As I mentioned in my post from earlier this week, The Artist’s Way is a book I’ve had to go back to every now and then again when I let the life stifle me, and the creativity I want to share. This is my third read and since I’ve missed blogging I thought doing a week by week journey of the book would be a good way to combine both of them. I don’t agree with all of what the author says, and some of it I downright disagree with, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find bits and pieces of it helpful. (Feel free to grab a copy of the book from Amazon, your library, or wherever you buy books and join in, if you’d like to follow along.)
Before we dive in to Week 1 (that’s coming on Wednesday), I thought I’d talk about some of the basic tools discussed in the section before chapter 1) and that I’ve used from this book more than anything else, in order to keep the creativity (and words) flowing. It isn’t easy and like most habits, if you stop doing them for a long period of time it can be really hard to pick them back up. (I know this because there are times I’ve stopped doing them–and lived to regret it! :D)
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
In the basic tools section of The Artist’s Way the author discusses two of the most important activities in the book, in my opinion.
The first is what she calls morning pages. These are amazing. I won’t go into a lot about them since she explains them really well if you’ve read the book. But I will say that writing everyday and just getting out of my head and on to paper whatever is there at the time, has had a great deal of impact on my creativity. The whole idea is just to write with no plan. No structure. Just write. My head is often filled with a lot of “stuff” and writing every day gets that out.
I am not always able to do my pages in the morning, first thing, which is what The Artist’s Way recommends, so I call them my daily pages. But I write in my journal, almost every day. And it helps sift through the bullshit and focus on what I need to get done. I can tell it’s increased my productivity levels at the day job, at home, and in my writing.
It’s made me get serious about what I really want and going after it.
Are my pages beautifully written treatises on important topics? Hell, no. They are filled with junk I’m tossing out of the cluttered mental barn that exists inside my head. (Read, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight to find out what the mental barn is. I highly recommend that book!)
Sometimes what I write is a list, or things I want to do, or people I need to contact or emails I have to write. Sometimes it’s me kicking my own ass for not buckling down, or for letting fear stop me from doing something. Sometimes it’s an idea for a story or something else I’ve been thinking on in a story or regarding a character. One time I outlined an entire book in my daily pages!
It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s about starting fresh and getting all the stuff out that is holding me back on that particular day.
The second basic tool are Artist Dates. These are another animal all together. I’ve been semi-successful with this. It’s hard because the concept is to do something with only yourself and for your creative self. I’ve tweaked this tool to work for me and my needs. And I think that’s an important point. If something isn’t working for you, modify it. Find what works for you. Because what works for me, or a friend, or whoever, isn’t always going to be what works for you.
I have made a list of things I want to do more of, and places locally I want to go to and see. But I also have taken time to do simple things like, watching the Marvel movies I’ve missed; or catching up on a Netflix show I’ve wanted to binge. I’ve gotten back into reading more, and taking walks when I can at lunch. I don’t always do these things alone but for me that’s okay. I’m doing something for me, whether alone or not, that can help my creative self grow.
It’s funny how the author talks about how one side of us, the killjoy is what she calls it, will try to get us to wriggle out of our weekly “date” and boy is that the truth. I’ve often scheduled something as simple as a walk, by myself, around my apartment complex and I can hear my inner critic/killjoy try to talk me out of it. And more often than not, the big jerk wins. But I am getting better at telling him to F-off. 😀
One of the other positives I’ve found in doing these “dates”, even if only a couple hours a week, is that afterwards I am often more relaxed and I feel more creative. I come back refreshed and reinvigorated.
So for me, these two tools work. I know this. But I’ll be honest, making the artist dates a habit, is hard. I’ll definitely be working on these more as the weeks progress!
What did you think of the Basic Tools the author discusses in the book? Have you used these concepts before or is this your first time with them? Let me know in the comments and if you are blogging along or sharing on social media, add that in so I can visit, if you’d like.
Happy reading, and see you next week as I talk about Week 1, of The Artist’s Way.