I imagine that a lot of you know already about Julia Cameron’s wonderful book – The Artist’s Way: a spiritual path to higher creativity. I found it in the library. I don’t remember when that was or why I saw it but it saved me.
I’ve been so discouraged and blocked that I didn’t think I’d write again.
My play, The Last Of The Daytons, which actually won a prize in 2017 – the SantaBarbara Playfest – is dear to my heart and relevant to today and I can’t find a theater to produce it. I know I’m far from alone and have been writing a long time but for some reason, the lack of a home for this particular piece stopped me in my tracks. (There’s only a finite number of places to submit.)
“What is the point?” lurked under everything I started. And I didn’t continue. I didn’t write in my diary or talk into my recorder.
I did read the book.
The Artist’s Way is decades old and still an international bestseller. There are a lot of blocked artists out there! It takes you through a twelve week program designed to help you unblock and start writing freely again.
Ms. Cameron believes that creativity has a spiritual foundation and that “the bedrock tool of a creative recovery” is an exercise called Morning Pages: three pages of longhand writing about absolutely anything. Lined pages are perfect. Write them first thing in the morning, and don’t show them to anyone. They can be about anything and there is no wrong way to do them but it takes practice. Sometimes I get busy (like now) and don’t write until later but when I don’t sit down and race across the page, I miss it and feel as if I’m cheating myself.
You’re not supposed to look at those pages until some time has passed. I began on August the 13th and will read them on October the 13th. Maybe I’ll find out something I didn’t know about how I approach things, maybe there will be a clue as to how to proceed. Maybe the fear and anxiety about starting something new will disappear or at least lessen.
Since I started writing them, I’ve already begun a new play, well, I’ve a setting and four people, maybe also a mysterious lady in a plumed hat, maybe, maybe. But it’s a start.
She also suggests that you make an “artist’s date” with yourself once a week. Do something, go somewhere, for yourself, by yourself, something not related to domestic chores or something for work, something that’s out of the ordinary daily routine, something out of the neighborhood.
See how it feels.
I’m sure the pleasure of seeing or doing something new would be beneficial and fun but I’ve found this the most difficult. I think that underneath that anxiety about taking that time off is a feeling of not being allowed. It wouldn’t be productive after all, would it?
(I did buy myself an ice cream cone a couple of weeks ago but don’t know if that counts.)
I think I can, I think I can.
The book gives you exercises after every week and I know I can use them so I’ll go back to the library and take it out again. And I’ll go now and write those Morning Pages!