Tag Archive | The Artist’s Way

The Artist’s Way Reflections – The Basic Tools: The Artist Date

Artist DateIn 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.

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Creativity Goals Check-In August 9, 2020

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Goals from Last Week – How Did I Do?

Writing

  • journal about Moonchild (memoir) project at least once – DONE.
  • collect all relevant old notebooks from storage and bring them up into my apartment – nope, didn’t do it, still want to.
  • start constructing Nick timeline (the timeline for a relationship that figures prominently in my memoir project, explained in the reflections section of last week’s check-in) – find all existing references in Moonchild – I did technically start this but barely worked on it, and think I need a more concrete goal for this going forward.
  • work on blog at least 5 days – DONE.
  • journal about blog at least once – DONE.

Music

  • seven guitar practice sessions – yeah no, I did four – I’ve been practicing every day, with very few exceptions, since early mid-April, so this drop-off is out of character for recent months
  • get up through song 83 of book one of my Hal Leonard Guitar Method Complete Edition book – DONE – even though I didn’t do the amount of practice sessions I thought I would, I still did go forward since the previous lesson was the Em chord, which I was very familiar with already.
  • seven keyboard practice sessions – yeah even more of a no here, I only did three (and two of those were today) – like with guitar I’ve been doing keyboard pretty much every day for months, so this does have a falling off the wagon type feeling.
  • get up through page 52 in my Keyboard Musician for the Adult Beginner book – also no, I’m up to page 50 and have some catching up to do.

Lifestyle

  • sleep without the phone (a struggle you can read about here) – this will put me at 140 nights, aka 20 weeks, in a row – DONE – 20 weeks, baby!
  • read through page 226 in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – DONE – this book is sooooo good; not easy but good.
  • write Morning Pages every day – I wrote them 6 of the 7 days – I couldn’t exactly write a big post about them, and then not write them.

Reflections on the Week

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – The Basic Tools: Morning Pages

MPsIn The Artist’s Way, aka AW, a book I’m blogging about weekly, one of the first thing that the author, Julia Cameron, introduces is the practice of Morning Pages. As far as I know, this is also true for subsequent spin-offs and sequels. Morning Pages are the cornerstone of all her work on discovering, recovering, and reconnecting with creativity.

So, that raises (not begs) the question of what are they and why are they so important. Morning Pages are simple at face value. When you wake up, you’re supposed to write three pages of long-hand writing, about anything you damn well please. The keys are that they’re supposed to be in the morning, they’re supposed to be long-hand and they’re supposed to be private–even you yourself aren’t supposed to look at them for awhile.

The morning part of it is to clear your head, dump out all your little thoughts and worries and random tidbits floating in your head that otherwise could nag at you for the rest of the day. And morning because maybe when we’re still groggy, there’s less self-censorship. That’s part of the privacy aspect, that they’re never to be shown to anyone because once they are, the other person’s judgements come in, and so do your own.

To that point, though this is probably a story for another day, I did once have a boyfriend who told me, drunk off his ass when we were in a fight, that he’d read mine and then made fun of me for things I’d written. Fun freakin’ times.

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I Can’t Sleep With or Without You (My iPhone)

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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.

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – My Origin Story

AW1This past March, I picked up The Artist’s Way again after many years away from this famous creativity book. It’s been an interesting ride since then–expansive, challenging, difficult, combative at times (I definitely don’t resonate with everything in there), illuminating. So, it’s one of the things I wanted to post about when jumping back into blogging and thinking a lot about creativity.

I went back to The Artist’s Way, or AW as it’s known in my journals and to-do lists and calendars, after some tough decisions that set off a real transition time for me that I reeeeeally want to write about but can’t right now. It had been awhile since I’d cracked the book, and it makes sense to talk about my origin story with this book.

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Creativity Goals Check-In July 26, 2020

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This is a column I’m going to start doing weekly on Sunday nights (or thereabouts depending on circumstances). I’m going to check in on how I did that past week, and post what my creativity goals are for the coming week.

I wrote about this a bit in my recent re-entry post “Jumping Back into the Blogging Ring” – I’m really motivated by goals and plans, and I’ve found myself relying on that more and more in our corona times. I spend a lot of time thinking about goals and planning, and figured I’d share.

With today being the first one, I thought it made sense to start out by talking about what I’m working on. I really struggled to come up with a cohesive goal list or plan for the year even before everything went upside-down and I still feel like week to week and sometimes day by day is how I’m taking things. I’ll try to write something for August that’s a more overarching plan for the month, so hopefully I’ll come up with that in the next couple of days.

But for now here are the main things I’m working on:

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Jumping Back into the Blogging Ring

IMG_0349When I started posting again in April, as April, I thought I’d come back quickly to regular blogging. Yeeeeeah, about that. Clearly that wasn’t the case.

I’m going through some major life upheavals, and though I won’t go into it now, I plan on posting about it on here at a later time. Right now, a lot of it is still under wraps, kept off of here and off of my social media, but as things move forward that will start to shift.

There’s just a lot to work out and through and I’m really in the shit right now.

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