Dating Myself- Finding The Joy In Writing Again

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.

23 Responses to Dating Myself- Finding The Joy In Writing Again

  1. What a wonderful inspiring post, Stacey! I know I’ve been on this frustrating and confusing trip a few times, but thankfully I’ve found my way back. Happier and more determined if that makes any sense. LOL For me the key was remembering why I write, because I love it, and letting all that other stuff become less important. 🙂 Where there is a will, there is a way. Enjoy your “me” time!! Hugs, girl!

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  2. I’m sure we are not the only ones who have found ourselves in this spot. I know there are probably many many writers not finding the joy anymore and I hoped to inspire them here today. Thanks for sharing with us- you have gotten back on track quite nicely with 2 books, a short story and a novella out. You rock!

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  3. Can’t remember what this is from, and is probably phrased wrong, but this made me think of “I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions.” Looks to me like you’ve got it nailed…:)

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  4. Thanks Will! Even if you paraphrased the quote- it still sounds beautiful. I’m working to understand the questions and seeking to find the answers.

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  5. jbrayweber says:

    I refuse to clutter my mind with mechanics. I learned the craft on my own terms. I may not be a prolific, chart buster, but I still enjoy the writing process. Added bonus – once I’m done with a project, I also enjoy the editing. But there has to be a place to stop and recognize you are ready, (yes – at that moment, because there is always room for improvement) to move forward.

    I’m thrilled that you are taking some time for YOURSELF! Have fun revisiting and returning to your creative side.

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  6. Hi Jenn- I too love the editing part of writing….the only problem is you have to have pages before you can edit! Bwahahaha
    I’ve always loved how you take the reins and the world be damned! You have done it your own way and there’s much to be admired about that. I know I’ll get there eventually, it’s just that sometimes the detours get frustrating. I do hope, however, that this article and the comments help other writers out there who feel the same way.

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  7. Marie says:

    Stacey, I love this post. You, indeed are a talented person
    I have read the Artist’s Way and also wondered why I could not incorporate my love of playing the piano, fiber arts etc. with a love of writing. What I discovered from Julia Cameron is that all my interest s feed each other. Once I sit down to write I quickly can summon my passions. Now the task is to reel them in so my words can make it to the page.
    I wish you all the best Stacey. I know that your love of writing will yield a wonderful story for us to read.

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  8. Thanks for your kind words, Marie. It’s been a while since I looked into The Artists Way so I’ll have to re-connect over the summer. Of course, I was going to start tomorrow, but I forgot my daughter arrives home from college tonight…makes it a bit more challenging! 🙂
    I love your point about how all my interests feed each other- maybe its time to embrace all the different ways of being creative rather than feeling guilty because I’m not doing what I’m “supposed to” (writing)!!

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  9. jeff7salter says:

    I’m a dabbler also.
    I heartily endorse your mention of Julia Cameron’s book — it’s outstanding. It gives us ‘Permission’ to acknowledge our creative talents & abilities. I started a daily journal 5.5 yrs. ago solely because of that book.
    It was a wonderful, refreshing validation of things which had been stirring around in my noggin for decades.

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  10. Hola Jeff! I hope I didn’t sound like a Debbie Downer today, but it’s exactly the way it feels to me right now. It’s a chore not a joy. I’m positive I’m not the first, nor the last to feel this way- I’m sure it strikes anyone who turns a passion into a business venture. I just need to remember how to balance the two before I throw the baby out with the bath water!!

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  11. Suzan Harden says:

    You don’t sound like a Debbie Downer, Stacey. As Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Acknowledgment of your emotion does not equate to giving up or givng in. It sounds like your plan for today is exactly what you need.

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  12. Thanks Suzan- I’ll let you know how it goes! Nice reminder- sometimes it just is what it is- life goes on. I like that!

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  13. Tess says:

    Stacy, I agree with you so much. The best thing I ever did was write without knowing anything. I wrote four books before I ever took a class or exchanged my work with a cp and it gave me the freedom to just write. So when I’m getting bogged down, I try to let myself have that freedom again…to forget the rules and just write!

    I did THE ARTIST’S WAY, and I do suggest all writers read this book. But when I started to journal as part of the steps for TAW, my dreams became extremely vivid and horrible. Suddenly my black and white dreams were in color. And I would wake up exhausted! I had friends who were doing TAW with me have the same thing happen, but their dreams helped their writing…mine did not (or maybe I was supposed to be writing thrillers and didn’t know it! LOL.)

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  14. I think it’s cool that you dream in black and white…way more artistic than color! Ha!
    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head- we need to forget all about the business of writing and all the “rules” and give ourselves the freedom to simply tell a story however we want to do it! Best advice ever! Thanks Tess.

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  15. I agree with Suzan. I read The Artist’s Way last year for the first time. I noticed a difference in how I approached writing and just time for myself in general. I hope you find a balance and get the joy of writing back!

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  16. Hi Melanie- I’m sure I will find that spot of joy lurking somewhere behind a curtain, but until then I’m going to stop feeling guilty about what I am or am not doing. If it’s gardening, painting, cooking etc. it really doesn’t matter as long as I put time in exploring my creative self which gets pushed to the back far too often. (I bet every writer here can relate to THAT statement!)

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  17. On Monday night I will be taking myself to see Leonard Cohen receive the Glenn Gould Award at Massey Hall. Mr Cohen will not be performing, he will be receiving. But there will be wonderful performances including The Cowboy Junkies and John Prine. I’ve never seen either and always wanted to. Instead of 2 cheap tickets we (Felix and I) decided to buy one mucho expensivo ticket – for me.

    I’ve never been that bad at treating myself but I’m getting better at it (the more moolah I make.)

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  18. Good for you! We should all take time out to treat ourselves. Hope you enjoyed your evening!!

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  19. Stacey, your post really resonates with me. After major surgery last year, then four bouts of pneumonia following it, I’ve not been able to write much at all.

    Like you, I’m a creative in other ways, mine being cardmaking. I’ve made a ton of cards, taken classes, and learned a bucketload of new techniques in the process, but my writing mojo has left the building!

    Also like you, I think the business side of writing is to blame in many ways.

    There used to be pure joy in writing, but now it feels like a business decision more than anything.

    I know I need to let go of the guilt (of not writing), but it seems to have fused itself to me and won’t let go.

    Sounds like I really need to get a copy of The Artist’s Way.

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  20. Well, I can really relate to your response- I think we’re two peas in a pod when it comes to this dilemma. Get a copy of The Artists Way and hopefully it will unlock the blank wall!! Good luck. Keep me posted on your progress.

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  21. Carolyn says:

    Loved this post and am pleased to have found your blog (and tweets!).

    Cameron’s book helped me sooooo much some years ago — I mentioned it in a blog post ‘Control is an illusion, but we still have choices’ – link below.

    Cheers from Sydney (and soon back in Suffolk!).

    Post link http://mysydneyparislife.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/control-is-an-illusion-part-1-but-we-still-have-choices/

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  22. Hi Carolyn- Thanks for stopping by Muse Tracks! I’ll have to pop over and read your article- am still struggling with the writing right now, but am giving myself the permission to not feel so darn guilty.
    Are you moving back to Suffolk?

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