I'm in a Book Club right now, which is my FIRST BOOK CLUB EVER - if you don't count high school English which is basically an involuntary book club - but NOT THIS.
We are reading The Artist's Way, studying how to open our creative flow - a twelve week course to recover our creativity from limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, and other inhibiting forces. I believe creativity to be feeling highly impressionable and then turning the influences into something. Into art, into action, into love. I feel this book is basically a direct application of The Gospel.
I believe feeling creative is very important for every person. I've always held to a personal objective that I won't strive for happiness in my life, but I will strive for creativity. Because happiness is like chasing a pretty butterfly, which I tried once in real life and it was no doubt the most ridiculous thing to an onlooker - running in crooked circles with crossed eyes and never catching one of those things. But aiming for creativity is full of traction - it always lead to a more enlightened place, offering a much more satisfying array of emotions. When I'm creative at work - I'm innovative. When I'm creative in relationships - I'm lively. I feel so passionate and happy and life-can't-hold-me-down! And that radiates to other people, and connects me to God, and propels me forward. I can even turn my sorrow and grief into a creative piece, making even my darkness purposeful. Happiness isn't that inclusive.
Creativity also holds no discrimination. Doesn't matter your gender, age, class, race, status, or whether or not you regularly shave your legs. It just is for every being. IF we can remove the blocks that hide it from us. And here's to me, and four other ladies, attempting to do that every Saturday morning at 9 am.
Well, one of the questions I asked in Book Club this morning was - what specific area of creativity are we each choosing to apply all this new skills and ideas? Because without a clear place to hone our efforts, I don't really find theorizing all that useful. SORRY SOCRATES. All of us gals said writing. Which makes sense because I met Allie - the coordinator of our group - through blogging. And she met all these other girls through their blogs as well. And now look where our creative writing led us - real life, lady-dating friends! Creativity WORKS.
I should be a marketer for self-help concepts.
Anyway, then we proceeded to talk about how our writing is blocked because we each fear the thoughts and judgments of other people. We asked each other how we each shimmy out from that fear, but each of us felt that it was a stop-and-go process for us. Sometimes a blaring middle don't-care finger to the world! And other times a shy retreat of insecurity. So hopefully this book will help all of us find a surefire solution.
As for my writing. I've been appearing less here, and more in my private journal to quickly freewrite everyday - my thoughts, disappointments, happiest moments. I watched an amazing TedTalk that said the way to rewire a brain into being habitually more positive is to record 3 gratitude's and a favorite memory of every day (must watch here). So I am.
Well, this book supports that exact idea of daily freewrites as the MOST important tool - terming it "morning pages." Just purging our thoughts every morning - paying no matter to the coherency or grammar. Just decluttering, so we can proceed with the day with a clean and ready slate. My best friends, Chelsea, Emily, and Steffanie, and I have freewrites dated all the way back to when we were 9 years old. We used to lie on Chelsea's bed, each with a scrap of paper. Then we'd set a timer and just write the single words that came to our minds in a successive flow. And if the same word kept coming, we'd keep writing it until a new word came. Then time was up, and we'd read them aloud to each other, laughing and laughing. It'd sound something like this: purple, peacock, feathers, pillow, sleep, sleep, sleep, dream, flying, pigs, bacon, hungry, face, face, face, face, ALIENS. So, I find Morning Pages - freewrites - nonsense written ramblings - to be very important, and rather fun.
The author also says the second strongest tool for creative flow is an Artist Date. A two hour time period to yourself every week that is entirely uninhibited by people, demands, tasks. Just you experiencing something entirely alone, able to fill up on your own voice. Going to a local church and listening to gospel music. Going to an ethnic event and trying new food. So we each chose an Artist Date for ourselves this week. Mine - sitting in my bedroom with the door closed and writing. Which is what I'm doing now, and I'm determined to make more of a priority.
Here's to opening the creative airway.
Upward and onward,
Some of the Book Club gals are here, here, and here.