The Artist's Way - Week One

Let's Get This Party Started

Let me just be honest for a moment. I find it very hard to commit to things, so this is a HUGE thing for me to take this on. My hope is that by being "responsible", if you will, for keeping this going all the way through the 12 weeks that I will commit to the process myself. Knowing that others are joining me will be a big part of that.

Since you're not all going to get your book, The Artist's Way, at the same time, I'm just going to go ahead and get us started with the basics from the first chapters including Week One. I'll be posting a fair amount of stuff from the first chapters, but I won't be continuing to do this after this week to be fair to the author, so if you'd like to join us in this 12 weeks of "discovering/recovering" your creative self please order the book from the link (helps to support this blog) or pick up at your local book store.

Here we go.

Basic Tools

There are two basic tools that we will be maintaining throughout the 12 weeks.

  1. Morning Pages - The instructions are to set your alarm one half-hour early and first thing upon waking write three pages long-hand in a journal as a free write. There is no particular goal generally (though as we progress there will be "assignments") nor should you write them as a "writer". If these pages are full of complaints or boring things, so be it. It is meant to purge you of whatever is on your mind and get it out of the way. These pages are not to be shared, nor should you read back through them.
  2. The Artist Date - This is hard to make clear without copying the 2-3 pages on the subject in their entirety, but I'll try. The Artist Date is a date you make with yourself to set aside 1-2 hours each week to do something with your inner child artist. It should be something that feels fun, but there's no need to force it to seem "artistic". It could be going to listen to music, taking a walk, watching a sunrise or sunset, or even going bowling. But it is for you alone, and must not be broken. Don't stand yourself up!

Week One Tasks/Exercises

There's a lot in each chapter, but I'm going to start with only a few of the tasks/exercises since you already have morning pages and an artist date to set.

  • Identifying core negative beliefs and transforming them. To identify your core negative beliefs, start with positive affirmations. Choose an affirmation such as "I (your name), am a brilliant and prolific writer [painter, potter, poet, or whatever you are]", and write that 10 times in a row. As you do this, listen for the negative "blurts" of your unconscious. Whatever comes up, write it down. Did you hear something like, "you're just kidding yourself!", or "you're not good enough"? Write them all down. Look at the list and find out where your blurts come from. Who in your past said these things to you? Once you've done this, use your Morning Pages to turn the negative blurts to positive affirmations. For example, "You're just kidding yourself" can be turned to "I believe in my talents and my right to share them."
  • Time Travel: "List three old enemies of your creative self-worth". This may be parents, peers, partners, lovers, siblings, other family members, or teachers. Thing back to people who made you feel ashamed or worthless or otherwise negative about your creativity. The author calls these people "your historic monsters". Keep a running list throughout this 12 week process, but for now, identify at least three.
  • Time Travel: "Select and write out one horror story from your monster hall of fame". However long or short it needs to be, write down what happened and details about where you were, who it was, how you felt, etc. "Include whatever rankles you about the incident: 'and then I remember she gave me this real fakey smile and patted my head...'" You can include a sketch of your old "monster" and then "draw a nice red X through it".

Check-In

Each Sunday I'll post a "check-in" from the book (you'll see when you get it) and that's what we'll share with each other. You're welcome to share whatever other thoughts and experiences are coming out of the process, but I don't want to put anyone on the spot as they move through what may very well be a tender and emotional process. The check-ins seem safe and a good way to keep up with each other. I'll use the same linky tool as I do for the 100 words so that we can easily see who's participating too.