rejectionchallenge: (Default)
This is actually four related tasks from the book, combined into one for your convenience.

List twenty things you like to do. (If you listed these before, you can recycle that list!). Answer these questions for each:

Expensive, cheap, or free?
Alone or with somebody?
Job-related?
Physical risk?
Fast-paced or slow?
Mind, body, or spiritual [if that distinction makes sense to you; ignore it if not!]


Using that information, plan a perfect day in your life as it now is.

Then plan a perfect day in your life as you wish it were, no restrictions whatsoever.

Choose one festive aspect from that latter ideal day and allow yourself to live it. Maybe you can't live in Rome yet, Cameron says, "but you can have a cappuccino and a croissant" -- or write a poem, read a book or part of a book, choose a free wallpaper image, or listen to music that makes you think of Rome.

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
Pick a color and write a quick few sentences describing yourself in the first person with regards to the color. Like, "I am green, here are some traits green and I have in common." What is your / do you have a favorite color (does it change)? What do you have that is that color? Do you want more things in your favorite color, or would that oversaturate it?

Cameron keeps hinting that you should just go ahead and repaint a room somewhere, but I feel like she really doesn't understand how much work that is. But if painting a room, or a piece of furniture, is within your budget and sounds appealing, now is a good day to go for it.

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
There wasn't really enough Spiritual Path material in this chapter to merit a post, so I'm opening up a discussion / check-in thread. Talk about your progress or regress, complain about me or Cameron or me complaining about Cameron, or talk about what's been working / not working for you.

Search your feelings, interrogate the text from the wrong perspective, swap recipes, or just go back to bed and call it an artist's date. Anything goes in this special Artist's Way Extra Meta Post!
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
This one is, as previously noted, a bit of a doozy.

Name your dream. Cameron is murky on what constitutes a dream, but from context, this is meant to be a dream about something you want to accomplish or become. Write it down. "In a perfect world, I would love to ___."

Name one concrete goal that signifies that this dream has been accomplished; Cameron describes this goal as "true north" on the "emotional compass". For example, I might consider my goal accomplished if I get 80 rejections in a year. Someone else might want to write something that gets nominated for the Yuletide fanfiction exchange, or to make enough money from writing not to need another job. From the outside, their goal might look the same: "be a writer." But everyone's true north is (potentially) different.

To be perfectly honest, I read the "true north" part about eight times and I'm still not entirely sure I get it, but maybe others can elaborate?

In a perfect world, five years from now, where would you like to be in relation to your dream and true north?

In the present world, what action can you take this year to move you closer? This month? This week? Today? Right now? Like for example, today I can convert one longish story into a flash story that will be easy to rewrite and easy to reject quickly. Right now I can open up that file and cut one paragraph down to a sentence! Hold on, I'm going to do that now. . .

[. . .]

[. . .]

Ok, but wait, there's more! List your dream. List its true north. Select a role model, someone who has already achieved that dream and that true north. Make an action plan. Five years, three years, one year, one month, one week, now. Choose an action. Cameron emphasizes that reading this book is an action (because of course it is) & for those of you following along without a copy of your own, this counts too. But maybe don't use "reading this book" for all your actions; I'm just saying.

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
Pick three to five of these affirmations to work with this week, or make your own. Write them down and decorate them if you like. Listen to some music.


I am a talented person.
I have a right to be an artist.
I am a good person and a good artist.
Creativity is a gift I accept.
My creativity is a gift to others.
My creativity is appreciated.
I now treat myself and my creativity more gently.
I now treat myself and my creativity more generously.
I now share my creativity more openly.
I now accept hope.
I now act affirmatively.
I now accept creative recovery.
I now allow myself to heal.


If you've tried affirmations and they don't do it for you, skip right over them and listen to some music you haven't heard yet or haven't listened to in a while. Maybe hang out with some poetry if you like poetry.

