The Artist’s Way Week 10 Check-In
Week 10 is “Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection,” and I had synchronicity slap me right in the face this week. Last week was supposed to be my Week 10 Check-In, but I was TOO BUSY. Too busy preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo, too busy writing, too busy watching my grandson, too busy uploading videos, too busy cleaning…too busy, too busy, too busy. Ironically enough, that’s part of what this week is about.
The bottom line, according to Mrs. Cameron, is that busyness, as well as other crutches (she calls them blocking devices) like food, alcohol, drugs, sex or dramatic relationships (as well as few others) are ways that “we turn back on ourselves.” When “we begin to sense our real potential and the wide range of possibilities open to us…that scares us. So we all reach for blocks to slow our growth.” Some of those blocking devices are toxic. Once we’ve rooted out the devices and are aware of them, they “will no longer work effectively,” but you have to be honest with yourself, “ride out the anxiety and see where we emerge. Anxiety is fuel. We can use it to write with, paint with, work with.”
One of the things that I’m now doing that she suggests is to keep a daily checklist of how I spend my time. How much time I’m actually writing, versus procrastinating. Or how much time I spend on social media for “writing” versus social media for “socializing” and/or procrastination.
She also talks about Drought and Fame, along with Competition.
Cameron states that during a drought, when it feels/seems like our creativity has dried up, “these are the times when the morning pages are the most difficult and most valuable.” Did I mention I skipped my morning pages two days this week and last week? What I have to remind myself of is that the drought will end, and Cameron says that droughts “end because we have kept writing our (morning) pages, because we have not collapsed to the floor our our despair and refused to move on.” She also says, “to write is to right things. Sooner or later–always later than we like–our pages will bring things right.”
Fame, she says, “encourages us to believe that if it hasn’t happened yet, it won’t happen.” She calls fame a spiritual drug and is dangerous. While reading this section I was reminded of a quote:
Competition should “prove that it can be done.” Thinking “he or she will succeed instead of me,” is the fear talking. I’m 8 days into Camp NaNoWriMo, and some people get competitive when participating in NaNoWriMo events, what they call a healthy dose of “did you make your words today?” And for some that works, but for me it’s always been more about having fun, about getting my words and using the event as an accountability aid. If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit when someone makes a 5K day and I’m struggling to get 1000 doesn’t make me feel bad, but then I have to ask myself why can’t I also make it a 5K day, or how about I use tomorrow as my 5K day…It’s all about the way we think, about asking ourselves the right questions.
Cameron suggests that we ask ourselves questions like “Did I work on my writing today? Did I make my deadline?”
Cameron says, “Be willing to paint or write badly while your ego yelps resistance. Your bad writing my be the syntactical breakdown necessary for a shift in your style. Your lousy painting may be pointing you in a new direction. Art needs time to incubate, to sprawl a little, to be ungainly and misshapen and finally emerge as itself…we must learn to approve of ourselves. Showing up for the work is the win that matters.” Best piece of advice for me right now since I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo. A bit of synchronicity. 😀