Going back to my dog-earred copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

It’s been nearly three weeks since I turned my manuscript into my editor.  Honestly, I still feel very unsettled.  Creatively, I’m tapped out.  No projects are jumping up and down waiting to be loved on.  I don’t want to read the paper or books or watch TV or movies or even have serious conversations.  I don’t want to do anything that requires much mental effort.

Under normal working circumstances, I think I lead a balanced artistic life.  I’m enough in tune with my own rhythms to know that when I’m “on,” I put my shoulder to it and usually accomplish a great deal.  I also know that when I’m not in the flow of the work, it’s better for me to stop, go running, do something else.  I trust the ebb and flow of my productivity.  Listening to what I need and responding appropriately always leads to good, solid work.

Deadlines completely screwed with that plan.  Instead of stepping back, I pushed through.  Instead of taking a break, I plowed forward.  And that’s fine.  Books need to get finished on time, and I can do just about anything for six weeks.  However, I’m coming to realize how depleted I am.

I was talking about this with another writer friend, and she asked if I was doing morning pages a la Julia Cameron.  No, I wasn’t.  The thought of writing three pages a day made me a little squirmy, but when my friend left, I pulled out my tattered copy of The Artist’s Way and started reading from the beginning.  In addition to morning pages, Cameron recommends a weekly date with your inner artist.  She suggests going by yourself to some place or activity to fills you with fun or inspiration.  For Cameron, this is a way to “fill the creative well.”

Aha!

Just the answer I was looking for.  It’s time to focus on filling the well.

…  and doing morning pages!

 

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4 thoughts on “Going back to my dog-earred copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

  1. I just read this book for the first time. Lots of people recommend it! I was thinking of trying out some of her exercises, at least, even if I don’t commit to the full program. I do like the “artist date” idea, since I find it particularly hard to allow myself to relax in that way. (Probably means I need it more than ever…)

    1. It is amazing how easy it is to feel guilty about doing something like going to a gallery or the botanical gardens.

  2. Teri, I’m hoping that you have a secret potion to keep the well full for the next ten months. Otherwise it is going to take a helluva lot of pedicures to get it back! You can do it, Baby!

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