OMG what a busy and creatively fulfilling two weeks I have had. Many apologies that book club has been MIA but once you unleash the creative beasts within it can be hard to rein them back in again.
The focus of the Week 10 readings and tasks were recovering a sense of self protection for the ‘perils’ that can ambush us on our creative path. While week 11 addressed artistic autonomy, or how we will continue to nurture our creative selves long after the twelve week course is over.
Reading Review: Week 10 & 11
I actually read passages from the week ten readings our loud to my partner for a laugh. The passages were relating to workaholism as creative block or an addiction. We both found this section amusing as it was like Cameron was describing me personally as she discussed the vices of the workaholic. So before we go any further:
‘Hi, I’m Katie and I am a workaholic’.
Fortunately for me my workaholism is based around things that I love. My paid science work, study, and blogging is so enjoyable it barely feels like work. However there are times when I realise I haven’t done anything ‘just for fun’ in a while and have to send myself on a self imposed work hiatus (like I did yesterday morning heading out the Wardrobe Warriors markets more to come on these). The other creative blocks put forth by Cameron are drought, fame, and competition. Cameron explains that creative droughts, while seeming to go forever at the time, do end and can be pushed past no matter how hopeless things seem at the time. Fame is the ‘spiritual’ drug of creatives and can deter a creative from their initial plans. Rather than being an actor and working for the love of work, an actor may aspire to be a ‘famous’ actor and suddenly the focus is on ego stroking rather than the acting tasks at hand. Finally, competition is the process of comparing yourself to others, be them famous folk or peers and friends. While I personally relate with the workaholism blockage, the others rarely affect me so my focus will be learning to take some time for myself, which was one of the reasons that I began this course.
Week eleven starts to tie together all of the ideas and tasks of the ten weeks prior and begins the reflective thinking and future planning process. Cameron reiterates the information put forth in the weeks prior by letting us know we:
- need to surround ourselves with other creative types,
- understand that art is life and life is art so a dull life means dull art,
- as artists have the right to create bad works of art and work our way past it
- create what wants to be created and understand that one cannot ‘plan’ creativity
- as artists need a rich emotional support network
- creative types can die of boredom ignore your creative self and risk killing it off
- need to keep moving forward with our creative exploration.
My favourite passage from this weeks readings is
Creativity is a spiritual practice. It is not something that can be perfected, finished and set aside. It is my experience that we reach plates of creative attainment only to have a certain restlessness set in. Yes, we are successful. Yes, we have made it, but…
In other words, just when we get there, there disappears.
Just like there is no ‘away’ when it comes to throwing unwanted items out, there really is no ‘there’ to get to. This thought relates nicely to a book I picked up at the local recycle market (the universe speaks to me through secondhand books from the tip shop). As a notorious list-maker (I blame being a Virgo) I have an endless ‘to-do’ list. If I get wrapped up in workaholic mode then this list can be pretty stressful as I try to knock all the items off. Fortunately for me this little nugget of advice from Richard Carlson author of ‘Don’t Sweat the small stuff’ should be able to help me out when workaholism kicks in:
Remind yourself that when you die your, ‘In Basket’ won’t be empty.
So pretty much however busy you keep yourself and how much you accomplish there will always be things to do as long as you are still breathing. While this might be a scary thought for some I found it quite comforting knowing that no matter how hard I work more work will inevitably come so there isn’t much you can do about it other than surrender to the endless to-do list of life and enjoy the completion of each moment. Carlson actually argues that having a full in basket is in fact a pointer to success and your time is in demand.
Task Review: Week 10 & 11
Week ten tasks were focused on getting to the bottom of your biggest procrastinations or your ‘deadly’ sins, telling the ‘awful’ truth about your bad habits and setting the hard word on yourself (or bottom line) to take action to break your bad habits. Not one to focus on the bad stuff without a little good Cameron also gets you to look at the victories you have made so far and promise to look after yourself each day for the week.
As it’s close to the end of the course Week 11 tasks are planning tasks. The get you to reflect back on prior weeks wisdoms, take note of your accomplishments and start making commitments to your future artist self. One of the tasks was to create and artists altar (photo above). My space moves quite regularly as our home isn’t really ‘set up’ yet as we are still to do major renovations. I claimed the little corner above as my artists altar for the week but being a gypsy at heart it will likely move again.
Checking in and Reflecting
It has been a busy and exciting two weeks. This busy and exciting time I will attribute to the Artists Way encouraging me to get out there, make changes and start heading in the direction of my creative desires. The only issue with being so creative and active is that it has been more difficult to fit in reading time. But as Cameron states in her reading list
my experience as a teacher tells me that those who read this book are better off doing something, rather than reading another book.
So as a read-a-holic I think Cameron would likely be proud that I am out and about on creative ventures rather than religiously deconstructing her writing. Also like the quote mentioned from Carlson earlier having a ‘full basket’ of things to do means your time is being well spent as you are ‘in demand’.
I have been completing morning pages with regular gusto but the restless whim to ‘get the hell out and do something exciting’ that lead me to the Wardrobe Warriors market yesterday meant I skipped my first day of artists pages. It felt weird not completing them but being on a road trip with Jack White, a long stretch of ope highway, and the window down felt pretty darn good. The only way I like to consume fossil fuel is road trip style and as they don’t occur too often for me it’s all the more special when they do. Especially after being cooped up for weeks now doing uni related writing.
My week ten artists date involved a warm bath (a special treat that happens only a few times a year as it’s so wasteful of water) and the ‘Advance Style‘ documentary which has finally been released to the Australian market. There was also a visit to discuss fashion and sustainability at the Shine From Within teen personal development course. Along with ethical and sustainable store visits that you may have seen on the blog posts.
Week eleven saw me asking the question of #whomademyclothes and getting answers! This busy week made it difficult for an artists date but the whirlwind road trip made up for it quite well and I found some incredible bargains that I will share with you tomorrow or the day after.
It is kind of amazing how many signs the universe gives you that it is listening when you start to pay attention to them. I’ve been experiencing synchronicity on a daily basis since beginning this course. It can be scary when it happens but it is also quite a humbling and magical experience.
Reflection on Week Ten and Eleven
I’m feeling a little mournful that my ‘paved’ path to creative recovery has nearly come to an end. It has been so incredible to feel such a huge internal creative shift over the course of program and one worries that progression may slow without a weekly guide. Cameron has a few tools for keeping the momentum going and committing to future self care and creative pursuits so hopefully these will assist in keeping the creative flowing. With many ideas in the pipeline the future is looking pretty exciting.
Do you have any tools or processes you use to keep your creativity levels at an all time high? If so please feel free to let us know about them.
Happy Monday lovelies.