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Artist’s Way 3: Week 1

Artist’s Way 3: Week 1

 

"Meow."

“Meow.”

Technically, this will be my fourth time doing the Artist’s Way process, but it’s the third time I’m documenting it on this blog, so we’ll go with three. Follow this (successful) attempt at the Artist’s Way process by searching for the hashtag #AW3. My last attempt was last year and I made it to Week 8 before I quit. I don’t even remember precisely what happened, but I’m sure a bunch of life stuff got in the way and I just ended up tossing the process out of the window. But now I’m back! And I just completed week one! I’ll be here every Monday for the this 12-week process giving a run down of my experience with the process. Heeeeeere we go…

Week 1 is all about recovering a sense of safety as an artist. Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) we do not express creativity because on some level, we are afraid of exposing a vulnerability. Sometimes art is very personal and it stings to have prying eyes and critical thoughts lurking around the most fragile bits of yourself. I’m currently getting back on the book-writing horse, so this is right up my alley.

The  margins of The Artist’s Way are peppered with inspirational quotes and my favorite one from the Week One reading is by Joseph Chilton Pearce.  He said “To live a creative life, we must lose the fear of being wrong.” Just touched my soul. Indeed. It’s scary to not only share your work with others, but to even get to the point of expressing your creativity to yourself. We have so many excuses as to why we “can’t” do creative things that make us happy. No time, no energy, blah, blah, blah.  We do have time. We just have to carve it out. I’ve found that the early morning is the best time for me because it allows me to start my day with purpose and if I left it for the end of the day it would never get done. I would always find something more “important” to do.

For this week’s Artist Date (a weekly solo, creative adventure as described in the book), I went to the kitty cat section of the local pet store and hung out with the felines. Cats are great. I own a 12-year-old cat and cats in those little cages like that have to get creative to keep themselves from utter boredom. It was great to be around all those super duper cutie pies and all of  their stinky awesomeness.

In addition to doing Morning Pages  (three pages of free-write) everyday and an Artist Date every week, I’ll also be doing two to three of the recommended tasks each week. I won’t always go into great detail with those because I want you to pick up the book and do your own stuff and also because some of this process is just for me. I’m sharing the journey because I hope it will inspire others to take the leap and give it shot too, but I don’t feel compelled to share every single part of it. So, suffice to say that I completed three tasks and I’m feeling good about this go-round.

If you are looking to delve a little more deeply into your creative side, I highly recommend that you join me on this journey. Welcome!

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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Writing Prompt: Describe Being a Writer

Writing Prompt: Describe Being a Writer

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Writer’s Relief posted the above picture on Facebook with the following caption: “Describe being a ‪#‎writer‬ without using the words ‘writer,’ ‘write,’ or ‘words.’ ‪#‎writingprompt‬ ‪#‎writinglife‬.” I’m always down for a good writing prompt, so I decided to share my (short) response here.

A somber-looking stranger on the train. The bewitching pre-dawn hours while alone at my desk. A long-abandoned building with “beautiful bones”  observed during a walk in the neighborhood. Any and all of these things could be the catalyst for my muse to alight upon my shoulder and whisper into my ear.  My mind starts churning, thoughts fill my head beyond capacity and I must (no, I really must) transfer those thoughts to page or screen. Sometimes those penned or keyboarded thoughts make it to a wider audience than my own two eyes.  In some bizarre corner of the universe, a company or a person will pay me for the privilege of baring my soul/art/modestly dressed thoughts to the masses.  It is then that my strokes and clicks are subject to the whims of a fickle public.

It’s a blessing and a curse.  Like Badu said, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.”  All good though. I’m always flabbergasted that anyone is interested in anything I have to say, much less pay for it. I’m grateful.

 
 

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Artist’s Way2: Week 8

Artist’s Way2: Week 8
The super moon.

The super moon.

Before I dig into Week 8, let me just say how beautiful the super moon was over the weekend. I was walking down the street in Harlem headed east at night and the moon looked like this big, beautiful, radiant, low-hanging fruit begging to be plucked and enjoyed. I love it when Mother Nature reminds us to slow down and take in her gloriousness.

So, back to Week 8….This week had THEE best task to date. The task was to write down a goal and where you envisioned yourself being with that goal in five years and then came the brilliant part. The task was to write down what you could do towards that goal in the next month, week, today and right now. YES! I love it.  This is  the work of turning your dream, your literal dream, into a reality. You have to put in the work. You have to figure out what the work is, how you value it and just do it.

