In the mid-90s, five of my OCC friends and I formed a study group of THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron. It had been seven years from my first sale, and I had all but given up on the second sale. It was time to work through the emotional blocks and self-sabotage or call it quits. During the 12-week AW course, I sold again. Seven months later, my third sale. Seven weeks after that, my fourth sale. I thought my dry spell was over for good.
But things didn’t work out that way.
Most highly creative people can also be highly sensitive with extreme highs and lows. I am one of those types. I slipped away from OCC and into another valley of depression. When I came back up out of it, I volunteered at the chapter. If I couldn’t write—let alone sell another book— at least I could contribute to the support of other writers. According to Cameron, this is living as a “Shadow Artist”— someone who needs to be in the presence of other artists/writers when she can’t allow herself to express her own creativity.
I found myself back on the OCC board as Past President Advisor, and each subsequent year I buried myself deeper and deeper into the role of the Shadow Artist until it was my full time occupation.
Then, as OCC president, I asked then-program director, Bobbie Cimo, to find out if Julia Cameron would be available to speak to our chapter. Cameron was signing her latest book, The Writing Diet, at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood. Although we couldn’t work things out for her, she strongly recommended Kelly Morgan, who has been an Artist’s Way workshop facilitator for 12 years.
That September, Kelly was the OCC afternoon speaker. There were some aspects of AW that I remembered but Kelly reminded me of so many more that I had forgotten. Most of all, she reminded me that there is a way back to the joy of writing, of creating art. I needed to enroll in her next AW workshop as part of my recovery.
Now, more than halfway through the course, I have been on a phenomenal journey so far. I don’t know where the road will lead, but I am learning more about my own creativity, what I do to sabotage myself, and the steps I can take to get back on track.
For those readers here who are actively pursuing their creativity without obstacles or self-doubt, this new column about the Artist’s Way may hold no interest. For anyone else who needs a little help in pursuing their creative path while Life goes on around them (and tugs them away from the computer or canvas): Welcome Aboard.
There are many books about creativity and I may mention them from time to time, but I am focusing on the Artist’s Way in these once-a-month blogs here at A Slice of Orange. I hope it will encourage your own creativity.
Thank you so much Sue, for introducing into the world of “The Artist Way”. It has enriched not only the way I see things as a writer, but in my personal life as well. Bye the way, I do enjoy are Artist Dates, together…for those of you familiar with that term, you will get it..for those of you who aren’t you’ll have to take the course or read the Artist Way book. It’s well worth it.
on May 4, 2017
I didn’t like The Artist’s Way as much as you did, Gillian, but I did like Cameron’s The Right to Write. Hope the AW class helps you find your creative center and start writing again.