06 November 2008

The Artist's Way Class

As some of you may remember me mentioning several weeks ago, I'm taking a class in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It's a really great class. We just did Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 together. I missed a few sessions while Tammy was visiting, but I went back to class tonight and was back in the swing of things. I'm really enjoying the class. Since it started in September, I've only missed doing my "morning pages" twice. Some people haven't missed any, but some people have missed much more than that! I'm pretty impressed with myself. My MPs aren't always done in the morning, but they are almost always done. 

I'm not sure how much "unblocking" or "recovering" I'm doing, but I think I'm coming to understand myself better. I think I'm also treating myself a little better, too. I've done TAW on my own a couple of times before, but I've never gotten any further than Chapter 8, so we're about to get into all new territory. I'm really excited to see how well I've stuck with the program. I'm not usually one to follow through well with things like this. I hope I continue to stick with it. I think I will. In fact, in my pages today, I kind of "re-dedicated" myself to the process. I'd gotten lazy about doing some of the exercises and tasks -- doing only what was quick and easy for me to do. From now on, I'm going to do tasks that challenge me, and do more of them. Typically, I only do about half of the tasks at the end of the chapter -- the minimum that's expected of me -- although most people seem to do many more than that. 

I think, for the five weeks of class that I have left, I'm going to talk more about the class and book than I have in the past. I'm really excited about the program and would encourage anyone to either take a class in TAW or work through the book individually (there's no reason for a person not to do it on his/her own, other than the accountability that a group could provide). 

I just finished reading Chapter 8 in bed and realized that I needed to blog before I went to sleep! Chapter 8 has a lot to do with time and how we use it to justify staying blocked. The things from the chapter that really struck me was how people use their age to keep them from trying new things -- as in, "Do you know old I'll be by the time I learn how to do that?" -- and how we can approach things by "filling in the form". By that, Cameron means doing the next small thing that presents itself rather than obsessing over the big picture so much. Sometimes the big picture gets overwhelming and you don't know what to do next, or you get caught up in the moment of it and don't do anything next. But if you do just the next small thing, you've done something to carry yourself toward your creative goal. Or, you've just done something creative -- toward a goal or not! Sometimes, taking one small creative action is all you need to bring about the idea for the next creative action. I confess: I'm guilty about sometimes getting caught up in the big actions and not thinking of the little baby steps I could be taking to exercise my creativity daily. 

The agism thing is something that's been bothering me lately. Not that I've said those words to myself ("Do you know how old I'll be by the time I learn how to do X?"), but rather, I look at some of my favorite artists who are several years younger than me -- Kelly Rae Roberts, for example -- and I mourn the time that I have lost by not returning to art sooner or not taking my art more serious these past few years. I look at my age and think "I'm so much older than she is; I'll never be able to accomplish what she's accomplished." That's the form that agism is taking in my artistic life. And it is ocassionally a creative block. Sometimes, that way of thinking keeps me out of the process; it keeps me from opening up to the flow completely.

So, that's what I've been thinking about tonight. I thought I'd blog about it to see if any of you think or feel the same things. Let me know if you can relate to any of this!

I know I'm posting after midnight, so it technically doesn't count as the November 5th NaBloPoMo post, but I've not yet slept, so it's still MY November 5th! LOL! I've already messed up on the chance of winning any prizes (if they are even doing prizes this year), so I'm only worried about the spirit of the game. I do realize that I'm still one post behind, too! At some point, I'll catch up! I promise!

1 comment:

Jill said...

My mom read "The Artist's Way" a long, long time ago. I think Deb McW. (from altered_start) read it too and liked it. I'm really bad about putting all this other stuff first over creative time just to "avoid" having to sit down and think it thru..but I've noticed I'm spending more time back reading my art blogs and thinking more about art so maybe there's hope for me. I'm interviewing for another job on Monday...wish me luck...more $$ and less commute.