I think we humans are all “creative types” in a sense, but for  those of us who have chosen to make a living off of creative pursuits, there’s a bit more at stake ego-wise and bank account-wise. You want to be that head in the clouds creative person who is only concerned with the integrity of the art, but you also have to pay the bills and that’s real.

I’m not passionate about every subject I write about, but I am passionate about writing. So, if I’m writing about some ho-hom or “low brow” subject, I’m still putting my everything into making it a well-written piece and at the end of the day, that’s what makes me happy as an artist/creative person.

I appreciate each and every single person that bothers to read, much less comment on my work. But when someone I respect/admire “likes” something I posted or when that person tweets me or emails me or sends me a note, that is just beautiful. You never know who is watching and for me, it is the fact that I am watching myself. I am my harshest critic. The possibility that other people read my pieces at all is very humbling and awesome.

Thank you.

 

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Creativity, Writerly Things

 

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The Artist’s Way2: Week 7

The Artist’s Way2: Week 7
The making of my current vision board.

The making of my current vision board.

Last week was a long, crazy and very busy week for me, so it was fitting that Week 7’s reading focused on regaining a sense of connection. I was being pulled in so many different directions, it’s very easy to lose sight of your personal or creative goals at such times.

My favorite quote for this week was from Martin Ritt. He said “I don’t have a lot of respect for talent. Talent is genetic. It’s what you do with it that counts.” Yes, sir. If you’re the best writer on earth, but you words never leave your personal diary, you’re not doing much to share your gift with the world, right? And even though it can be really scary, sharing my work feels good. Gotta work on pitching more this week, come to think of it.

Some of the tasks and exercises for Week 7 were related to essentially creating a vision board, so I skipped those. I already have a vision board. I think one is enough. It did remind me to get back on my calligraphy grind though.

For my Artist Date, I went to the Bronx Museum of Art. I was actually there for an urban policy event, but the museum made the exhibitions available for guests. It was cool just to be in the Bronx at all. I honestly haven’t  been there much outside of going to the Bronx Zoo, so it’s nice to see a bit more of the city than I normally do.

 

 
 

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Artist’s Way2: Week 6

Artist’s Way2: Week 6
"Guap"

“Guap”

Week 6 reading was largely about finding that sweet, beautiful intersection of doing what you love and making money.  Interestingly enough,  my manicure for that week (which I did for myself before I did that week’s reading) was money-green and I called it “Guap.”

Had some FABULOUS morning pages. Like, seriously fabulous. I got out some good ideas and uncovered  really interesting underlying reasons/motivations for things that have been brewing in my head as of late. One practical thing that came from the Week 6 tasks was writing down documenting every single penny I spent during the week. That’s basic budgeting stuff really, but I live in a neighborhood that has a number of cash-only establishments/services and so even though my bank statement will tell me very clearly how much I took out of an ATM, I don’t really know what I spent my money on precisely unless I make a point to keep track of those cash transactions. So, I appreciated that exercise and I’m going to continue that for at least 30 days to see where my money actually goes on a monthly basis.

Another very cool task for the week was sending postcards to five people. I have tons of pretty stationary, so   I opted for handwritten notecards over postcards. I’ll be mailing them out in the morning, so technically I didn’t execute that particular task until the following week, but the intention and spirit were there.

About to dig into Week 7 reading right now. Looking forward to it!

 

 
 

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Artist’s Way2: Week 5

Artist’s Way2: Week 5

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Honestly, I can’t write much about Week 5 because it’s way, Way, WAY too personal. Let’s just say that Week 5 was a very transformative week mmmkay? Dat about all I can say.

 
 

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Artist’s Way2: Week 4

Artist’s Way2: Week 4

POW

 

 

POW! That’s what Week 4’s reading was like for me. In my opinion, the Morning Pages are thee most important part of the Artist’s Way process and this week’s reading had some straight truth about them in there. Here’s a quote from the book:

Over any consierable period of time, the morning pages perform spiritual chiropractic. They realign our values. If we are to the left or the right of our personal truth, the pages will point out the need for a course adjustment.

True. I’ve been doing Morning Pages for a few years now, but it still amazes me that they are so powerful. I mean stuff that I didn’t even realize was swirling around my head comes right out on those pages. New ideas about how to tackle a particular issue appear out of thin air. I find myself uncovering layers of emotions about particular relationships. It’s good stuff, man. It can be a painful process at times, but it is ultimately a good thing for sure.

I try not to say too much about the specifics and focus on my feelings about things as I document this process because I want you to do the Artist’s Way process yourself, but I do want to point out certain things along the way.

This may sound really lame, but my Artist Date was to Staples. Organizational things get me excited and I needed (“needed”) a new label maker. Fun! Fun! Fun!

 

 
 

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