Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Classic, Revisited

I have a confession.  I haven't actually read The Artist's Way.  Not all of it, not in full.  I read the first part, and I skimmed through the last half many years ago, when the book first came out.  I started doing some of the exercises, but I stalled out, and I have rather aggressively resisted going back to it every since.

Why?  Morning pages.  I hate morning pages.  They make me angry and resentful, and they make me feel guilty.  Guilty because I don't actually do them, not after the first few days, and then I feel like a failure and I sink into feeling miserable for a while and then I give the whole thing up as a bad idea.  I am not a morning person.  I don't even want to be a morning person.  And, no matter my intentions when I go to sleep, my semi-conscious morning brain will have me repeatedly hitting the snooze button and eking out those last precious moments of sleep rather than getting up earlier to write.  And then I feel guilty and horrible because I didn't write my morning pages, and then pretty soon I just let it all slip from my mind, and I just stop.  I know this is how it goes for me because I have tried to do TAW several times, and this has happened each time.

So I gave it up, although I fairly regularly have little, niggling thoughts that I should try it again.  I've read several of Julia Cameron's other books, and I like and find inspiration in much of what she says, but those morning pages!  They stop me cold.

But now I'm looking to tread the TAW path again, this time with company.  Paula of Happysnappy (Don't you just love that name?! It makes me happy every time I see it!) has started a blog circle to work through the book together.  And I've decided I'm joining in.

I wasn't going to.  I have lots of other things going on. I've already read lots of other books on creativity.  And then there's my morning page problem.  But.  This is perhaps the seminal work in my industry, so I feel like doing this work is something I should experience.  And I don't like failing.  So I'm doing it.

I'm doing it my way, though.  I'm doing it the way that will actually work for me, that will let me fully sink into the exercises and the process.  So I'm breaking some of Ms. Cameron's rules, and I don't really care.  I'm going to do my morning pages later in the day, although on weekends and days off I may do them first thing.  Most of the time, I'll probably use them as a transition and warm-up point when I'm ready to settle down to my writing or other creative work of the day. I'm also going to do them, and quite a lot of the other work, on the computer, at least most of the time (I might use 750 Words some of the time--it's really kind of fun).  This is what is most convenient and comfortable for me.  This is what will let me actually fit this into my normal life.  This is what will let me succeed, so I'm doing it my way.


Trisha said...

Never heard of this book! Sounds interesting...

I'm not a morning person either. Especially in winter when the mornings are dark! I mean, I love winter except for that part. hehe

Kim Switzer said...

Trisha, it's a hugely influential book in creative circles so is probably worth a look. I recommend remembering that it's okay to tweak things for your life, though, no matter what the book says! :)

Monica {bohemian twilight} said...

I very similar to you, although I was too arrogant to consider it failing. lol

i LOVE LOVE that this time you'll do it your way. no matter how wonderful a technique or method sounds, there is no such thing as one way for EVERYone.

i just cannot do morning pages, but i can see the gist of it and work with that. you have to work with and not against your personality.

Kim Switzer said...

Monica, you are so right! We really must learn to embrace ourselves, our own ways and personalities and work with them.

Laura said...

When I worked through it, I did my morning pages later in the day, and I think it worked just fine anyway!

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

Thanks for mentioning my blog and good to read you like my name.:D We are twiking some of the rules, like doing one week a fortnight or daily pages instead of morning pages. I might think of other rules to break later. ;)

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