I’m reading a new book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. So far, it has been quite interesting. Julia is someone who feels called to help people unblock their creative sides. She herself is an artist so she balances her own artistic work with her role as teacher and coach. She has a series of disciplines she recommends in order to stoke the fires of creativity. It is a twelve week commitment to doing the work.
The most interesting part of the book so far is her discussion of the mental process by which many people abandon their creative sides. Some of us have been bombarded with negativity, either externally from family and friends or internally from relentless self-criticism – or both. We also get messages from the culture in general. Somehow we all end up with these stereotypes and faulty beliefs about artists: they are born not made, they’re drunks, promiscuous, drug addicts; crazy, broke, and tortured. Most of us don’t aspire to be this person. We just want to express ourselves creatively. This craving for creative expression does not go down without a fight, but fight it many of us do.
I myself ignored my artistic side for most of my life. I considered art to be something people did as hobbies unless they were born geniuses, making masterpieces at the age of six. So I focused on academics instead. Something was always missing, though. I would literally have cravings to color or write a poem or a story. For many years I would wake up in the middle of the night with a poem or story idea in my head. However, as I continued to ignore my talent, eventually I ceased to have these nocturnal inspirations. I guess my muse got tired of being ignored so she left me, or so I thought.
Now that I have finally surrendered completely to my muse and will give her whatever she wants, we are now on good terms. I have committed myself to Julie’s twelve-week process. I am curious to see what will come of it.
Stay tuned. Now, go follow your bliss…