The Artist’s Way – an update

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I started to work through the book The Artist’s Way several weeks ago. I’ve owned the book for years. In fact, I began working my way through the book two years ago, and another two years before that. I suppose I wasn’t ready for the work because I never managed to make it past week two and, like all things, when you are ready to do the work and accept the outcome, change will happen. You can’t set great ideas in motion without doing the work. I’m happy to report that I am currently in the middle of week four. Since a few people have asked about the book and my progress, I thought I’d give an update on what I’m uncovering.

This is where I sit each morning to write my morning pages. It’s dark outside these days, but the view doesn’t really change. Except for the dirty chairs – sometimes the handprints are cleaned. ;/

I think the most important items to share are that I’m committed to doing the work and I recognized that I was at a point that I wanted some things to shift in my creative life and needed the push to make necessary changes. Now, can a book really push me to make the changes? No. It can guide me. I have to do the work. The book is merely a tool to get me there. Am I seeing changes already? Absolutely.

Read on.

When I decided to pursue this work (again. third time is the charm, amirite?), I knew I’d need to hold myself accountable to actually DOING THE WORK. I also wanted to do the work. You have to want to do it. Period. I cannot stress that enough. I decided to share my progress on Instagram to hold myself accountable to my entries and lessons. Now, you don’t see the journal entries or lessons, those are my private thoughts about laundry and carpool <<laugh, laugh, laugh>>, but you see the date and my pencil, empty pages waiting to absorb the contents of my head. I originally posted a few images in my feed but decided I didn’t want a feed full of, basically, the same photo so I’ve moved them to my stories and a highlight. Days are dated. Accountability in check.

At first I was dreading the 5:45am wake up calls but I need the extra twenty minutes to write my morning pages and while, frankly, I wasn’t thrilled about the hour, I find that the early morning musings and getting all the minutiae out has been extremely liberating for me. I didn’t realize how much the contents of your head could muddle your path until I put those thoughts on paper and got them out of my way. It clears my head and helps me focus on what needs to be accomplished for the day. As I enter week 4 I find I’m less stressed and far more focused. I’ve been more productive than I’ve been in a while and it’s a really good feeling! I feel creative energy around me and I’m soaking it up like a sponge. I’m excited to do my work!

I’m learning a lot about myself as I work my way through the book. Today I actually WANTED to write a little more but didn’t have time. The book is helping me put some events in my life into focus and work through how some small things can have a big impact on a persons creative journey – like my 4th grade art teacher criticizing the shadow on my artwork. Seriously. We were tasked with drawing a landscape. Mine incorporated a building and I wanted a shadow to fall on the grass beside the building. Instead of making my shadow a darker green, I had a black rectangle next to my building for the shadow because I wasn’t old enough to know that it was a darker hue. I’d like to point out that NO ONE ELSE in class even thought to incorporate a shadow, but my art teacher criticized me harshly for my creativity. Like all trauma (yes, this was an artist trauma), I remember my teachers face, the place, and the actual piece of work I was creating. I remember her less than encouraging comments, and how’s that’s how we derail art journeys for children. Recognizing that now is how we (I) reconcile the damage from that child artist and work towards a sense of recovery. I realize I sound a little hippy, dippy, trippy here, but work with me, people. ❤

On a more practical level, I’ve always been pretty good at listening to my spidey-sense. It usually doesn’t steer me in the wrong direction, and now I’m really learning to lean into it and owning what that can and does mean for me -personally and creatively. I’m choosing to notice serendipity and acknowledge it as a helpful tool for my art and life. I’m open to accepting things that happen for a reason and to listen when they do. I’m also working to not second guess the signs.

Would I recommend this book to makers? Absolutely. Has it been helpful? Tremendously. Am I seeing changes in myself? Yes, and for the better, I might add. I’m a work in progress, for sure.

I’m excited about what the next 8 weeks hold and how the process will continue to unfold for me. If you have the desire to unblock your inner creative, I cannot recommend this book enough. Even if you go and buy the book, flip through it, and hold onto it until you are ready, you’ll be glad you have it when you finally are ready.

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