Guest Author - Cathy Brownfield
Do you feel stifled? As if your creativity can’t work because the fences around you don’t allow you room to use your creative muscles? Have you been badgered and criticized for that “foolishness”? Do you realize you are never too old to go after your creative dreams?
Some months ago someone told my daughter, Lilo, about The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It wasn’t the first time I had heard of the book, but it was the first time in a long time that I felt no guilt for spending money on a book NOT related to school or my job.
On Sunday, someone at one of my writing lists mentioned it. I thought, “Wait! I have that one! Somewhere. I saw it…there!” You must understand that I am a writer. I have piles of files, stacks and bags and boxes of books—probably a hundred or so that I haven’t read yet.
Why didn’t someone mention this book in May? It’s a 12-week course. I begin 18 credit hours of classes next Monday! And this is Week 1 for The Artist’s Way course. Well, what’s another independent study, a few more hours a week if it helps me release my creativity?
Week 1 establishes the “morning pages”, the “artist’s date,” and writing “blurts” and “affirmations.” Already I am feeling the winds of change in my writing life, and I just began yesterday! I can hardly wait to see what happens when I wrap up Week 12!
Well, I began with the book yesterday, but I realized something. I’ve already been doing these things only I called it journaling. My daughter recently took on added responsibilities of a foster child. The stress is unreal. She asked, “Mom, where can I go in the Bible to get help with my stress?” I recommended the book of Psalms. And then I took my own advice. Each day I copy one Psalm (I’m taking them in order.) into my journal. Then I write the feelings and thoughts that come up as I’m reading that one Psalm. I’m looking for perspective. I’m looking for me and what I think and believe, not what someone else told me was truth, but what I think and believe. Me. Included are my complaints and others’ criticisms that affect me (blurts) and turning those things into positives (affirmations.)
My complaint list. All the negative things others say to me or I say to myself. For example, someone said to me, “You’ve been writing that novel for 20 years. Is it going to take another 20 to finish it?”
To which I responded, “I’ve spent 20 years writing novels (more than seven) while working full time, raising four daughters and surviving a whole lot of obstacles/challenges along the way. You were saying?”
Today I’ve written my morning pages, blurts and affirmations, turning all blurts I noted into affirmations (changing negatives to positives), written my writing blog entry at http://catsnovelchallenge.blogspot.com, have fielded a few phone calls and text messages, will shortly finish this article and send out the Senior Living newsletter. This is a considerable amount of writing already today!
But The Artist’s Way isn’t “just” for artists. It’s an eye-opening, creative-mind expanding, resource for anyone who wants to open up the gates of their creative selves which are so important to emotional well-being. It’s for anyone.
What is going on with your creative side today?