I thought it might be fun to go through all the weeks of The Artist's Way and share some of the insights that I picked up. I cannot stress enough how useful the whole course was for me, not only in terms of getting my confidence up as an artist and getting past creative blocks, but also in my general life. I truly feel like I'm communicating better now and have a renewed energy and interest in life around me. It's a fabulous course! Week One is all about safety and the demons and champions that have built up along the way in your life - the Hall of Monsters and the Hall of Champions. As well as the week's reading, you're given a series of tasks to complete over the course of the seven days, and you have to sign a contract at the beginning promising to commit yourself to the full 90 days of the course. Part of this is daily Morning Pages - three pages daily that clear your mind and help you work through issues - and a weekly Artist Date where you spend two hours a week doing fun things with your Inner Artist.
Looking back over my Morning Pages and the notes for my tasks I can see that I did a lot of work identifying all the people from my past and present who eroded my confidence, and I was encouraged to replace this with positive affirmations - something that I initially found incredibly difficult to do. You also have to write a letter (although not mail it!) to the biggest demon - in my case all the teachers who told me I couldn't draw and could therefore never BE an artist. You have to drill down into all those negative voices that are holding you back and then rewrite them - from my notes I can see I'm too scared to go to the studio, so I was getting straight to the core in week one on that score! In response I wrote I am working with my confidence and will go to the studio when I am ready. You're encouraged to take gentle baby steps and build solid foundations, so the positive affirmation work in week one really does go a long way. You're also encouraged to meditate on Basic Principles and Rules of the Road, such as:
- Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy
- As we open our creative channel to the Creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected
- Choose companions who encourage me to do the work, not just talk about doing the work, or why I am not doing the work
- Remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work
By the end of the first week I'd started to believe in myself just a tiny bit more and I was putting my foot down at the people who were hindering me and not selling myself short. It felt like a small lightbulb had gone on in my brain and I could feel the strength beginning to grow. I treated myself to a movie that week - The Radiant Child, a documentary about Jean-Michel Basquiat, which had me thinking of some new art ideas. The wheels had begun to turn...