For the next twelve weeks here at B.I.K.E. WITH JACKIE, those of us who are reading The Artist's Way will be checking in on Mondays. I have a small group of writers participating with me, and we'll be posting our progress as comments below.
By now, you've read Chapter One, "Recovering a Sense of Safety." You've learned about the Morning Pages and your Artist's Date. You've got a pretty good idea of what's involved in the book and what you might be able to expect in the coming weeks. It's going to be extremely enlightening if you've never read Julia Cameron's work before. It's going to be wonderfully familiar to those of you who have. And, I hope it's going to be a highly encouraging, motivating, positive force for all of us, propelling us into greater success with our creative endeavors--no matter what they are or what they might be.
Here's how the first week panned out on my end:
I remember the very first time I read this chapter, it made me cry. I could quickly recognize where my "blurts" were coming from. But this time, I have a much healthier sense of who I am as a creative person. I don't feel any strong pull from anyone--other than myself--that would suggest I can't live my life creatively. I realize, at this point in my life (past my early 40s), I am in charge of where I take my career, and where I don't. I kind of like to think I have a handle on the blurts. But not always. I did find myself connecting all too well with the need to affirm. I relished the time in the mornings last week when I spent reaffirming myself as a creative person, a successful writer, a person who can "Expect the best" from this world.
In fact, coming back to The Artist's Way for motivation allowed me to hear the above mantra on TV, and I've been using it ever since. "Expect the best." I might have missed it without Cameron. She kind of saved me last week, as I had been having some really down days the month prior--and that's probably what led me back to Cameron's book. I needed it. I needed to be reminded of my strengths. I am glad to have her book to use as a tool to reconnect and work to "Find and protect the artist child."
I have a lot of highlighting in my book, and notes written in the side margins. But I still managed to write more there. I particularly liked to be reminded that beliefs are not facts. Beliefs are not your truths. You can change your beliefs for the better; thus, the need for affirmations, which provide the safety and hope your creative self needs to soar. I liked being reminded of that.
I wrote my Morning Pages every morning, except for on Saturday. I went on a very long hike instead, and that suited me just fine.
I didn't actually schedule my Artist Date, as I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. So when Sunday came, in between laundry and a little house cleaning, I ran across this game I picked up at a bookstore last year. Called the Color Game, it's a series of cut-out cards of various colors and designs created by an architect named Ted Naos. You mix and match the cards to form different patterns. I played with those for about an hour. I didn't have as much fun as I thought, and I think it's because I forced myself to do it, just so I could say I'd done my Artist Date. I think the date has to have more meaning than that, something that is more consciously chosen. Maybe. Anyway, in my search this morning to try to find the game online, in case you're interested in seeing it for yourself, I found this color game instead. It turned out to be more fun than the one I played.
I was so not intimidated by the exercises this time around. I wanted to do as many of them as I could. I remember my first reading, when I thought, "Exercises! Bah. I don't want to do that." And I did as few as I thought I could get away with. This time, I, of course, wrote my Morning Pages--such a freeing experience, and I do feel like I let go of a lot of crap that was hanging around in my thoughts for too long. Amen! I did do the Artist Date. I did one of the Time Travel exercises. I wrote a letter to the editor in my defense. That was so fun! I mailed it, but I haven't yet received it. I think I'll wait to read it till the end of our 12 weeks. I did the affirmations. I read affirmations at least four times last week, and I took my artist for a walk.
All in all, this was a great first week. I hope you all had a similar experience. If it's your first time, tell us your impressions of the book and the lessons so far. Do you think you'll be able to finish? I remember that one time I read it, I quit midway. I don't remember why. I wasn't ready for it? I don't know. But let's hear from you about your progress. Go ahead and answer the questions that are at the end of the chapter. Or, just post your overall thoughts. Reveal as little or as much as you like. We'll keep checking in every Monday till we've all completed the 12 chapters.
Motivation for Mondays is a part of a weekly Twitter party called #MotivatedMondays initiated by Lorrie Shaw, a professional pet sitter, a regular pets contributor at annarbor.com, and pet blogger in Dexter Township, MI. Together, we post a combination of inspirational notes, links to motivational blog posts, and tips to help kickstart your week ahead. Look for us online every Monday morning--and throughout the day--if you need to kick start your week or want to share your own motivational thoughts.