This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Motivation for Mondays: The Artist's Way check-in for Week 10

Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way book cover
We've made it to Week 10. After this, there's just two more weeks to go before we finish the book and can see how well we've unblocked our creativity. If there's still more work to be done, we may have to start all over again.

I hope that doesn't scare you.

Whatever the case, I'm sure we will see positive results. Sometimes, the first time around doesn't net us quite what we may have expected, and a do-over is a good thing. Especially if we wait it out and see what happens when we're NOT doing the Morning Pages regularly, or NOT scheduling those Artist Dates, and NOT focusing on healing.

But first, let me ask you: What did you focus on with Chapter 9?

More synchronicity for me, I tell you! The chapter was about compassion. So appropriate for me this week as I waited for the birth of my first grandson. He arrived midweek, during that first hour of December 2. Everything went smoothly. My daughter did so well. Her husband was a great coach. And the baby was born healthy and near perfect. It was a great week to focus on compassion. Compassion for self and for others. Could there be a better way to spend a week? I don't think so.

The event that unfolded last week turned out to be a nice twist to what had been happening in my life the month before. It brought about relief.

And offered time to reflect on what it means to be healthy, live healthy, and think healthy thoughts. All of this matters if we are to succeed in growing our creative selves.

In Chapter 9, Julia Cameron writes about FEAR and how that can affect how blocked we may feel. It may actually give us an excuse for NOT doing something. I can admit that fear played a large part in my early career. It also creeped in early last week. I was fearful that my daughter would have a difficult labor. I wanted the baby to arrive a healthy human being. I didn't want my daughter to experience pain. So a writer friend suggested I focus on seeing the baby born healthy, seeing the delivery go smoothly. I did that. And I prayed. I prayed a lot that day. And all went well.

Cameron talks about calling things as they are, not using cop-outs or lying to ourselves. We are not lazy if we procrastinate doing our work. We are merely afraid of the outcome. So we need to practice looking at the reality of any situation and assessing the truth. What is getting in the way? Write those things down. What are we gaining by letting those things get in the way? Be honest. Let them go. And move on to complete the work.

Cameron also looks at enthusiasm versus discipline. Basically, she says we won't get far if we try to rely on discipline to do the job. Creatives can't work that way for long. We need to be enthusiastic about what we're doing. If we're not, maybe it's okay to move on and try something else. That's what drives writers to be able to complete book-length projects. Enthusiasm. Discipline will not last long enough. Enthusiasm is what will keep you going. I agree with this 100 percent. Do you?

I so related to this! Creative u-turns. The things that take all of your progress and squash it into a pile of doo-doo on the floor you never want to touch. That's a bit dramatic-sounding, but I confess I have done things to sabotage my very own career. I have missed deadlines, not without advance warning, but I have done that. I have failed to turn in invoices. I have ignored signing contracts till the very end. I have done those things and more. I have let fear get in the way. Both of success and of failure.

Sometimes, I still have these moments. When I am in the midst of too much stuff to deal with, I take my time. I purposely slow down. I don't know if that's good or bad, but it's what I've done in order to be able to muddle through. I have learned to access that self-compassion and focus on doing the best I can. Sometimes, the best may not be good enough for others, but it has to be good enough for me. Working alone sometimes means I get overwhelmed. And rather than letting that get the best of me, I work on accepting my weaknesses and doing the best I can. Thank goodness we're allowed failures before we can reach the successes. If we weren't allowed to fail at all, I'm not sure where I'd be. I'm grateful for my vulnerabilities. They allow me to embrace my strengths. And one of my strengths is that I am not afraid to ask for help when I need it. Sometimes, I've delayed asking, but I will always ask. How about you?


To me, this part of the chapter was even better than the exercises at the end of Chapter 9. To me, it's the single most helpful part of this chapter. Although I didn't do it this week, I have done this before. You list out your resentments or anger that you may feel toward a project. You list out any related fears toward the project. You ask yourself if that's all there is. You ask yourself what might happen if you didn't the do the project at all. And then you make a deal with yourself about completing the project. It makes so much sense to get all of the negative thoughts that might show up out of the way at the beginning, or when you start to feel blocked. Then, you can carry on. It's like any relationship. If there's stuff getting in the way, you need to move it. You need to hash it out, so you can move on. Have you ever tried this when you were feeling resistant to a project? Maybe you discovered the answer was to drop the project. I find this exercise to be a very wise one, and one I hope to utilize more readily in the future.

Since work was not on top of mind this past week, I did not write many Morning Pages. Six or seven at most. Pages. Not days. As for an Artist Date, would it count that I shopped for a special gift after the baby was born? I spent 20 minutes in the hospital gift shop and found the new baby's initials: W.O.W. His name is Wyatt Owen Waddington, which makes him a WOW baby. And he is exactly that. I also had my book signing at Costco, and though it felt like a hectic thing to do in the midst of the new baby's arrival, I did manage to pull some creative stuff together and haul it over to the stores with me. I did manage to interact with a lot of people. And I did manage to sell some books, despite it all.

I'm sure there are other things, but I can't think of them at the moment. So now it's your turn. Post your chapter thoughts below. And next week, we read about "Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection."

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, 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.


Teresa Bitler said...

I didn't do as much work on the morning pages as I should have last week. It's been very busy since the holiday season has started.

For me, the section on fear made the greatest impact last week. I put a star next to the line that reads "The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist." To a certain extent, I get tied up in the idea that I need to do "great" work. I push aside ideas that maybe I shouldn't because they're not "good" enough. I'm afraid of looking stupid.

I also related to where she talks about the fear of losing others. I realized that I am afraid, at times, that if I'm as successful as I'd like to be, I'll strain my marriage or not be there for my kids. I'm afraid, too, that my friends will move on or I'll get left out of some extended family function.

I think I need to go through TAW again at the beginning of the year. It would be helpful to take that next step and go a little deeper into the material.

BIKE LADY said...

Teresa, these are really great insights and so honest. I've been there, done that. Felt exactly what you've written here. I've gotten over the fear of being left out, because, well, I have to make a living with no partner to fall back on. So it's different for me right now. But I've been there and know exactly what you mean.

And I'm getting better all the time about not having to be "great" all the time, though, I have to watch out and find a good balance. I don't want to be okay with being just okay. I do still want of focus on doing good work for my clients.

Since you want to do this over again (I like hearing that), let's plan on revisiting the book after the start of the New Year. Don't worry about not having time. There will always be another project to take your attention away. There will never be the perfect time; you just make time -- as much as you can. As you can see, we're almost finished this time around, and you're still here.

Thanks for posting and thanks for sticking this out. It's such an empowering process.

I hope those of you out there who are not writers are still finding value in this process. It's not just for artists of various kinds; it's for anyone who wants to tap into their creative side. We all have one. We can all make use of one. We can all benefit by doing so.

Kim said...

Here's my check-in:

BIKE LADY said...

Kim, I hope people here will cut and paste your link their browsers today. Perfect lesson! Thank you!