Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Getting Back into It

Considering how energized I was the morning after my 2-day monastery visit, it's perhaps not surprising that I lost all motivation a few hours later. Such is what often happens. The thing is that my monastery weekend, and in fact all my efforts to get into the writing groove during the last few weekends, were only a beginning. It takes an ongoing effort to really get back into the game.

And so I finally broke down and opened up the big guns again, by picking up my copy of The Artist's Way and reading through the first two chapters again.

Okay, so I know many many people sing its praises, but here's what I don't like about this book and why I dropped out of it 10 years ago when I started it then:

  1. It makes you sign a contract at the beginning of the book. Okay, I'm a "dip my toes in the water" and try things out before I dive in sort of girl. I also don't like to overcommit. Which leads me to point 2:
  2. It requires you to give 7-10 hours for 12 weeks.That's a lot of time. As much time as taking another course during the semester. I'm already busy this fall, and I'll be going away on vacation the end of next week. So I know that if I signed that contract, it would get broken in about 10 days. Not--simply not--going to happen

All the same, though, the book does have fabulous ideas, and right now, for these 10 days, I have a window in which I can be productive, both creatively and otherwise, if I can clear the cobwebs and clutter out of my head so I can get to work. And this book is a lovely thing, if I adjust it to my life rather than vice versa.

And so I decided that I could manage reading through some of it, and doing one of its primary practices--morning pages--for the next week or so, just to continue the good work I've been doing towards renewal.

And so far it's really working. I've been reclaiming my journaling practices lately, and they've helped, but this is a slightly different kind of journaling--the kind that isn't looking for just the right words, but instead acts as a dump of all your attitudes towards life and writing and creativity and work out on the page so you can hover them to the surface and then beat the bad ones up. It gives an opportunity for a sort of morning pep talk to oneself, and a place to become energized by being reminded that there is work to be done and that I really can get some of it done today.

So yeah, I won't be doing the whole book--well, maybe if I start it earlier, then next summer would be a good time--but I do suggest plowing out those 3 pages of nonsense first thing in the day for plowing through one's procrastination, ennui, and other unpleasant junk in one's head on a regular basis. I'll be trying it for the next 10 days, along with a few of the other exercises in this book and in Vinita's book, so I'll let you know how it goes in keeping me moving in everything I want to do...

Anyone else tried this before, or willing to try it with me for a few days? Let me know.

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