One of the ideas in this chapter is that whatever creative path we are on (writing, painting, drawing, sewing, etc) that the work is already out there and we just need to find it, tune in to the essence of it, be a conduit for the creativity. Quit fighting it, is how I see it. We often struggle because we are fighting against what is happening inside of us or perhaps we are just trying too hard to do something. Relaxing into the flow of the creativity is key.
Julia speaks about the difference between trying to ‘think something up’ vs ‘getting something down’. That is an interesting concept and one we need to really embrace as creative beings. The flow of being in the moment, or being in the zone, or lost in our work – those are all about ‘getting something down’. That is where we want to be. That is where we need to be. The over-thinking and over-analyzing of whatever we are working on (or thinking about working on) is just our own selves getting in our own way! I know I am guilty of this bad habit. Are you getting in your own way?
The section on perfection caused quite a bit of discussion. Many of us are afraid of not being perfect. Is this a cultural concept? Or a universal notion? Is it part of how we were raised? High expectations from parents and teachers and spouses, etc. And of course those high expectations from ourselves! We have to move past that. It is OK to make mistakes, in fact it helps us to grow and move ahead. It is OK to do less than stellar work. It is OK to create things that we aren’t happy with. It is OK to share our failures just as much as we share our successes. Every thing we create does not have to be perfect! We can just let it go and move forward. If we can’t do that, we can’t grow and we can’t truly embrace who we are as artistic beings. Are you holding on to your high standards and blocking your own way?
Taking Risks also moves us forward.
Q: What would I do if I didn’t have to do it perfectly?
A: A great deal more than I am.
Yes! We stop ourselves from taking risks because we are afraid of looking ridiculous, or being laughed at, or feeling out of our depth, etc etc. You know you have a long list of reasons WHY you don’t do certain things. This all ties back into the need for perfection. I challenge you to take a few more risks. Start small if you are scared, but START! We are all scared….but we can do it! Take that next step towards your dream. There was a quote in the book from the movie Raging Bull “So do it. If you win, you win, and if you lose, you win.” You can’t lose! Take that risk that you have been putting off. Do you want to write? Then write something. Do you want to paint? Get your paints and brushes out and put something on the canvas? Do you want to act? Try out for the next community theatre production. To steal Nike’s slogan – Just Do It! Put your dream into motion by taking action.
The last section of this chapter was about jealousy. Jealousy is one of those touchy subjects. We never want to admit we are jealous, but it happens. Julia says that ‘jealousy is a map’ and that ‘jealousy is a mask for fear’. Yikes! The things we are jealous of often tell us more about ourselves than we are prepared to know. But take a few moments and honestly think about what or who you are jealous of. Why is that so? What can you do to make changes in your own life to address those feelings? Jealousy can and should point the way for us to take action. Take that risk that we need to take in order to move forward.
So are we moving forward? Are we learning lessons and taking action? Are we experiencing synchronicity? Are we finding our way to our creative path? Are we honestly working on our creative journey?
Next week we meet on Aug 2nd and we will be moving on to Chapter 8 – Recovering a Sense of Strength.
This week tackles another major creative block: time. You will explore the ways in which you have used your perception of time to preclude taking creative risks. You will identify immediate and practical changes you can make in your current life. You will excavate the early conditioning that may have encouraged you to settle for far less than you desire creatively.
I hope you are doing your Morning Pages every day and taking the time to schedule your Artist Date each week. Try to do some of the tasks and exercises each week to assist you in moving forward.
I’d love to hear your comments, so please share any insights you have learned along this journey.
- Book Club – The Artist’s Way – Chapter 6 (bluetwigstudio.wordpress.com)
- Book Club – The Artist’s Way – Chapter 5 (bluetwigstudio.wordpress.com)