The Artists Way Week 2 – Recovering a Sense of Identity

The Artists Way Week 2 – Recovering a Sense of Identity

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This is the third in a series of posts about The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  Join the discussion, and read more with us at the Books on Writing Reading Program! 

“Draw a sacred circle around your recovery.  Give yourself the gift of faith.  Trust that you are on the right track.  You are.”   The Artist’s Way, p. 44

I’ll be honest – this chapter didn’t resonate much with me.  In fact, it made me realize how few friends I have, especially ones that I hang out with on a regular basis.  I don’t have “poisonous playmates,” and I don’t have a lot of negative energy around me, at least not creatively. All of my negativity comes from me.

I do, however, totally get the whole “falling in with other people’s plans for us” and feeling like we “should” do something other than our creative work.  “It’s Saturday afternoon, the weather is beautiful, you haven’t seen your friends in weeks, just come out for a beer!”  Never mind that you swore to yourself you were going to work.  Been there, many times.  It’s my downfall.

I do have one crazymaker in my life:  my son.  I wish I could say I was kidding, but take a look at the definiton:  Crazymakers break deals and destroy schedules, expect special treatment, violate your needs and trespass over boundaries, spend your time and money, make themselves the center of the universe, create drama, hate schedules (except their own), hate order.  Yep, all those apply to a two year old.  Unfortunately, I can’t cut him out of my life!  But I can take the time I have away from him and do something with it.  That’s my goal.

Skepticism – now this is familiar.  The doubt – doubt that I can write, doubt that this reading program I’ve started is doing any good at all.  But I’m trying to let go, to give myself “the gift of faith,” to go back to my belief that things happen for a reason, that it will all work out in the end.  “And if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.”  Skepticism is the inner enemy.  Instead of denying, wonder what if, explore the possibility.  You don’t have to change your mind, you just have to be aware.


A few more thoughts I had while reading this chapter:

I’ve decided I need to name my muse and my critic, draw pictures of them and hang them in my writing space, glare at the critic, bring offerings to the muse.  My critic’s name is Kristin, and I have a picture of her in my head.  I’m still working on my muse, though.  Nothing feels right.  Stephen King talks about the guy in the basement, Jennifer Crusie talks about the girls in the attic. Mine is currently MIA, which my lack of writing can attest to.

“As long as we were blocked, we often felt that it was arrogance and self-will to speak of ourselves as creative artists.  The truth is that it was self-will to refuse to acknowledge our creativity.”  (The Artist’s Way, p. 42).  This.  So much this.  I have such a hard time saying I’m a writer because I. Don’t. Write.  But I am a writer.  I need to say so more often, own it.  And do it.

I’ve started imagining myself in the vastness of space, surrounded by blackness and light.  It’s what I think of when I reread the Basic Principles on page 3.  Life – space – is pure creative energy.  We are creations out of this vastness, and we are meant to continue that.  I imagine myself floating through space, at once admiring the miracle and beauty of it and admiring that I come from it and give back to it.  I also like to think of creativity as tiny particles in the air around us – we inhale them, we blink them out of our eyes, and it’s really up to us – it’s our duty – to catch them and do something with them, rather than just ignore them.



Morning Pages – 7 for 7.  Still not in love with them.  First thing in the morning is rough – if I don’t wake up before the kid, it WILL NOT happen, and to ensure I get up before the kid I have to get up by 5:45.  My body does not like 5:45.  I’m constantly writing “halfway through, stalling out again.”  But I keep going.

“There is a recognizable ebb and flow to the process of recovering our creative selves.  As we gain strength, so will some of the attacks of self-doubt.  This is normal, and we can deal with these stronger attacks when we see them as symptoms of recovery.”  (p. 41)  I definitely saw this in my morning pages.  “I’m doing it all wrong, No I’m not!”  Frustration with myself, while knowing I’m doing the best I can and that I’m the only one putting these demands on me, no one else.

Artist date – This week, it happened kind of by accident.  I was stressed about finding the time to do the Artist Date, and I had to run an errand to the used book store to get something.  Instead of grabbing what I needed, I ended up spending some time, browsing the shelves, and enjoying the quietness of a bookstore.  It was nice.

Any issues significant to recovery?  I decided to start the blog series this week and dedicate myself to getting through all the writing books I stalled out on in the past.  By blogging about it, I hope I’ll see it though.


I’ve realized that I try to get through the tasks with minimal effort.  Even though the author says to speed write through the tasks, I do feel like I’m short-changing the process, doing the bare minimum by staying superficial.  But there’s really not a lot of depth at the moment, and I don’t feel like a lot applies to me.  This is an issue I usually have with these sorts of books, though.  It’s why I never finish them, and why I want to do this reading program.  I want to immerse myself in it, rather than just skimming the surface.  I want to spend time crafting rather than just do perfunctory homework.

Unfortunately, so far the tasks in the book don’t really encourage depth.  Lists are not deep, by definition.  It’s why Listicles do so well with today’s attention spans.  Lists are surface, although they can be very helpful in a different way.  They can define, which is exactly their purpose at the moment, I think.  I just don’t fully understand what my lists are telling me….

Still, I’m looking forward to week 3, or more to the point, I’m looking forward to being out of week 2.

What about you, what did you think of Week 2?  Hopefully you’ve made more progress than I have!  Tell me about your experience, what’s working for you, how you are changing.  I’d love to hear from you!

Up Next, The Artist’s Way Week 3:  Recovering a Sense of Power

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