Week 9 – The Artist’s Way

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.

‘Fear is what blocks an 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.’

(Cameron, J., The Artist’s Way. London: Pan Books, 1995, p.152)

Week 9

What’s involved? Week 9 focuses on those blocks which stop us from creating – fear, lack of enthusiasm, and self-sabotage. The tasks look to the future, asking you to set creative goals for the coming weeks and months. It builds on the themes of Week 8, continuing to ask the question: Where do you want to be XXX years from now?

How long does it take? This week, I spent about 2 hours on the reading and tasks in addition to my daily Morning Pages, but I didn’t make enough time to complete the biggest task – reading and analysing my Morning Pages to date. I was disappointed in myself for missing out on this potentially fun and enlightening task, so I’ll be making time to do it in the coming week.

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Artist Date at the park.

I did, however, make it to my local park for a 30-minute Artist Date! It was a fascinating experience because, as I sat on a bench making notes about rustling trees and the dogs walking past, I suddenly found myself feeling emotional. I realised I was thinking about the main character from my novel, Holly; this week I’ve been editing an early chapter where she attends her dad’s funeral, and my subconscious mind had begun to imagine this experience and to connect with her pain and confusion. It surprised me, but it just shows how powerful the Artist Date can be. Give yourself half-an-hour of peace, and who knows where your mind will wander?

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My study timetable for the next four weeks!

This week I also found time to make myself a study timetable for the next four weeks, to keep me organised while I finish working on my final MLitt portfolio. This wasn’t strictly speaking an ‘Artist’s Way’ activity, but I was keen to include time for these readings and tasks each week – they have been so useful in helping me to take more time for myself and to tap into my inner creative self, a fact which was proved for me by my reaction to this week’s Artist Date. The next few weeks are going to be busy but I think I’ll benefit from keeping up this course at the same time.

Hardest part? I found it difficult to think about some of the opportunities which I’ve turned down in the past due to fear or other artist blocks, but facing up to them is an important part of my creative recovery. Next time the opportunity comes around, I’ll feel more confident in going for it.

Week 9 overall? It’s been an exhausting week with a number of university and personal deadlines on the horizon, but I’m proud to have kept up with most of this course. On my to-do list for Week 10 is the task of reading my Morning Pages, rolled over from this week, as this is too important to be forgotten. Come back next week to find out how I get on!

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. The book which I’ve been reading and quoting from, The Artist’s Way (London: Pan Books, 1995), can be found on Amazon’s website and other book retailers.

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