Improving My Craft

Will The Artist’s Way Help Me Find My Way?

It is true I have been struggling to write for the last year. It is also true that spending time in the Pacific Northwest helped. But some things have come up in the world of SFF writing that have left me reeling, and I’ve been struggling–and failing–to keep my creative feet planted.

Last year, Sam Coster, a local game developer, came to our local writing group to talk about the psychology of productivity and creativity. It was a fantastic talk, and inspirational in a lot of ways. He suggested a number of books, but the one that grabbed my attention the most was The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I liked that it was laid out in the form of a 12-week course. The structure appealed to me.

I picked up a copy at the used bookstore and went for it.  Twelve weeks? I can do this. YES I CAN!

I quit after the first week.

I scoffed, mocked the book, turned my nose up in the air, and shelved it. It was pretty hokey, I said. Too spiritual (Um, Molly, did you even read the title?). Too weird. Too much of a time commitment.

But I didn’t shelve it in the basement. I shelved it here, by my computers. Still in my writing space.

Now, with the things that are coming up in my small, insulated writing community, I am experiencing a lot of hurt, confusion, sadness. The doors of my creativity that were just beginning to creak open, slammed back shut again.

It’s been days since I have written a single word. Days of clicking refresh in forums to see who is saying what about this thing or that thing. Days of obsessing over the problems, struggling with what to do, what to say, thinking about people who have hurt me directly and indirectly.

But here is the thing:

People only have the power over me that I am willing to grant them. Am I willing to hand over my creativity and my desire to write?

Absolutely not.

Last time, the Artist’s Way tasks sucked up my writing time. This time, I am giving myself the gift of that time. Whether or not I produce anything sellable during this time is immaterial. This is a long-term investment. A radical act of self-care. It’s been a year of struggling, so something radical is warranted. This time I am taking to do this is my gift to myself. Just like a clean, tidy office is a gift to myself.

At lunch this past week, a dear friend reminded me that it is okay to take time to care for myself. Their words came at just the right moment. So that is what I am going to do.

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