Category Archives : Writing Inspirations

The Artist’s Way Toolkit: Create Despite Your Fears 2

I don’t know how many times I’ve almost purchased The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, so when I heard about the online, interactive Artist’s Way Toolkit, I was thrilled.

The original Artist’s Way is a bestselling book on creativity which is described by the publisher as “…a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the ‘I’m not talented enough’ conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist.”

As someone who has had issues with perfectionism in my own writing and creativity, this idea really speaks to me. Over the years I’ve been working very hard to let go of my fears of being “perfect,” thus giving me the ability to feel more self-confident and productive, especially in my writing.

I was hoping the online toolkit would provide an easier outlet for me to use the ideas and tips from the book, because as a mother of a two-year-old with one on the way, I find it pretty difficult to finish a book from cover to cover! While the toolkit is meant to work in conjunction with the book, I did find that I still got a lot out of just using the toolkit on it’s own.

By forcing you to write everyday, The Artist’s Way exercises help to  demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. As Cameron says, “The more you do it, the more inspiration or “reinforcement” you find from the universe.” I’ve found if you’re constantly looking for it (inspiration), then you will constantly find it.

I found it hard to write the “morning pages” every day, especially because I’m more in the mood to write in the evenings, though I did find it was a good way to focus myself and give structure to my day.  I also found it hard to complete the “artist dates” (a once a week, solo expedition to  get the chance for your imagination to kick in) because I’m home with a toddler, though it was a great excuse to get out on my own and do some thinking. I really love the way Cameron describes the two, saying, “With the Morning Pages we are sending. We are notifying the Universe of our likes and dislikes. We are, if you will, telegraphing. With the Artist’s Date, we set our dial to receive. We allow ourselves to be receptive to inflow, no longer concerned with outflow.” I think the idea of sending and receiving really opens up our  creative process more than if we are just focused on one or the other.

One of my favorite quotes came from an interview with Cameron in which she describes the process in saying,

“You will learn not to be fearless, but you will learn to create despite your fears.”

I hope that as I continue the journey of my own creative process that I can learn to follow this mantra and never let perfectionism hold me back again.

You can follow the online discussion on BlogHer to read more about others’ experience with The Artist’s Way Toolkit!

*I received access to The Artist’s Way Toolkit for review and discussion purposes and was compensated for the time involved in crafting the review, but all opinions and views expressed here are impartial and not influenced by the sponsor.*

“Beautiful in my surrender…” 3

So, let me tell you a secret. 
I’ve been praying for inspiration. 
School is out. 
Summer is here.
I’m feeling void of…
What used to come natural to me is now feeling forced.
What to write about? 
Well, prayers have been answered. 
Ten fold. 
(stay tuned for more later this week)
My first inspiration came from Writing My Way Sober
Enjoy her words of wisdom.
The above image is from Writing My Way Sober, who described these sticks found on an Oregon coast as, “drift wood, perfectly smoothed and sanded by the elements. Beaten by life – the waves, wind, rocks, sun.  I love them.”
She goes on to say, “What I am realizing is that my struggles during the past few weeks are all gifts: events trying to smooth, polish and humble me. Purify me.

‘When we are born our hearts are all shiny and new.  As human beings we come into the world with pure hearts.  We are created in the image of God.  The unabashed wonder and innocence of a child reflects our divine inner nature.  Yet, over time the process of life changes the pristine nature of our hearts.  Our innocence evaporates.  We learn negativity.  We say and do things that move us away from our creator’s image.  Slowly over time our hearts become filled with things other than God. 

We call this process veiling the heart.  It is how we begin to feel lost or disconnected.  The pain and suffering that troubles our hearts is a direct result of veiling. It has been written that 70,000 veils of both light and dark separate us from the divine light.’
–Kirk Habib Laman
So…when I stumble, I need to remember that each “bad” event can be an opportunity to lift another veil. To smooth another edge. 

So I suppose I’ll let the water tumble me, the rocks sand me, the sun bleach me. I’ll become a perfect stick.

And I will be beautiful in my surrender.”
That last line is haunting. 
And I love it. 
It reminds me of the mud balls
  “We polish on own lives, creating landscapes and canyons and peaks with the very silt we try to avoid, the dirt we disavow or hide or deny. It is the dirt of our lives–the depressions, the losses, the inequities, the failing grades in trigonometry, the e-mails sent in fear or hate or haste, the ways in which we encounter people different from us–that shape us, polish us to a heady sheen, make us in fact more beautiful, more elemental, more artful, more lasting.” –Patti Digh

and the process of learning that the dirt of our lives can be smoothed, polished and shined into something beautiful. 

Thank you, thank you, for your inspiration. 

Wild Geese

 image from here
In all my talks of “good enough” and self-compassion, I stumbled upon this poem on another blog I read.
I read it first in my journal therapy training and I think the universe knew it was time for a re-read. Here goes: You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across thelandscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and therivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese,
harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver
from Dream Work
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

over and over

announcing your place

in the family of things

Thank you…
Mary Oliver
fellow bloggers
you make my day.