Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.” The Talmud
How many of you sit at your computer and stare at a blank screen? Perhaps you have words on said blank screen, but you know it’s total crap.
I would suggest you go on a date with yourself.
Julia Cameron, who is a noted Hollywood screenwriter and director, wrote The Artists Way. It is a gem of a book. I’ve pulled it back off my shelves because I desperately need to do something different if I ever want to get back on track to being creative.
Before I begin with the meat of this article, I’d like you to get to know me a tiny bit so you can see that the writers here at Muse Tracks are the same as all of you struggling to find the road (and stay on it) to being an author.
Well, here goes…
I am a dabbler. I have a closet full of pencil sketches from copies of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings to pen and ink creations of my own imagination. I have watercolor paintings stacked at my mother’s house I dabble in textile arts and have woven, crosstitched, needlepointed, and even threaded fabrics through my paintings. I love to paint walls and decorate- my house is an ever changing canvas. Photographs clog the memory banks of my computer. Cooking is a total creative outlet for me and travel feeds my soul. Through all of this dabbling, I have learned quite a bit about the arts and am a lover of museums and artists from all walks.
While I’m a dabbler at all those things and have had varying successes at them, I consider them fun endeavors. It really doesn’t matter if I’m any good at them or not. I simply create.
Did you notice something missing?
I never once mentioned writing. I realized this while I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. We were talking about things we enjoyed and writing wasn’t on the list. He questioned me about its absence. I couldn’t answer him during that conversation, but it’s been waddling around in my head like a drunk duck ever since.
The Artists Way is a wonderful book that first and foremost gives us permission to be creative. It empowers us to delve into the fanciful, explore the beauty and remember that we are not whole if we deny this side of our being. (OK- I now officially feel like Earth Mother holding up a peace sign.) However artsy and spiritual this book may sound, the message is one that I believe everyone should hear. Is it fear, guilt, jealousy, or some other force that limits your beliefs in yourself? What causes you to self-sabotage? (My specialty) We have our own unique answers built on our own unique lives. Julia Cameron provides exercises that offer ways to inhibit the roadblocks we throw up for ourselves.
One of my favorites is dating myself. Basically, the advice is to spend time with ourselves nurturing and refilling the well of creativity. Tomorrow I will attempt to have a date with myself all day. There will be no TV, no computer, no radio, no electronics of any type, no books- just me. The day will be spent in my garden, sitting on my back porch with a pad and paper, and visiting with my friends. I might go to an artist’s shop to wander the aisles or I might drive up to my brother’s lake house and sit on the dock. I will not think about the rest of my life. I want to remember the joy I had when writing was also simply about creating. Somehow it became about editing, publishing, marketing etc. Those issues are important, but are meaningless if it dive bombs the writing. Writing was fun, wasn’t it? It was a wonderful place to get lost in another world with characters who told us a fabulous tale. I want to get back to that.