I’m currently working through a 12 week program to help me tap back into my creativity and inspiration via the book: The Artist’s Way at Work: 12 Weeks to Creative Freedom by Julia Cameron, Mark Bryan, and Catherine Allen.
This is the business version of the very famous original book, The Artist’s Way also by Julia Cameron.
I started this project after feeling like I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to working on my own, non-client-related work.
You can read more about this in my intro post right here.
I’m going week by week and reporting on the tools that were most effective for me from the book. There are always way more exercises and information in the book, so please get a copy and follow along!
Week 7: Learning (and Teaching)
A big theme for this week was lifelong learning and especially about breaking out of ageist ideas about what you are too old to do and learn. The authors don’t use this terminology, but it made me think about the fixed vs. growth mindset in Carol Dweck’s wonderful book Mindset.
Tool: Being a Beginner
- Get out your paper
- Make a list of 10 skills, hobbies, or interests you’d pursue if you weren’t “too old”
- Pick one and do an Artist’s Date around that
Making lists like this is basically already my main hobby, so of course that part was a great experience for me. I admit… I have not actually done the second part and picked one of the hobbies to actually pursue.
Well, I sort of have? I have been bookmarking and saving reference materials related to my creative goals and finally marked out an hour next weekend to play around with one of them, which is making natural dyes. We’ll see how it goes!
Tool: The Jealousy Map
- Get a sheet of paper
- List 1 through 20 all the way down the sheet
- Make a list of everyone you are even remotely jealous of
- Next to their name, write why
- Then take an action that moves you towards the thing you want/are jealous of with someone else
- For example, I am super jealous of another VA online because she consistently shares great helpful VA content. So, obviously, a step I can take is to plan out a week of the most helpful things I can think of to share online
Again, this is the kind of tool I love. I don’t know if I’m weird but it is sort of fun to think about who and what I’m jealous of. I’m not super conscious about that and definitely less conscious around why. It feels sort of empowering to take an emotion that is usually associated with negativity, use it as a tool to gather information on my own secret goals and desires, and then to come up with baby steps towards achieving them.
If you feel jealous or like you’re not enough compared to someone else, I think this is a great exercise to do to move out of that and into something more positive.
Tool: Feel, Think, Wish
Sometimes we get stuck in our heads when trying to solve a problem. This exercise will help you think logically about it, but also use your emotions and body awareness as well as imagination and your creativity to come up with a plan to go forward.
- Grab your journal and pen
- Bring to mind a situation you are currently experiencing or problem you are mulling over
- Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I think I should do?
- What do I feel I should do?
- What do I wish I would do?
- What would I do if it weren’t impossible?
- Create an action plan and try to incorporate solutions from each question into your plan.
I was surprised by how much clarity I got just by asking myself “what do I feel I should do?” when I was considering my situation. I got a very definite answer that was not obvious. The other questions were helpful too and I think you need all the pieces to create a cohesive plan. Plus, who doesn’t love an action plan?
As usual, even though I am doing all of the weekly exercises, I only include a few of the most relevant each time. If you want the full experience, please go get the book. 🙂
Some of these weekly experiments I think would work better for someone in a more traditional office.
That being said, this 12-week framework is SO HELPFUL and I am noticing some spillover effects. I’m taking some more risks and trying new things.
It is not going 100% according to schedule. I had a few swamped weeks where it was all I could do to get my Morning Pages and some hint of an Artist Date in, maybe squeezing in an exercise from the book a couple mornings a week.
I again am not 100% of the time doing 3 full 8.5 x 11” pages as quickly as possible. Sometimes, it feels like there’s only enough time for a page and a half or two pages and I think that is okay with me as I’m still getting a lot out of them and love doing them.
It has been cold and dark in the morning. I am more consistent with these walks if I put them on my schedule in the afternoon. So that is what I decided to do and I’m excited to take a mid-afternoon fall walk with my pups. 🙂
Yesterday, I hosted my virtual book club. We read My Antonia by Willa Cather and reading that book was a sort of solo adventure all its own. And hosting the event and having a really meaningful conversation with the other members of the group was inspiring and filled my inspiration well. 🙂
Is there anything you’re not pursuing because you’re afraid you’re too old or it is too late to do so? And what might you try if that wasn’t true?
Think about the people you’re jealous of right now. Let us know in the comments, how could you use your jealousy to help you improve and take action?