During summer 2016, I am following the 12-week course prescribed in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way (London: Pan Books, 1995). The book focuses on ways to re-discover your creativity. Each week, I will be posting an update on my progress.
Check back on my earlier posts for explanation of key terms which Cameron uses, including Morning Pages and Artist Date.
‘A book is never finished. But at a certain point you stop writing and go on to the next thing. […] That is a normal part of creativity – letting go. We always do the best that we can by the light we have to see by.’
(Cameron, J., The Artist’s Way. London: Pan Books, 1995, p.120)
What’s involved? Week 7’s reading focuses on some of the emotions which can prevent the artist from creating. The one which spoke to me was Perfectionism, i.e. being so caught up in a particular word or sentence that I lose sight of the piece as a whole and end up never finishing it. As someone in the midst of editing her first novel, this attention to detail is important but it is also causing me to spend an awful lot longer on certain parts than I really should. At the end of the day, which reader is going to write to me afterwards and say, ‘I loved the novel, but why did you choose the word, “happiness” on p.20? That ruined it for me!’
How long does it take? Several of the tasks are more time-consuming this week and involve mini-artist dates. Allow 3-4 hours in total, plus daily Morning Pages.
After a couple of weeks without doing an Artist Date, I’m feeling pretty good because I’ve just about lost count of how many I’ve done this week – if you include the task mini-artist dates, at least!
On Thursday, I went with my local writers’ group for a special summer workshop at Castle Loch, Lochmaben. (You can read more about it on their blog, here.) There I had the chance for a short solo walk around the loch, taking notes as I went and producing a 50-word piece of writing afterwards, which will be the beginning of a short story for the group’s next meeting.
Other mini-artist dates this week included an hour spent finishing off a birthday cake for my mum, and (as dictated in Task 2) twenty minutes listening to a favourite album. I chose the Wicked soundtrack, which I absolutely love as it reminds me of seeing the musical in Edinburgh a couple of years ago. The mixture of uplifting and emotional tracks always leave me feeling inspired. I thought I’d spend the whole twenty minutes thinking about what else I “should” be getting on with instead, but in reality it was a perfect way to start off a creative day. I think I should do that on every writing day!
Hardest part? I didn’t get time for everything, and a couple of the tasks slipped off my radar, but I enjoyed what I managed to do.
Week 7 overall? It’s been a great week with lots of inspirational moments. I’m glad I made the time for so many short bursts of artist date time. This is a much more manageable goal for me than trying to spend 2-3 hours at once going out somewhere. Here we come, Week 8 …
Do you want to rediscover your creative self too? If you’d like to join me as I complete Julia Cameron’s course The Artist’s Way, please post here or find me on Facebook (Kerrie McKinnel – Author) and let me know.