In The Final Week of The Artist’s Way, We Learn To Surrender to the Creative Force Within Us
This week, The Artist’s Way reiterates the importance of faith over control. Throughout the book, Cameron has said that creativity in all its forms comes to us from a higher power. And that while we must put in the time and effort, we must also relinquish control to a force greater that ourselves. This force, Cameron says, whether you call it God, The Universe or The Higher Power, is working with us to help us achieve our creative goals.
As a lapsed Catholic, I have found this message hard to swallow, as the God I was taught to believe in required servitude and was not interested in what I or anyone else wanted. But Cameron promises that if we have enough faith to claim our goals, the universe will come to the party and support us.
However, Cameron says, we must be prepared for creativity to come in its own form and not expect it to answer to the schedule we set it. There will be times when we must let creativity lie fallow and allow it the time it needs to gestate. Creativity cannot be forced and will not answer to the deadlines we set for it. We cannot squeeze 10 minutes of “quality time” into a hectic daily schedule and expect to have a good relationship with our artist child. Real life children won’t accept those conditions so why should the little artist that lives inside ourselves?
While our creativity is in hibernation, Cameron suggests, that we turn our attention to mundane tasks. Gardening, sewing or cleaning out our wardrobes gives our creative minds a break. Free from the pressure of having to perform, creativity will bubble away in the background and make its appearance when it’s ready.
But Cameron warns of a phenomenon that seems to arise just when our creativity has returned and we are about to go gangbusters with a new story idea, a role in a coveted play or return to that water colour we abandoned months ago. This phenomenon is what Cameron calls “The Test,” and is a particularly nasty and vicious little arrow aimed straight at your creative heart.
And I have had one hell of a test lately.
A couple of months ago, at the height of the pandemic, I announced to my husband that I would like to concentrate on writing my novel for the next few months. I lost my job just before COVID, but even if work became available, I told him I would like to stay home and put all my time and effort into writing my novel. Give it a red-hot go.
My husband, who was in a secure and well-paid job where he could work from home, gave me his full support. He said he was happy for me to put all my efforts into my novel and that I probably wouldn’t be able to find a job at this time, anyway.
But the following month, he walked out on me and our two sons to live with his new partner and her family.
While the time and effort I wanted to put into my new novel has been hijacked by the devastation this caused, I will not be deterred from my goal to complete two novels by the end of the year. But rather than having the luxury of being supported while I do this, I am going to have to balance writing with all the other responsibilities of life.
That’s OK. I’ve done it before.
For my artist’s date, I am going shopping for an ergonomic desk. I spend a lot of time writing and it is important that I have a desk that gives me the support I need. The second-hand chipboard bench my husband left behind sits too high and is causing me back problems.
And it simply won’t do anymore.
This is the last blog in this series, The Artist’s Way: My 12-Week Journey. Set during a time of seismic personal and global upheaval it has certainly been an interesting ride. Through it all, the morning pages and the artist’s dates have kept me grounded and focused on my writing goals. As has the support of the writing community, who has allowed me to share my story and vent my feelings and some ill-advised prose.
Thanks for staying with me, and I wish you all the best on your creative journey.