Quick Recap: I’m getting through Quarantine 2020 by doing the 12 week creativity recovery challenge in the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Week 3: Recovering a Sense of Power
Wow, my title sounds so promisingly dirty. Spoiler: it’s not, although I do question and slightly make fun of religion, so there’s that.
Chapter three (actually) promised work on shaking up and overcoming the illusory hold of previously accepted limits as you come into your power.
Despite not being able to fully grasp those spiritual, mumbo-jumbo descriptions of the chapters, I can confidently say this whole process is working, regardless. My morning pages are now treated with religious fervor, not only by making sure to do them every day, but by waking up earlier and writing for longer sprints in small increments. As of today, I’ve reached a 4:15am wake up time and spend an average of 5 hours writing or working on my book. I crave more and more of this quiet, alone time (while trapped at home during this Quarantine) to write before I start my day with the kids and other duties at 12pm. The reward has been exponential growth and output, plus heightened awareness of self and feelings, however, the consequence is 7pm yawning with an inability to stay awake past 9pm, and a marked decreased interest in everything else.
The first section of this week’s chapter was about synchronicity, and how if you express your desires to the universe (or ask your God, whatever), with it’s all-powerfulness and all-knowing, you will get an answer. Call synchronicity what you want: an answered prayer, Oprah’s The Secret, a coincidence, or serendipity, but it show ups when you show up.
I did, in fact, experience synchronicity this week. A friend contacted me at the perfect moment, and suggested we finally share our short story fairy tale rewrites we had challenged each other to do a while back. After digging up my short story and sending it, that same day I reinvested time into my author Instagram community, and came across a summer contest for short stories, with a theme easily similar to the short story I had just sent my friend.
It was kismet, and I responded to the Powers-That-Be by signing up posthaste. Likely, had I not stumbled across it, I wouldn’t have summoned up the motivation to spend hours searching for an applicable contest, wasting the precious time I could have spent writing. Or if I had found a contest, I’d have second guessed myself, and wouldn’t have submitted anything at all. C.G. Jung loosely dubbed synchronicity “a fortuitous intermeshing of events.” Indubitably, bro.
Julia Cameron says in this chapter, “In my experience, the universe falls in with worthy plans and most especially with festive and expansive ones…Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.”
The second section was on shame, and how it controls and sabotages us, pushing us into our fears and dark places. Creativity (art) airs it all out and brings it into the light, making it less scary. This section was validating to me, especially to little Emily. I grew up a pastor’s kid in a very conservative religion and learned that a large amount of my curiosities were shameful.
Like, what if there really isn’t a God, and we are just crazy people wasting time together every Saturday because being a part of something feels good and/or is just part of being human? What if church is just egotistical nonsense, or an excuse to get together and feel important or less alone? Let’s say there is a God, but what if He really doesn’t care about the things you think He does, like your boring, scripted services and who you love and have sex with? And who are you to decide? What if the Bible was just written by a bunch of ancient, white frat boys pulling the world’s greatest prank on their future generations? (That’d be amazing, tho).
Curiousity is my DRIVING CREATIVE FORCE. It makes my introverted-ness extroverted. I have so many questions for you, dear Reader, and genuinely want to know everything about you until you get sick of talking. Thankfully, in this creativity recovery process, nothing is sacred or taboo. And it’s de-freakin-lightful.
I still think about that 80-year-old pastor of our church who preached Satanist conspiracies about Harry Potter, mostly because of an Onion article he came across. We all assumed he didn’t know their articles were satirical. But, really? Every week you preach about a God of the Universe with unlimited power, living in a heavenly, castle-mansion with streets of gold, who commands an army of warrior angels and also has a strategic, nemesis devil archangel who, in turn, has minion demons that scour the Earth trying to get us humans to sin? But Harry Potter is destructive garbage? Please.
I liked this quote in Chapter Three from Mae West: “Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven’t tried before.”
The last two sections of the chapter were on dealing with criticism and the movement of growth. I’m working on both, so these sections were obviously helpful and encouraging.
I didn’t enjoy this week’s daily tasks—except the part where I was instructed to buy and eat the treats I loved as a kid, which were Little Debbie’s Zebra cakes—and ended up writing my own exercises. My “What If” exercise focused on my future and things I’m currently struggling with: “What if you become successful and famous very quickly? What would that look like and feel like?” or, “What if you didn’t feel so uncomfortable sharing your work?” or even as simple as, “What if you finish your book?”
Did I shake up and overcome the illusory hold of my previously accepted limits as I came into my power in this third week?
Um, yes? Sure?
What I worked on this week:
- Morning pages and tasks every day
- Increased from 3+ hours to over 4+ hours writing and working per day
- Spent 6 hours replotting my YA fantasy book (hooray!)
- Wrote two Character Studies for my book’s main characters
- Edited my short story for the summer contest
- Tried my hand at writing Erotica for an Open Mic event next week (OMG that was quite the experience to write at 6am! Found it an easy genre to write, tho)
- Wrote the Week 2 blog post
- Posted to my author Instagram account
- Did some online Oreo critiques (praise, feedback, praise) of other people’s work
- A Small Place by Jamaica Kinkaid, and rethought traveling as a tourist
- Thunder and Lightning Natalie Goldberg, and kept inspired to write my book
- Started reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab