rejectionchallenge: (Default)
Remember those champions of your creative self-worth? Today, it's time to thank them.

Write a thank-you note to one or more of your champions. Use good stationary if you have it, or decorate plain paper to make it special.

If the only encouragement you have comes from within, or from music or the outdoors, write a letter anyway. If the trees don't understand you, they're no worse off for it. The important thing is that you tried.

Your thank-you note can be as long or as brief as you want. Mail it, care of yourself -- or send it directly to the person who encouraged you. Teachers tend to love getting thank-you letters. So do most writers and artists, even if they don't know who you are. If you send it to yourself, be sure to read it again when it comes back to you.

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
Your task today, if you're up to it (and as always, no need to post your answers or even say whether you've done it), is to imagine five alternative lives for yourself. Cameron lists "pilot, cowhand, physicist, psychic, monk" for herself, then lists a few dozen more possibilities. You might prefer to stick to five. It's up to you!

Other lives don't have to be something you think you'd be particularly good at or things you wish you'd done instead; they can be whatever occurs to you. Cameron then suggests picking one of your alt-lives to enjoy this week.

If you have a monkish alter ego like Cameron, you might spend some meditative time in a temple or church, a park, a library, or at home. Dream of being a park ranger? Take a day trip to the nearest state park and walk around purposefully, or price out equipment online. Have an alt life as a singer-songwriter? Visit a guitar store, make a demo recording, or just write your lyrics in a spiral notebook (with or without purple ink). The purpose of this exercise is just to have fun with one of these other lives.

Cameron tends to assume that her readers have a certain amount of money and access to resources, but it's possible to enjoy an alt-life from home, from a public library if you have one, or with a shopping list and a trip to the nearest chain retailer (there's no need to actually buy anything).

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
List three champions of your creative self-worth.

Be specific. Write down the good things that people have said and done to encourage you and your creativity, and the things within you that have helped your creativity thrive. Even small encouragements count. If you find it easy to filter compliments out of your memory and focus on the negative stuff, now is a good time to dig out and reconstruct some of those long-discarded affirmations. "Even if you disbelieve a compliment," Cameron says, "record it. It may well be true."

If you have a hard time finding champions in your own past and present, don't worry. Inspiring remarks by other artists, even if you haven't met them personally, are just fine. So is art and writing that gives you a feeling of permission -- and so is anything that inspires you.

Keep your champions near you. Don't discount them because there's a possibility they could be wrong. That isn't always for you to decide.

A reminder: Don't forget to schedule a date with your artist! If you feel like trying guided meditation this week, there are some easy and straightforward ones over here.

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
Take a look at those old enemies of your creativity, including your inner censor if you like. Pick one, and write a letter to the editor about why they are wrong about you and your work.

Unlike real letters to the editor, this letter has no word limit, so feel free to go into detail about just how wrong your enemy is and why.

You can write this letter in your own voice, or use another one. Fictional is ok. I like to do this exercise in the voice of a very young Amazon reviewer who thinks I am THE GREATEST MOST LIFE-CHANGING AUTHOR and is prepared to fling the vilest insults she can invent at anyone who dares to suggest otherwise. Because I have a lot of trouble championing myself, it helps to have fictional champions whom I don't directly identify with and therefore don't immediately resist. You can also write in the voice of a friend, a good teacher from real life, another artist whom you look up to -- whatever is easiest or most fun for you.

The important thing is to add a dissenting voice to the dialogue. The enemies of your creative self-worth have their opinions, but don't let them trick you into thinking they're the only voice worth listening to. Give someone else a say.

Once you've written the letter, send it to yourself, so that you'll get it in the future. Put it in an envelope and mail it, or schedule an email to arrive a few days or a week later. Be sure to open it and read it when it does.

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
Today, if you're up to it, find an image to represent your inner censor, if you have one. Whose voice is it that snaps at you when you try to write one of those affirmations from Monday? What is it that follows you around as you write or draw or design or play, warning you not to hope too much or expect anyone to care?

It could be one of your creativity's enemies from the past, or it might be an entity all its own, like the talking oil slick from Fern Gully, or a sardonic version of yourself, or this expressive Pallas' cat:

A very large grey cat bearing its teeth in a lopsided way


Use those affirmations as bait to get it out in the open -- if there's one you feel particularly resistant to, say it out loud or write it in big clear letters until your censor comes to stop you.

I am a brilliant and prolific artist.
Creativity is an important part of who I am
I deserve a rich and fulfilling creative life
I am willing to give my gifts the space and time they deserve
I am not afraid to nurture my creativity
I am an artist. I [crochet, paint, write, dance. . . ] with confidence and joy
I am a gifted [composer, poet, sculptor, fabric artist. . .]

Affirmations made out of negative thoughts ("blurts") can be especially good censor bait. You can describe your censor in words or use a found image if you prefer.

My inner censor is really several different voices. Last year, I chose to represent them as cartoon faces with bright, staring eyes. Some of them resemble people from my past, while others are nebulous future fictions.

Once you've brought your inner censor into the light of day, trash it like the no-taste-having joykiller it is. Slice a big X through it, or crumple it up and throw it away.

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
Sometime today, list three old enemies of your creative self-worth.

These might be people. They might have meant well, or not. What did they do or say to you? Why did it stick with you all this time?

They might also be things like anxiety, events that were no one's fault, or events that don't have an obvious connection to your creativity.

Cameron suggests that you go into as much detail as you can about these enemies. She frames this as "time travel," exercise -- an excavation of the past -- but it may be that some of the enemies of your creative self-worth are new. The relationship between old and new enemies can be complex.

"This is your monster hall of fame," Cameron writes."More monsters will come to you as you work through your recovery. It is always necessary to acknowledge creative injuries and grieve them."

Some of our injuries are so old or so seemingly trivial that it may feel worse to acknowledge them than it felt to let them be. But noticing a wound is an important first step to healing it, and not all things that hurt are harmful in the long run. Do this if you're up to it -- remember, there's no need to say whether you did this task or not.

Did you do your morning pages today?

Even though they're called morning pages, no one will tell if you get to them after noon. There's still time to do them for today, even if it's already evening when you read this. Give it a try!
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
Phew! Ok, let's get started. During the first week, we'll work on identifying, understanding, and altering the negative thoughts we have about our creativity.

A lot of us live in cultures where after a certain age, the majority of our energies are expected to go toward earning a living, developing a career, and / or taking care of a family. These are often categorized as “adult” concerns. Drawing, painting, making music, crafts, writing, and other forms of creativity are expected to be turned into lucrative careers or pushed aside to make room for some other kind of work. Young people discussing college plans are inevitably asked what they plan to “do with that,” meaning, “How will you use your education to earn money and secure employment?” We're encouraged to think of our creativity in the same way, and to evaluate it first as an economic asset. Will it look good on a resume? Will it help you in an interview? Well, what good is it, then?

Because of this, and because it can be hard to earn a living from art, young artists get discouraged early and often. Want to be an actor? Good luck ever eating again. Visual art major? Don't you mean art therapy or art education? So you write poetry, huh? A chapbook, is that a thing? Is the title Do You Want Fries With That?

HA HA HA, GET IT? IT'S FUNNY, BECAUSE FRIES. )

This week, when you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about your creativity, write them down. Cameron calls them “blurts.” You can think of them as bricks in a wall, lines of barbed wire, traps, or just as nasty remarks there was no call for.

Take some time to investigate them – where do they come from? Did someone give them to you? Family members, teachers, friends and significant others, random strangers, books and other media can all produce blurts in abundance.

Once you've written them down, you have the option of editing your blurts into positive affirmations. “I have no talent” is one crossed-out word from “I have talent.” “It's too late for me” becomes “It's not too late.” When your blurts are in front of you, instead of inside you, they can be altered, improved, and reversed like any other sentence. Write the new affirmations over again, or say them out loud. Try to do this all week, after you write your morning pages or any time you hear your inner censor.

