*I had planned to combine the first weeks into one blog post, but that turned out to be way too much information at once, so I decided to split it. Here’s the first one, the rest will follow soon! xx Leonie.
I’ve never been great at sticking to things (I spot a limiting belief here, haha). So, it’s sort of a miracle that a year after I started my personal blog, I still take the time to write and publish pieces. Therefor, when I received Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way,” I decided to share my process here, as a kind of motivation. It gives me a good reason not to stop halfway for any reason.
In the first blog about “The Artist’s Way,” I explain what the book is all about and its purpose. Have you read that already? If so, let’s dive into the first of 12 blog posts, or week 1 of the exercises.
Week 1 of The Artist’s Way
I read the introduction three times, where Julia explains why she is so certain that everyone is creative. The key is to eliminate certain blocks or beliefs that undermine your creativity. These blocks vary for everyone, so not two people will have exactly the same experiences doing the exercises. It’s a very personal process, so what I encounter may be very different for you.
The first chapter is all about restoring a sense of safety. Or rather, letting go of beliefs that limit you as an artist or creative being. Everyone, including me, has a little voice in their head, constantly criticizing everything you so. It tells me that all I do is insignificant, not original enough, that no one will want to buy what I make, and that a creative life is not meant for me. According to Julia, I should allow myself to let go of all of these negative beliefs. As, let’s be honest, they aren’t very encouraging.
“Oh no,” I though when I found out I had to write 3 pages every morning. I’ll never keep that up! What on earth am I going to write about? And then it turned out that, in practice, it’s not that difficult, and three pages are not even that much. (A few weeks later, I had already filled the first notebook!)
I write about everything that occupies my mind, that I slept well, and that I need to bake bread again. That I’m looking forward to the weekend, that I want new boots, and that I find it so annoying that everything is so bureaucratically regulated in Spain. And then suddenly, I write that I was so annoyed by a comment someone made, and it made me think of the past. That I find it so irritating when people tell me what to do and that I’m allergic to unsolicited advice. Where that came from? No idea.
After four days, I’m even thinking about the Morning Pages during the day. Several times a day, I think ‘I’m going to write this down tomorrow morning’, and I do. Who would have though that inspiration to write these pages really is everywhere?
The Artist’s Date
It’s three o’clock in the afternoon when I read again that I have to take myself on a date every week. I do enjoy disappearing for a few hours now and then, but I don’t do it very often. Very impulsively, I grab my bag, put a bottle of water, an apple, a leftover focaccia, and the book in it, and close the door behind me. I’m already heading towards Turia Park when I realize I want to go further away, and I turn back towards the metro. A few stops later, I get off and walk towards Parque de la Cabezera; a beautiful park with a large lake in the middle.
As I lay down on the grass, I flip through the book again. What can I do to be more creative, I ask myself out loud. What do I need for that? The answer follows immediately: courage.
For at least six months, I’ve been saying that I’ll eventually take pottery lessons. And I’m just too scared to do it. What I’m so afraid of? Good question. It’s a small remnant of my former social fob, I guess. I grab my phone and open the website of the pottery studio I found months ago. I sign up for the course, select the date for my first lesson, and complete the payment immediately. There, now I can’t go back, I sigh, while stuffing the last piece of focaccia into my mouth.
After that, I take a detour back home. I wonder if this also counts as an Artist’s Date, strolling through streets where I never normally go, with my camera ready… Anyway, it’s rather relaxing. I should do it more often.
Exercises of week 1:
All exercises from week 1 of The Artist’s Way are aimed at restoring a sense of safety. They are almost all writing assignments, and I happen to love writing, so: good for me!
Monsters from the past
One of the assignments is about so-called ‘monsters from the past.’ People who have given negative feedback on your creative expressions that still bother you. I had to think about it for a long time, since I could not come up with anything.
Two days later, I’m walking town the street past a gallery and stop to stare at a painting. And suddenly I know. In the first year of the Artemis Styling Academy, we had to paint a color palette with colors from an image that was cut out of a magazine. It wasn’t my day, I didn’t feel well, and I hadn’t taken enough time to do the assignment. A week later, I received the assessment form from my teacher, with the devastating words: a weak sense of color.
I almost threw up. Here I was, a young girl with the dream of becoming an interior stylist, where literally everything (I repeat EVERYTHING) revolves around color. The judgment of teachers meant a lot to me back then, I was so embarrassed. I never completed the course, not because of this assessment, by the way, but because of my personal situation. But the words have always lingered.
So, I write a (not to be sent) letter to the teacher in question: ‘I really think you’re stupid, and you were clearly wrong because I happen to have a STRONG sense of color!’ There, that felt good.
Apart from the assessment form above, another comment came up, made by a certain person when I first expressed a desire to go to art school. She said: ‘keep in mind that it’s very difficult to make money with a creative profession.’ Well, that for sure made an impact. I decided to study Nutrition & Dietetics, convinced myself that you also need creativity for that, and abandoned my dream. It’s no surprise that I hated that education, stopped after half a year, and chose a more creative one after that.
In addition to people who have had a negative impact on your creative development, there are also people who have encouraged it. Strangely, I can’t think of anyone who unconditionally believed in that in the past or encouraged me to persevere. Maybe because I just didn’t want to believe it, not sure. So I write down the names of people who do that right now. Friends who support me in everything I do and provide only positive feedback. Not that I only accept positive feedback, but there is a big difference between projecting a limiting belief and giving constructive criticism, although these are sometimes difficult to distinguish.
This is perhaps the most fun assignment of this week: writing down my imaginary lives. If I hadn’t been a copywriter (which I became years later by chance) and had all sorts of other lives, what would I be? I write: baker, novelist, world traveler, psychologist, scientist, biologist, potter (it’s never too late), and fashion designer.
The chapter concludes with coming up with positive affirmations, mainly to counteract negative beliefs. It’s easy to make money with a creative profession, I whisper to myself. And once again: I choose to believe that it’s easy to make money with a creative profession. This feels sufficient for now.
That was it for week 1 of “The Artist’s Way.” The book pleasantly surprised me and it already working on a much deeper level than I expected. In short: it tastes like more! Have you read “The Artist’s Way” yet? If so, what did you think of it?
With love, Leonie
Currenly working on: week 2. Blogpost coming up soon! Follow me on Instagram for updates! xx Leonie