to read the morning pages so far. Wow. In a way, that was extremely painful, and in another way, both enlightening and encouraging. All along I’ve been pleased with my progress. Just making it to Week 10 is an achievement. Yet, I hadn’t yet felt that I’d experienced any major transformation. Well, I was wrong. My early pages contain lots of name-calling (of myself), feelings of lack – of accomplishment, creativity, discipline, etc. Somewhere in the middle of my journal (because I have now filled an entire book!), more often than not the name-calling and feelings of inadequacy gave way to insights, ideas and excitement. After I finished reading, I started thinking about all I have done and everything that has happened since I began November 9, 2011. A few examples:
- Was a PiBoIdMo Winner
- Set up the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge. This idea was just a twinkle in my eye at the beginning of November. Now we are one full month into the challenge with 400+ members!
- Completed revisions on my primary WIP from the second half of 2012 and sent it off for final comments
- Continued work on a plan for a soon-to-be-announced side business, including networking and setting up meetings
- Was a guest on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast!
- Got three assignments (so far) to write articles for the Tools of Change conference in Bologna and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
- Got a press pass for ToC Bologna
- Established four-year goals for all aspects of my business, working backwards into each month for 2012
- Outlined rough ideas for two potential e-books
- Wrote a picture book draft in January of a story I’ve wanted to write for more than a year
- Had my very first school visit and got invited for three more as a result
- Set my networking and continuing education schedule for 2012 – conferences, seminars, etc.
A few favorite quotes from the Week 8 chapter:
“Creativity cannot be comfortably quantified in intellectual terms… (T)he entire thrust of intellectualism runs counter to the creative impulse. For an artist, to become overly cerebral is to become crippled.”
“Pain that is not used profitably quickly solidifies into a leaden heart, which makes any action difficult. When faced with a loss, immediately take one small action to support your artist.“
“At the heart of the anorexia of artistic avoidance is the denial of process. We like to focus on having learned a skill or having made an artwork. This attention to final form ignores the fact that creativity lies not in the done but in the doing.”
A few favorite quotes from the Week 9 chapter:
“Fear is the true name for what ails the blocked artist. It may be fear of failure or fear of success. Most frequently, it is the fear of abandonment.”
“(B)eing an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline… Enthusiasm (from the Greek, “filled with God”) is an ongoing energy supply tapped into the flow of life itself. Enthusiasm is grounded in play, not work.”
“Remember that art is process. The process is supposed to be fun.”
How have you overcome avoidance (fear) and/or internal blocks to your art?