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Oh wow, you guys. We are ALMOST DONE! How's everyone doing?

I very stupidly came home from a work trip and FORGOT TO POST for three days; I don't know if this counts as a Cameronian U-Turn or not. I'm really sorry either way! I'm going to go ahead and late-post Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday now :(

Cameron begins the chapter with a discussion of the importance of faith, which for the purposes of this book seems to be a mix of “clear goals” and “trust in the process.” It's important, she says, to give our ideas some space and time to grow – she compares our ideas to embryos, stalactites, eggs, and root vegetables and reminds us that being in the dark is part of the process. She suggests lots of doodling and messing around and fewer outlines for people who tend to spend a lot of energy forcing their creative work in various ways.



Personally, I don't have any trouble messing around and a lot of difficulty completing things. I've found that I have to set deadlines and “tasks” for myself, and find people to whom I can be accountable, in order to move past the Mysterious Gestation Zone and into the light. That's part of the reason why schedule-based things like the morning pages are helpful to me.

Trust your own sense of what works, take a break from what doesn't, and experiment with new methods when you get the chance. When you know what your most effective tools are, hang them on the wall – schedule a reminder, write them in your morning pages, do whatever helps you stay aware of them.



In the section called “The Imagination At Play,” Cameron talks about the importance of play and recreation, the experience of remembering old long-forgotten creative activities such as dancing or painting sets in high school, and concludes that we are intrinsically creative. You can think of this in the way Cameron does, as being created for a purpose or “intended” to be something, or you can think of it as a human capability, like language, that improves with cultivation.



A side note: I've read a lot of criticism of Cameron, because I often feel like critcizing Cameron ,and the one complaint that I can't get on board with is the idea that it's stupid to say that everyone is creative. Can I talk about this for a second?

“Everyone is creative” is not as obviously meaningless as people like to pretend. The claim isn't that every one of us can and should be J. K. Rowling or Picasso, it's that humans are creative. That's no more meaningless or laughable than saying “humans use language” or “humans have spines.” You don't have to be an artist if you don't want to be – any more than you have to be a physicist or a mathematician or a chess player. But creativity ISN'T different in kind from physics or engineering or talking about celebrities or forming clan groups or playing chess. It's not a rare condition. It's just the human brain at work.

Many hands in a cave painting

(The same thing happens with statements like “everyone is unique;” they get treated as ludicrous self-contradictory platitudes instead of the non-controversial neurological facts they are).



Anyway, I like this part:

We want to do something, but we think it needs to be the right something, by which we mean something important

We are what's important[.]


Finally, setbacks happen. Avoid them if you can, and don't let them crash you in any case. Cameron suggests thinking of them as a test of your resolve – I'd just as soon say “shit happens” and move on. Morning pages, if you decide to continue them, can be a tool for dealing with, anticipating, and thinking clearly about setbacks of all kinds.

Don't forget to ask for support where needed and be aware of how the people in your life relate to your creativity. Which friends will support you no matter what? Which friends will be straightforward if you need them to be? I don't share Cameron's zero-tolerance attitude toward cynics and skeptics; I think a bullshit detector (your own or a friend's) is critical to the success of any self-help program. But it's a good idea to keep track of who makes you feel bad about your creativity and set some boundaries where you can.

Since it's the last week, spend some time planning for next week. What are you going to do differently once the workshop is over? What tools will you keep?

One last week of morning pages and artist's date! Don't forget to do them!
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