I’m starting a 12-week experiment today to improve my artistic practice. It’s based on a book called The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. The book is based on the concept that creativity comes from a higher power, whatever name you give it. Cameron says it does not have to be a God from an organized religion but can also be thought of as “flow” or “source”. “What we are talking about is a creative energy…. The point is not what you name it. The point is that you try using it. For many of us, thinking of it as a form of spiritual electricity has been a very useful jumping-off place.” The idea is to remove obstacles and let this power work through you to increase creativity and art production, no matter your medium. (Cameron has had lawyers use these methods with success.)
I’m pretty comfortable with this. One of the central ideas of God for me is someone that is a creator and completely aware of aesthetics. I also believe in daily revelation and the gift of the Holy Ghost—continual feelings and inspiration from one member of the Godhead.
Two things are important throughout the weekly practice. One is writing three pages a day of stream of consciousness writing. Cameron says to do it in the morning. I already get up early to read scriptures daily; I’ve decided to do it before I start my art practice, whether morning or evening. The idea is to get out all the things that are on the mind and blocking you. She talks about our logical mind as being too critical and getting in the way of our inner creative child who needs to be nurtured and tended. I am wary of calling any part of my mind bad; I can tell my left brain it is useful but not while I am trying to do art. The second component is a weekly artist date where you plan two hours with just yourself and your inner artist to play. You can do anything you want except it cannot be anything you “should” do.
I am curious to see if this is really going to work. Week one is all about positive reinforcement and encouragement, identifying past emotional monsters and dealing with them, and telling yourself over and over you are worth it. Here are a few wonderful affirmations from this chapter:
“I am a channel for God’s creativity, and my work comes to good.
My dreams come from God and God has the power to accomplish them.
My creativity heals myself and others.
Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.
As I listen to my creativity, I am led to my creator.
My creativity leads me to forgiveness and self-forgiveness.”
I managed the first three pages today. Halfway through I realized I was allowing myself to focus a lot on myself. If I want to not use my left brain other times, then it is getting spoiled in the three pages. After this I felt happy enough to sketch, which I seldom do. I drew some tomatoes from the garden I am house-sitting at. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. I am working 8-4 M-F for my day job this week, which is more than usual. We’ll see if I have much left at the end of the day.
(Thanks to School of Life blogger Lizzie Shupack for letting me know about this book.)