Reclaiming Creativity: The Beginnings

by | May 8, 2018 |

I’m in the process of reclaiming creativity, and I want to share my journey for any tips you might find useful.

Reclaiming Creativity Tip #1: Your Need is Your Need

If you feel the need to reclaim your creativity, then you do. Simple as that.

I can’t tell you why, exactly, I feel this need. However, I can say that in writing the blog about Billionaires and Dukes last month I remembered a phrase that had been rattling around in my brain for years: vein of gold. I first ran across it in Julia Cameron’s The Artists’ Way.

Julia Cameron is my favorite writer for writing inspiration. I’ve written about her before. According to Cameron, an artist’s vein of gold is “the territory of experience and possibility that is indelibly theirs.”

So, on a whim, I went online and bought The Vein of Gold. A Journey to Your Creative Heart. Like in The Artist’s Way, Cameron assigns very specific exercises.

reclaiming creativity

I happen to be at the very beginning of the exercises. In fact I’m on page p. 78 out of 436, which means that I’m in only the first of seven kingdoms, namely The Kingdom of Story.

Reclaiming Creativity Tip #2: Take a Walk

In her opening pages Cameron recommends walking as an important activity for artists. I was delighted.

I have recommended walking as a writing tip. First, we writers need to get out of our cars and experience our world at street level. Second, we need to get away from our desks and get moving so that our back brains can work on whatever creative problem drove us from our desks in the first place.

Cameron’s take is spiritual. She writes, “I believe that the ground is the being of God, and it speaks to our souls through our soles. Do not think I am kidding here. Please do not imagine that the puns are merely facile.”

Walking – physically, psychologically and spiritually – grounds us.

Reclaiming Creativity Tip #3: Write Morning Pages

Ugh. Morning pages. I remember them from The Artist’s Way. You’re to write out – long-hand, mind you – three pages every morning. It doesn’t matter what you write. I regularly complain how all the writing makes my hand hurt.

So I’m kvetching all I want – but, more importantly, I’m doing the pages.

Mostly I write random thoughts about the goings-on in my life, and now I’m beginning to see morning pages as useful slough.

Get rid of the drivel so you can get to the good stuff.

Reclaiming Creativity Tip #4: Go on an Artist’s Date

This is another tip I remember from The Artist’s Way. The idea is to take yourself on a date once a week for an hour and do something just for you with no particular purpose. You could go to a hardware store and marvel at all the tools you have no idea how to use.

Added benefit to walking: I’m out and about so much I easily go on artist’s dates.

Reclaiming Creativity Tip #5: Create Your Narrative Timeline

This exercise is new to me. You divide your life up into periods of five years and record various things about what you remember from each period. Cameron offers prompts for each of the periods, such as for the Years 5 – 10 “My best friend was” and “My favorite teacher was” and so forth. Cameron says that the timeline should be about 25 pages and should take a month to do.

Two things:

First, before buying the book I read one reviewer who wrote something like, “I hated this book, especially the Narrative TimeLine, and I have to admit that the book and especially the timeline got my creative career back on track.”

I began on April 19 thinking I would breeze through the timeline. Instead, like the reviewer I just quoted, I am finding myself very resistant to the exercise. It’s more effortful and less fun than I thought it would be.

Second, this morning while working on the timeline, I had an Aha moment. In this activity you dredge up the past so that you can turn the psychic soil over and plant new stuff.

So, although on the face of my writing life I look productive, some part of me was evidently calling out for a course correction. So that part of me did myself a favor by steering me toward The Vein of Gold.

For more advice on beginning to write a novel of your own, visit my complete guide for writing a book.

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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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