“You may find yourself feeling awkward like a hatchling. Hatchlings are awkward, but they are also becoming free.” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way.)
This second week of the course Julia Cameron focuses on the strength that you need to have to proceed in being the creative artist that you are. You need to recover a sense of who you are, and forget all the painstakingly bad habits you have that may be hindering your progress, and this includes letting go of people who want you to remain a blocked creative, because they are threatened by your growth.
The idea that Cameron first introduces is that of Going Sane. It’s hard for a lot of us to realize this, because we are scared of what might happen when we choose to listen to our inner artist, but we often self-sabotage or undermine our progressive efforts. As we become more “sane” and start unblocking our creativity, our self-doubt starts to gain strength as well, and we must not “let [our] self-doubt become self-sabotage” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way). There is one simple solution to this though, and it has actually gained a lot of traction in the past years, and that solution is: Affirmations. Write them down in your diary, say them to yourself, think them before you go to sleep- whatever works for you. Affirmations have the ability to, as Cameron says, neutralize your negative beliefs? Think of the self-limiting beliefs you hold, think of the worst ones. Now think of an affirmation that will neutralize that belief. I know that sometimes I thought that writing morning pages was a waste of time, but I quickly told myself that any practice is progress. These affirmations can short-circuit your brain, and you can get on with your recovery.
The other thing I learned was that there are very definitely people out there that can discount your progress and make you feel guilty for trying to grow. There are other blocked creatives out there, and some of them feel better when you are blocked, because it makes them feel better about themselves. Your progress threatens them, because now they can no longer make excuses for why they are blocked (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way). Cameron splits these types of people into two groups: poisonous playmates and “crazymakers.” It is important to make sure that you are not in the presence of these types of people, because they have manipulative abilities that can completely turn you off of even trying to progress or become an unblocked artist.
Okay, so there are people out there that can hinder your progress. But there is an enemy within you too, and that, according to Cameron, is Skepticism. This sort of ties into the idea of Going Sane, but it is also quite different. Skepticism isn’t necessarily about self-limiting beliefs, it is more about seeing opportunities and doors opening up for you and refusing to believe that it has anything to do with your growth. It can be hard for blocked creatives to realize that progression and being creative truly can and will open up new doors for you- but sometimes we can ignore them because we are too scared to think of all the possibilities that we may have the ability of pursuing. It can be these same thoughts that can prevent us from wanting to continue to create. Importantly, the way to combat this is to understand that we can always save this skepticism for later, according to Cameron. We need to open ourselves up to opportunity, or atleast the thought that our creativity is opening doors for us. Lastly, Cameron discusses Attention. Attention to detail is particularly important for writers because it is a way of focusing on the present. You see the world more clearly in the present moment, focus on all the things that are so often overlooked.
This week I found myself realizing that there are so many subtle ways that we can prevent ourselves from writing, and they are very often things that we do not even realize that we are doing. There were times when I felt frustrated or had a complete lack of motivation to do any work or writing, and there were times when I didn’t even try to do the things I planned for my day. I learned to adjust, and to face my fears and that’s when I realized that any skepticism I had was just a sign that I was growing.