Daily tasks begin tomorrow. Don't forget to go on a date with your artist sometime this week, and do your morning pages every day!
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
By a vote of three to one to one, the comm remains entirely unlocked. I'd also like to apologize for missing the last couple days' posts; too-busy early mornings. I can't wait till my work schedule is back on four-to-midnights.

Your task today, if you're up to it (and as always, no need to post your answers or even say whether you've done it), is to imagine five new lives for yourself. Cameron lists "pilot, cowhand, physicist, psychic, monk" for herself, then lists a few dozen more possibilities. Write down whatever occurs to you; do not overthink this.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Today's task, if you're up to it (and you don't have to comment here with the results, nor even say whether you did it, if you don't want to), is to write a letter to the editor regarding one of Sunday's old enemies, concerning why they are wrong about you and your work. Mail it to yourself, or write an email scheduled to be delivered to you at a later date (a few days to a week is probably good), or write it down and put the note somewhere you'll find it eventually.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
I'm going to let the poll about locking the comm run another two days. Meanwhile, today's task, if you're up to it (and you don't need to post your response if you don't want to), is to list 'three old champions of your creative self-worth', being as specific as possible about what they did or said. Cameron says every compliment counts, even if you don't believe it—it might, after all, be true.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Today's task, if you're up to it, is to list "three old enemies of your creative self-worth", being as specific as possible about what they said or did. Cameron says creative injuries, like physical ones, must be acknowledged in order to heal.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic. —Susan Jeffers

One of the most important things we as artists needs, says Julia Cameron, is support. We don't often get it. A child dreaming of being an actress is warned that she will more likely be a waitress; a child dreaming of being Jo Rowling is informed that there's very few of Jo Rowling.

However true these statements may be, they're the last thing this artist child needs to hear, whether from her parents or her friends or her entertainment (hi, every mention of Penny's artistic aspirations on The Big Bang Theory) or her self.

This week's task is to identify the negative beliefs we hold about our own creativity, and their sources if possible, and replace them with positive beliefs.

Some common negative beliefs: )

Beliefs are not facts. Negative beliefs are attacks on whatever vulnerabilities you have, and the unconscious aim here is to keep you scared.

Cameron recommends the use of positive affirmations to counter the negative beliefs we hold about ourselves. Try saying some of these out loud: "I deserve love." "I deserve fair pay." "I deserve a rewarding creative life." "I am a brilliant and successful artist." "I have rich creative talents." "I am competent and confident in my creative life."

Or try writing this ten times in a row, with the appropriate noun substituted for 'artist' and your name in its place: "I, Name, am a brilliant and prolific artist."

my lines )

Hear that? That is the sound of your inner censor saying "no you're not". Listen for a few minutes. (I hear scoffing at the quantity of my creative output—anyone can write a few-hundred-word scene; what takes real talent is writing a novel, which I haven't done. I hear scoffing at the quality of my creative output—if it were any good I'd have a substantial audience, which I don't. I hear scoffing at the fact that everything I've written is fanfiction or self-published short stories—if I were a real writer I'd be traditionally published.)

Write down the things you're thinking: Cameron calls these 'blurts'. She suggests you try to figure out who in your life gave you those ideas; for me, it's my mother who said fanfiction and self-published works aren't real writing. I wouldn't worry too much about the sources (though perhaps I say that because I can't figure out what the other sources are).

Now, convert each blurt into a positive affirmation. 'I have no talent' becomes 'I am talented'. 'Self-published work is not real writing' becomes 'Self-published work is real writing'. Write or recite these when you're done your morning pages and any time a blurt pops into mind.

Don't forget to go on a date with your artist sometime this week, and do your morning pages every day!

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artistsway: Varicolored markers and white paper (Default)
Twelve-week creativity workshop!

August 2014

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