Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rules of the Road

Time to spread some more writerly love. As writers, I know we all get discouraged. We listen to that voice in our heads that says we don’t know what we are doing. We don’t have any real talent or skill. Our imaginations are dull, our creativity is a joke. What do we think we are doing, trying to spin words from our minds? Stop. Give up. Don’t even try, that voice whispers or yells or screeches.

I struggle with that voice a lot, and some times I even obey it. I stare at the blank page and dutifully turn away with the sudden ADD that writers develop as their writing plods on in a straight line while the tracks curve sharply to the left. Then there are times when I somehow evade that voice. When my creativity bursts out of me like a deprived and needy child. Sometimes junk is the result, but more often I create a piece of art, a winning poem, an insightful scene or two that develops a novel idea that has been mulling in my head.

So stop listening to that voice. It doesn’t know what you are capable of.

RULES OF THE ROAD (excerpt from The Artist’s Way)

In order to be an artist, I must:

1. Show up at the page. Use the page to rest, to dream, to try.
2. Fill the well by caring for my artist.
3. Set small and gentle goals and meet them.
4. Pray for guidance, courage, and humility.
5. Remember that it is far harder and more painful to be a blocked artist than it is to do the work.
6. Be alert, always, for the presence of the Great Creator leading and helping my artist.
7. Choose companions who encourage me to do the work, not just talk about doing the work or why I am not doing the work.
8. Remember that the Great Creator loves creativity.
9. Remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work.
10. Place this sign in my workplace: Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity. You take care of the quality.

And that is why I love Julia Cameron. I hope I can be just as encouraging and supportive of beginning artists as she is.

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