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 back.
Week 3: Soaring
A big part of the work this week is all about what they call “securing the inner fortress” and learning more about yourself and the pieces you’ve suppressed and taking a good look at it. To express yourself, you’ve got to know yourself.
What secrets are you hiding, even from yourself? This tool should help uncover things you’re repressing.
- Get your journal + pen
- Write three secrets – these can be behaviors, thoughts, etc. that you wish to protect from scrutiny
- Write three more
Nothing earth shattering. Of course I didn’t have too much trouble coming up with the first 3, though 6 was a little harder. I wonder if I might need to do this exercise a few more times…
Tool: Watching The Rapids
The authors suggest that at this point in the process you might be beginning to notice that there is a difference between what’s being said or the expectations and what’s actually happening. So, start to notice this, record your hunches or intuitions, and keep listening.
- You guessed it: Take out your journal + pen
- Write out “If it weren’t so crazy, I’d say___”
- Write and complete that sentence multiple times as fast as you can
This is another where I feel like I need to practice a few times. No big revelations yet with this. I did randomly write I wanted to go back to being vegan again, so there’s that. I wonder if the fact that I work from home and am social distancing from anyone who is not my family makes tools like this a little less effective? Or if I just need to keep at it, keep noticing and listening, as they suggest for now?
Either way, I don’t feel like I’m noticing any big discrepancies between what I’m seeing and what I think might be true at this time.
Tool: Wish List
This is all about receiving support. They bring up the yellow Jeep example. You have probably heard of something similar. Basically, the idea is that if you bought a yellow jeep you’d start seeing them everywhere afterwards. They aren’t appearing, they were always there, but you are noticing them. So as you begin to seek or be open to opportunities or support, you’ll start to see more and more appear. They were always there, but you just weren’t noticing them in the past.
- You just need to write out a wish list 🙂
- Write “I wish _” and fill it in a bunch of times
- You did it!
This was another fun one for me and I think it was a good idea-generating exercise and good for clarifying some short-term and longer term goals/dreams It is fun to make wishes, at least it is for me.
Tool: Leadership Quiz
This tool is all about reclaiming your potential to lead and uncovering your biases about what it means to be a leader.
As fast as you can, complete the following statements (there are more in the book):
- My father thought leaders were ____
- My mother thought leaders were ____
- In grammar school, I learned leadership was ____
- As a rule leaders are ____
- My fear about leadership is ____
- My hope about leadership is ____
I did learn some things about my unconscious or semi-conscious biases against leaders. I suppose I feel like leadership is good but Leaders are mini dictators. Anyway, there are some things to think about here for sure.
Tool: Explore a Sacred Space
This tool is designed to “awaken a sense of the numinous.”
- Carve out some time in your schedule – even 15 minutes
- Take yourself to a sacred space, whatever that means to you.
- Examples they include: a library, a cathedral, a synagog, a beach, etc.
My Artist’s Date this week was watching Rubens: Too Much for Modern Audiences? On YouTube and the host, Waldemar Januszczak, pointed out that actually viewing Rubens work through a camera gave us a better view of his work than you would get seeing it in person since his pieces are so massive and detailed.
Given that I’m currently working on this project in the time of Covid-19 and not making it into a museum, library, or cathedral anytime soon, this felt like a perfect replacement and I did feel a sense of amazement viewing his work up close like that.
Quarantine can feel a little like Groundhog’s Day, even for me and I’m used to working from home all the time. So, I do think that I could seriously use more experiences like this right now, maybe by getting out into nature or seeking out other sacred spaces.
Tool: Secretly I’d Like to…
Another tool to help access repressed parts of yourself, especially repressed desires.
- Take out your journal and pen
- Make a numbered list (to 20)
- Write out a list of things you’d secretly like to do
I wasn’t too shocked by anything that came out here. I think this is another tool I might need to practice a few times to really get at something hidden for me, but I can again see how this could be a useful tool for removing creative blocks.
Tool: Watch the Picture without Sound
The goal with this tool is to get you asking what you’d like to change in the world and what you can change.
- The authors say to buy a disposable camera, which I found very charming. (This book was written in the 90s) Are there still places you can drop off a disposable camera and have the film developed?
- But ya know, take out a camera, whatever you want to use
- Document your whole workday (and the people and places of your work world) quietly
I still need to do this one! I think I’m resisting because the people and places of my workday are me, my husband, and our two dogs, in my house, the end. But I still will do this one!
Tool: Filling The Form
- Grab your journal and pen
- Make a list 3 small changes you could make to each of the following areas:
- Mode of transportation
- Exercise habits
- There are more areas in the book – and I added my own too – like getting a Hello Tushy bidet for the bathroom
- Make this list your own!
Oh yeah, I had WAY too much fun with this one. I love this kind of thing. I made my lists and then I spent a bunch of time making more upgrades and small change lists for all areas of my life.
And then I started making some small changes! Called a mobile bike repair guy and got a tune up, found a way to better organize our kitchen, just little things like that so far and it rules.
Wow, there were a LOT of tools this week. Whew!
So, to wrap it up for week 3:
- How are the morning pages going? I still love them, I’m still struggling with them too. It can be hard to do all 3 pages and quickly. I’ve been managing to do all 3 pages some mornings, but I did do incomplete versions on a number of other mornings – I think I probably did them halfway 3 or 4 out of 7 days. I need to get faster so I get them done! Even on incomplete days, I always feel better and more motivated for having done them.
- What about time-outs/Artist Dates? Yep, I did manage a second one this week, as I mentioned above, but I squeezed it in at the last minute. I keep wanting to make these a little more special or something, but it has felt worthwhile to take time to consciously refill the well instead of just doing what I normally do, which is more like “consume lots of content while only half paying attention.”
- Do you remember this is supposed to be fun? Yes! Mostly, I’m having fun with this project and not treating it too seriously. I have to actively remind myself not to treat things like just another to-do or checklist item.