And now that the Basic Tools have been covered, next week I’ll move on to the main text of the book.
I’m hoping that some of you will join me on this Artist’s Way journey. Later in the post, I’m going to give a sketch of my plans for doing the book and this column, and different ways to join in. To find that, you can skip ahead to the section titled The Plan.
First though, I wanted to give a little history on my latest re-launch of the journey.
In The Artist’s Way, the seminal book on creativity, author Julia Cameron introduces two Basic Tools, after the introduction and before the week-by-week chapters. These two Basic Tools, she says, are the cornerstone to connecting with creativity.
The first is Morning Pages, discussed in last week’s Artist’s Way Reflections column, the practice of writing three handwritten pages of whatever comes to mind every morning. I’ve wrestled with these pages, but ultimately find them to be helpful, a way to connect to what I’m actually feeling, which isn’t always easy but is in its own way grounding. They’re also a good source of fresh ideas, a way to puzzle through problems and often a place to dump the mental waste before starting the day.
The second Basic Tool is the Artist Date. You’re supposed to go on a “date” with your artist self once a week. Do something fun for an hour and no one else is allowed to come along. Quality time with your creative side.
And I’m going to be real. I get the theory behind it, it all sounds great when Julia Cameron extols the values of an Artist Date. But in actuality, I hate it.
Almost two months ago, I finished revising a feature-length screenplay. It’s something that’s been on my back burner for a long time (six years) and I finally had the time to look at it again. One of the most interesting and challenging things about revising it was updating it to current day.
For a little background, I’ve been working on a lot of writing projects since early on in quarantine.
Even then, I often still feel like I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be–I don’t work on my writing every day, some weeks have more off than on days, and some have no on days at all–but even so, it’s the most consistent, longest stretch I’ve had of working on my writing in…at least a decade? Maybe more.
The closest pic I could find to my own beloved phone and case
Sung to the tune of the U2 song “With or Without You.”
In some of my recent goals posts, I’ve mentioned a goal to sleep without my phone. This has been an ongoing struggle for me ever since I got an iPhone (and I was just telling a friend that I got one the day they became available to Verizon people), and in different iterations even before then. I thought it would make sense to give some background on this habit that I’ve struggled to break.
Because the thing is, I know all the things. I know that you’re supposed to get off electronics before going to bed. I know taking the phone into the bed with me, scrolling endlessly, listening to podcasts, having the blue light in my face (and I hold the phone much closer to my face than the average person, thanks legal blindness) is all bad. I know when I fall asleep with the phone, my sleep is worse. I don’t sleep as deeply. I wake up more often to pee or just to wake up, most likely because I’m still in the lighter stages of sleep. I probably miss out on a lot of deep sleep and all the goodies that it provides. I even read somewhere, years ago, that screens in bed has been linked to weight gain.
I often get annoyed by the hyperbolic declarations on the show like “most dramatic season ever” but this news lives up to the hype. It was a jaw-dropping revelation.
Some may consider this a spoiler, so if you don’t want to know anything about the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, you’ll want to skip this post. Though, I think this news is big enough it’s going to be hard to avoid. It’s truly unprecedented.
In fact, I was trying to avoid it at first. I saw that Reality Steve had leaked some major spoiler, but thought it was just the usual seasonal spoiler and I like to watch unspoiled (sometimes) so I skipped those tweets. Even with his recent podcast, I skipped ahead through the part that was discussing the spoiler, again figuring it was just the usual spoilers about the season.
Then I saw an episode of the Bachelor Party podcast appear in my feed and thought that’s odd for so early on a Monday and BAM, there was the news, which is…
read and take notes on the final chapter of my old version of Moonchild – DONE – this was a pretty easy, one-time thing that I did Monday morning.
journal every morning, contemplate what I want to do with Moonchild and where I want to go writing-wise, from here – Did 6 mornings (all except Monday, when I did the first goal) and it was more fruitful than I thought it might be. More below.
work on blog at least five days – this doesn’t mean I’m going to post five times, more just wanting to find chunks of time to work on this site – DONE
practice guitar every day – DONE
get up through song 78 of book one of my guitar book – DONE but struggled with the new material a lot (alternate strumming)
practice piano every day – sorta done? I skipped one day but made up for it the next
get up through page 47 in my piano book – DONE
sleep without my phone (this will put me at 133 nights in a row) – DONE but it was a struggle
write Morning Pages every day – yeah no. I only wrote them 4 days, and two of those were were “evening pages” where I wrote something at night to say I’d written something, so technically only 2 days of true Morning Pages