So here I am, at the end of Week Two of my 12 week programme, as outlined in The Artist's Way. Despite misgivings about its spiritual undertones, I am determined to get to the end, would love something enlightening to happen as a result, and continue to remain slightly doubtful about the probability.
This week has been challenging, not least because I've changed countries three times. My week began in Amsterdam, continued in London and Los Angeles, and ended yesterday in San Francisco. That kind of travel schedule is a killer for Morning Pages.
Actually I take that back, that’s not true, it's really just a killer excuse for not doing Morning Pages. Consequently, I’ve fought the urge to skip (multiple) days, and have stuck to the routine relentlessly, despite doing myself a huge disservice in buying myself a lovely, over-sized but annoyingly thin-lined, moleskin notebook. In any event, in spite of myself, I am diligently filling it, as per Cameron’s instructions.
Second to Morning Pages is The Artist's Date, another compulsory activity to be done throughout the programme. It's a weekly creative adventure, that is for you alone. It's time set aside to do something fun, that constitutes as "play". Aside from the fact that I generally feel too guilty to play - "There's "proper work" to be done!" - I also tend to feel too self-conscious to even allow myself the chance.
I like the fact that Cameron writes that if you find going to an art gallery boring, then it can't constitute an artist's date, and that perhaps you should put on a purple wig and dance around your kitchen to Lady Gaga, enjoying yourself instead [*my suggestion, not hers]. As such, my own excursion to Amsterdam's Dance Valley, where I unselfconsciously lost myself in eight hours' worth of music, pretty much did the trick!
Beyond that, Week Two of the programme is about becoming comfortable in your own skin, and protecting your creative identity. That begins by identifying the people in your life who are a negative influence on your self-esteem. Who is it that takes up your time, who drains you of energy, whose needs come before your own? The sound advice Cameron gives is to ditch these people. Or at least put them on hold until you've completed the twelve week course.
She also emphasises the idea of synchronicity, of setting aside as much skepticism as possible, and as a result, allowing yourself to be open to new possibilities. The idea is that the more open-minded, confident and curious you can be, the more interesting opportunities will arise, of which you should be prepared to take advantage.
Synchronicity, skepticism or whatever else aside, all I know is that this week my partner and I were approached by the Amsterdam Film Festival about a collaboration, and a design team that I've been itching to work with called me back and said "we have a project for you". Both made me happy.
Next week I embark on the chapter called "Recovering a Sense of Power" and I'll let you know what that entails. In the meantime, I thought I'd end with a few points, well-made by Cameron, that I have started to take seriously:
- Stop waiting until you make enough money to do something you'd really love.
- Stop telling yourself that creativity is a luxury and that you should be grateful for what you've got.
- Stop telling yourself that your dreams don't matter, that they are only dreams and that you should be more sensible.
Lizzie Shupak is a Digital and Brand Strategist. She is also one half of the international social experience, Wok+Wine. She is currently on a journey of creative discovery, which may or may not affect her biography, in the weeks and months ahead.
Wok+Wine - The World's Most Delicious Social Network
Global Lifestyle Project - A Global Experiment in Lifestyle Design