Although I’m really enjoying reading through The Artist’s Way, I must admit first that my mind has been occupied by other projects as well. But I’m determined to stick to the weekly chapter habit. This seventh chapter is about practicing the right attitudes for creativity and connecting to your dreams.

Reading The Artist's Way: Recovering a Sense of Connection

I feel as if I’ve been doing that exact thing all my life. Dreaming, imagining, trying – over and over again. There are huge topics in this chapter… big emotional ones that all creatives have faced and battled with I’m sure.

Listening

Right at the beginning of this chapter, I was struck by the quote, “Art is not about thinking something up. It is about the opposite – getting something down.” It’s so true for me personally that most of my inspirations and ideas come when I’m doing something else. The real sparks occur during other activities…when a connection is somehow made or something just comes to me…I think we all know that magical feeling. Of course, the chapter goes on about how you might begin with a plan but then you have to surrender to however it goes. And perhaps, that is the part I am still working on.

I constantly talk about trying to do more loose work, because I have something in mind and I want to make it happen. If it doesn’t come out as I thought, I feel a bit defeated. Was it because I lack the skill to execute or was it a bad idea? I’ve been working to change my attitude, to go with the flow and if it turns out nicely, yippee! If not…to just let it go. But of course, easier said than done. There are certainly times when I feel so unsure and have no idea what to do next. I’m not sure if I always hear my own creative voice or if I’m letting it come out fully.

Although I would love to believe in much of the “genius” talk mentioned by Cameron…the belief that we are simply an instrument through which the creative genius speaks through…I don’t feel comfortable with it. I don’t like to believe that it’s all mystery and hocus pocus stuff. I really value having to work at things and meriting through effort. Not to say you have to suffer through it, but it’s something that has been ingrained in me. I want to earn my success and know that I did it…that I earned it. Is it just crazy ego talk? I know that it seems like a higher power is working through us at times though, so I guess I stand somewhere in between. Reminds me of the Law of Attraction discussions.

Perfectionism

Certainly something that we all battle with, even though we know nothing is perfect. I have already been thinking about embracing imperfection and I think I’m successful to a certain level and with certain things. When unsuccessful, I am certainly trapped in the loop of redoing, reworking, trashing, restarting…all the time…judging my results even before finishing. Cameron certainly nails the description of a perfectionist. I find it to be an internal battle…perhaps a constant battle that I will be fighting all the time.

Risk

My take away from this section was the point about anything worth doing might even be worth doing badly. Cameron encourages us to take risks…and if we didn’t have to worry about being perfect…what would we do?

Jealousy

Huge topic and I’ve always tried to turn jealousy into energy that drives me forward to be better. So then I wouldn’t be jealous anymore. Again, easier said than done…but much of life is about changing your attitude and directing yourself a bit. I agree that jealousy is like a map of sorts…the emotion is trying to tell you what you want perhaps. What you should be working towards. In this way of thinking, jealousy can be a useful indicator. So the exercise that Cameron proposes really does help to convert jealousy into positive actionable remedies.

The rest of the exercises in this chapter did make me feel a bit like under therapy or psychology of sorts…although I don’t even know what that would be like…it’s all a stereotype for me! Lots of questions are posed, so you can start digging into your past and dreams. In the end, I definitely discovered some tidbits of info about myself although largely, I am focused about my dreams, goals and wants. I certainly don’t lack the balance of inspiration, down-time and work-time…so I’ve really been in the mode of doing. But I also feel there isn’t enough time…I suppose that is just the way it is!

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