Creative Space with Jennifer Logue

"The Artist's Way Week 9"—Recovering a Sense of Compassion

March 31, 2024 Jennifer Logue
Creative Space with Jennifer Logue
"The Artist's Way Week 9"—Recovering a Sense of Compassion
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this week’s episode of Creative Space, we’re diving into Chapter 9 of Julia Cameron’s seminal book on creativity, “The Artist’s Way.” The focus for this week is “Recovering a Sense of Compassion.”

There is so much to cover but there are three principles we’ll talk about: fear, enthusiasm, and creative u-turns.

One of my favorite quotes from this chapter: “A productive artist is quite often a happy person. This can be very threatening as a self-concept to those who are used to getting their needs met by being unhappy.”

If you’re interested in reading "The Artist’s Way" and/or following along with the podcast as you complete the work, you can purchase it here.

For more on me, your host and creative coach, visit: jenniferlogue.com.

Jennifer Logue:

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Creative Space, a podcast where we explore, learn and grow in creativity together. I'm your host, jennifer Logue, and just as a reminder for the next few weeks, we are going to be doing something different. On the podcast, I'm doing the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron for the first time. Last week we talked about Chapter 8, Recovering a Sense of Strength, and this week we're diving into Week 9, recovering a Sense of Compassion. Diving into week 9, recovering a sense of compassion. I'm going to touch on a few of the core principles in this chapter fear, enthusiasm and creative U-turns Fear.

Jennifer Logue:

On the topic of fear, cameron says we need to call things by their correct labels if we ever want to recover as artists. Often we'll mistake our inability to create for laziness, and this perspective is cruel, and she encourages us to have more compassion for ourselves. As she says, blocked artists are not lazy, they are blocked, and when you're a blocked artist, you put out a ton of energy being blocked instead of working on your art, and this could look like energy spent on self-hatred, regret, grief, jealousy and my favorite, self-doubt. I'm not sure if this happens to anyone else, but I spend way too much time analyzing projects I'm about to take on. It would be way more fun to just spend more of that time just creating, but I would love to know your thoughts there. Can you relate to spinning your wheels in any of those areas? Then Cameron says do not call the inability to start laziness. Call it fear. This is what she calls the true name for what is blocking an artist, and it could be fear of failure, or fear of success, or even fear of abandonment, which has roots in childhood. Maybe becoming an artist was to go against what your parents wanted for you. So there's this lingering guilt that carried over into adulthood. She also highlights these two ideas the need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist. The need to produce a great work of art makes it hard to produce any art at all. No-transcript, and she ends this section with the only cure for fear, and that is love. Love your inner artist. Take baby steps to get started. Ask for help from your higher power, your friends who support you, and from yourself.

Jennifer Logue:

Enthusiasm this may be my favorite section in the book, the one on enthusiasm, and Cameron opens it up by outlining the dangers of aligning your artistic self-image with discipline. I'll read a passage to better explain. As artists, grounding our self-image in military discipline is dangerous. In the short run, discipline may work, but it will only work for a while. By its very nature, discipline is rooted in self-admiration. We admire ourselves for being so wonderful. The discipline itself, not the creative outflow, becomes the point that part of us that creates best is not a driven, disciplined automaton functioning from willpower with a booster of pride to back it up. This is operating out of self-will. She goes on to say that being an artist is more about enthusiasm than discipline. Enthusiasm is a loving surrender to our creative process and it means filled with God. So, rather than being a disciplined automaton, our inner artist is our inner child, our inner playmate, and joy will form a lasting bond, not duty. But it is a balance. I mean we still need to take care of the quantity of our work and let our higher power take care of the quality. So we still need to show up, but it's all about how we furnim it. She gives this example, saying to her inner artist I'll meet with you at 6am and we'll goof around with the script, sculpture, song, whatever it is you're working on. The more we treat our work like play and make our process fun, the more likely we are to stick with it Creative U-turns. So the next concept Cameron addresses is very important for those of us in artistic recovery the creative U-turn. We can't sabotage our progress, all this progress we've made so far with the Artist's Way.

Jennifer Logue:

A great quote here is a productive artist is quite often a happy person. This can be very threatening as a self-concept to those who are used to getting their needs met by being unhappy. That actually may be my favorite quote in this chapter. We need to let go of the fringe benefits we enjoyed as blocked artists. Like maybe we've become addicted to sympathy. We'd rather be a victim, a blocked artist, than having to constantly be productive and healthy.

Jennifer Logue:

A creative U-turn can show up as a wave of indifference, like in my case. I can belittle the progress I've made with songwriting. I hadn't finished a complete song since the pandemic and having completed a few now, it's a huge leap forward for me creatively. But I could sabotage myself by saying, ah, it's not that big of a deal. Most other artists are so far ahead of you, why keep wasting your time? But we can't stop working. We have to keep moving forward.

Jennifer Logue:

She gives a few examples in the book. Maybe one will resonate with you. A screenwriter has an agent interested in repping a script with just a few changes, and the writer doesn't make the changes. Or a painter gets invited to his first group show and picks a fight with the gallery owner and this happened to me. A lyricist works with a new composer and they write three great songs together, and then they stop working together. I mean, and now I'm thinking maybe I should be reaching out to my favorite songwriting collaborators again you have to be persistent, cameron advises.

Jennifer Logue:

When faced with a creative U-turn, ask yourself who can I ask for help? The ego, as she says, always claims self-sufficiency and would rather be a creative loner than ask for help. So ask for help, so ask for help. Anyway, that's all I have for this episode of Creative Space. Next week we'll be diving into Chapter 10 of the Artist's Way, recovering a Sense of Self-Protection. If you're interested in checking out the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and doing the work on your own Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and Doing the Work on your Own, I've linked to it in the show notes. My name is Jennifer Logue. Appreciate you taking the time to listen to Creative Space. Until next time, thank you.

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