Last week I started to share why I refer to the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. There are certain chapters, not even chapters, certain sentences within the Artist’s Way that knock me over the head and scream “Hello!”
Stop yelling at yourself. Be nice. Call fear by its right name. – The Artist’s way
This is just one sentence that was crying out to me the first time I read it over six years ago and still rings true for me today. Procrastination is my middle name as I’m sure some of you have adopted the name of the silent killer of the artist or anyone really.
Last weekend I spent two and a half days at a Lake home with four other women, the focus was a writing retreat, but also just to enjoy each others company, to cook great food, drink lovely wine, sit by the lake, soak in the sun and just be. I took full advantage of being away from my full-time job and did a lot of writing. I wrote a blog piece, worked on my manuscript and dove into a new story that has taken over me. I’m consumed with this new story and when I get into it, it’s really hard to get out of it. My writing friends understand this concept, sometimes we walk around like in some type of post writing fog, a limbo state, fully still thinking about our characters, the story, plot, climax, where is the story going, how will it end? All the things I constantly think about with this new story. I feel at times that my non-writing friends don’t quite understand me when I get into this moment, the moment that I let go and let be, I let the creativity take over and I’m not sure when I’ll be back. Don’t you just love that feeling when you’re into your writing?
During the writing retreat I spent most of my time in my room of the 5 bedroom house. I would get up to make tea, stretch, putter around the room when I needed a mini break. It was like I was in the three-day international novel contest again. I loved it! I set a goal and wanted to follow through. It’s something I’m working on this year. Follow through. Honestly, it’s easier some days than others.
So procrastination came up for me after the weekend. I had another day off before I headed back to my full-time job and I spent the morning working a few writing projects, but I neglected my goals. I wanted to do everything but write. Something was not quiet right.
Do not call procrastination laziness. Call it fear. Fear is what blocks artist. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not finishing. The fear of failure and of success. The fear of beginning at all. There is only one cure for fear. That cure is love. Use love for your artist to cure its fear. – The Artist’s Way
Stop yelling at yourself. Be nice. Call fear by its right name. – Julia Cameron
Once I started this post, I realized that I still have fear, the fear of finishing came up and I thought all I wanted to do was finish my manuscript, to shape it into what is needed to get published, to follow through with my commitment of sharing my creativity, the creativity that was given to me deserves to be shared. It seems so simple to me. To be completely honest for some reason I stop short of taking that plunge of finishing most of the writing projects I start. Yes, I finish some stories and submit them to contests or call submissions, but the bigger projects the ones that come to me in the middle of the night, in the shower, while I’m running, or even at work sometimes; those ideas that my muse plants for me, the ones that scream “write me, write me! This is a great idea, a best seller idea!” I get so excited and rush to start and about twenty to thirty thousand words in I lose my steam, the enthusiasm has lingered like a blown out candle, smoke lingering around until it disappears and never thought of again.
Some ideas I start and then I tuck away for another time because I say “I have to finish my manuscript.” and then a year or two later the story that was started reappears – what you resist, persists…
After a long week-end to recharge I have recharged my enthusiasm. I don’t think I really lost my lustier, but I felt like I was wasting time which made me upset that I was wasting my and my creativity’s time. Julia Cameron speaks about enthusiasm with ease:
Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spiritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us.
I agree with this statement, I have such gratitude and love for all the creativity around me – I look out my window and have beautiful trees that attracts birds and squirrels I catch playing around on the branches of those stunning trees. I am very thankful for the beauty that surrounds me.
A little more on what Julia Cameron says about enthusiasm:
Enthusiasm is an ongoing energy supply tapped into the flow of life itself. Enthusiasm is grounded play, not work. Far from being a brain-numbed solder, our artist is actually our child within, our inner playmate. As with all playmates, it is joy, not duty, that makes for a lasting bond.
My commitment this week is to play, to have fun with my inner child, go for an artist’s date that involves playfulness. Maybe I’ll get my paints out and just see what happens. My commitment to my creativity is deep and I want to everything I possibly can to give back to the craft that fills me up with joy!
Until next time my friends, keep on typing…