Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Changes

One of this week's tasks:  List the ways you have changed since starting The Artist's Way.

I'm in week 11 of 12, so there have been quite a few.

1. I am quicker and more willing to "do what feels good," to give myself things that I want.
2. I am more able to sit and do art without feeling like I must DO ART - it's not as big a deal.
3. I submitted a story to a real-life publisher.  I was never brave enough or confident enough in my work to do that before.
4. I am starting to understand that ALL artistic output has value.  It doesn't have to be accepted or even SEEN by The Public to be valuable.  (I think that in this era of highly visual art and instant communication, I see people making art and getting it out there immediately and being instantly praised.  The Fame Monster rears its head - I want that too!  But I am beginning to understand that it's not really art unless I'm making it for me.  Otherwise it's a consumer good, and I'm not interested in making consumer goods.  I'm interested in making art - which means making it for ME.  The rest will follow.)
5. I see that my creativity is appreciated, and I am therefore more open about sharing it.
6. I am less emotionally sedentary - my artist self rages against some of the choices my adult self has made and continues to make - but, funnily enough, making art not only uncovers these discrepancies, but also allows me to take steps toward reconciling my internal differences of opinion.
7. I have started to do creative things that I used to do but stopped.  I stopped because they were a waste of time, they wouldn't make me any money, they wouldn't help me with a career, they wouldn't do a damn thing for me.  I realize that's not true.  They do plenty for me: I feel better when I do them.
8. I have become restless and mentally active - my job didn't used to drive me nuts with boredom, but now it does, because I could be out CREATING.
9.  I no longer feel guilty about buying stuff like beads or sidewalk chalk, or a purple plastic ampersand, just because.
10. I'm better at fun.

I added this section, although it wasn't part of the prompt:

Things I still need to work on.
1. I still fear ART as something I am not worthy of.  I need to believe myself deserving and capable of creative expression.
2. I need to shoot the perfectionist that still tends to control me - I still have issues with 'drafts' in any medium.  I still tend toward 'if it won't be perfect the first time, I don't want to do it at all.'  I need to get away from that.
3. I need to actually believe in myself more - sometimes I do, but the confidence isn't as consistent as I would like it to be.
4. I still often read instead of write.  I need to work on realigning my time & choices and cutting back on the addiction to other people's words, because it's really just a way for me to avoid my own words.
5. I need to allow myself to play and not feel guilty about it, like I'm shirking some duty somewhere.  I feel like by playing, I somehow disrespect the universe.  I wonder if really the universe makes us children first because that's what it likes, and it doesn't understand why we grow out of it.

Honestly, I'll be glad when this 12 week thing is over.  I'm not giving it up in week 11 because that would just be stupid, but I DO plan to ditch the morning pages as soon as week 12 ends.  Julia (the author/teacher) says that the morning pages are one of THE most important parts of our artistic development, but honestly, I have journalled my whole life, pages and pages every day.  The stuff that comes out in my artist pages is the same stuff that comes out in my regular journals.  She says the morning pages get done first thing in the morning because the critic-brain isn't awake yet and can't interfere.  I'm guessing Julia's not a morning person.  For me, as soon as the alarm goes off, even if my body's not awake yet, my brain is rarin' to go.  The critic jumps out of bed apace with the creative child, and is always there when I'm writing.  Even at 4:30 am.

I have always been a journaller, and I have always been honest in my journals.  Brutally, sappily, cruelly, vulnerably honest.  Because no one else reads them, so I don't have to put the show on.  So the morning pages are really something I was already doing, but at a different time.  The only other difference, other than the one on the clock, is that I now pay more attention to what the pages tell me about me and my mental and creative position in the universe.

I can do that with pages I write at 2:30 or 5:30 or 7:15 pm and not have to drag my ass out of bed before dawn.  So I'm giving up the morning pages and going back to my standard journalling when this is over.

The program itself has helped though, if only because it's made me pay attention to myself and to what I want, and not just to the elaborate show I've created to put on public display.  If I can focus as much energy into artistic-creation as I have into deceptive-creation - into creating a face to show the world - I'll have creation oozing out of my pores.

That's what I'm setting my sights on.