Did you do your morning pages today?
rejectionchallenge: (Default)
I learn by going where I have to go – Theodore Roethke

So, a lot of things hurt. Growth hurts. Rejection hurts. So do impatient toleration, insincere praise, and lack of interest. So does realizing that something you were trying to make just isn't working right now. So does criticism sometimes, even if it's really good criticism that will help you in the end. In weight training, you learn that injury isn't just a roadblock on the way to strength – it's in an important sense intrinsic to it. You have to break yourself down in small ways in order to build back stronger.

Still hurts, though. )

'Cerebration' )

Gain disguised as loss )

"Do you know how old I'll be by the time I learn to play the piano?"
"The same age you will be if you don't."


There's a brief return to the idea that it's too early, or too late, to take up something new or pick up where you left off. This is shenanigans; creativity happens in the moment and the moment is whenever we say it is.

The most important thing is to keep taking small steps-- what Cameron calls filling the form. She doesn't explain this metaphor, but I guess it's like filling out the blanks on an application, one by one? The point is that a lot of people have worries about what might happen if they dedicated more of their lives to art – they'd have to move, there would be family drama, maybe they would lose friends, and then what if they wrote a whole novel and no one liked it? What if it's all for nothing? What if they become famous and then die, and Columbia University Press publishes all their second-person Jack Sparrow fanfic in a four-volume critical edition with copious footnotes and their ghost is embarrassed forever?

It's easy to worry about big-picture fears when we could be painting or sculpting or drawing or writing. “Contemplating the odds” is one way of avoiding taking small steps. Don't do it! Or at least restrict it to one evening a week, and leave the rest of the week for action.

There is (almost?) always one creative thing you can do, no matter how tiny. If you have five minutes or two minutes, you can sketch on a post-it note or a pad of paper (character-limited forms, like those on Facebook and Twitter, can be good for composing tiny stories or poems), jot down dialogue, mark down a tune that's been following you. Everything is made of something. Novels are made of words, paintings are made of brushstrokes, forests are made of trees which are made of branches and roots and leaves and bark and plant cells. Every step is a step. In fact, you should probably stop reading this and do a small creative thing right now.

Did you do your morning pages? Don't forget to schedule a date with your artist this week!
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
I'm combining four tasks from the book because they're related:

List twenty things you like to do. (These can be things you listed before or not.) Answer these questions for each:
Expensive, cheap, or free?
Alone or with somebody?
Job-related?
Physical risk?
Fast-paced or slow?
Mind, body, or spiritual?
Using that information, plan a perfect day in your life as it now is.

Then plan a perfect day in your life as you wish it were, no restrictions whatsoever.

Choose one festive aspect from that latter ideal day and allow yourself to live it. Maybe you can't live in Rome yet, Cameron says, but you can have a cappuccino and a croissant.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Pick a color and write a quick few sentences describing yourself in the first person with regards to the color. What is your favorite color? What do you have that is that color? What about an entire room? This is your life and your home.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Pick five of these affirmations to work with this week:

I am a talented person.
I have a right to be an artist.
I am a good person and a good artist.
Creativity is a blessing I accept.
My creativity blesses others.
My creativity is appreciated.
I now treat myself and my creativity more gently.
I now treat myself and my creativity more generously.
I now share my creativity more openly.
I now accept hope.
I now act affirmatively.
I now accept creative recovery.
I now allow myself ot heal.
I now accept God's help unfolding my life.
I now believe God loves artists.


Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most. —Fyodor Dostoyevski

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently. —Agnes de Mille

Imagination is more important than knowledge. —Albert Einstein

Artistic loss is inevitable, Cameron says. The poem is not accepted for publication, the book doesn't sell, the injury means sitting out of a series of dance performances, the criticism makes sense but not in a way that leads to improvement of the artwork. Artistic loss, moreover, is painful, is itself an injury, and like any injury must be properly treated in order not to scar over. It hurts too much, it's silly to cry over such a thing, it's embarrassing that it happened in the first place. And so we do not share the loss, we do not treat the injury, and the scar that forms there blocks our artistic growth.

Cameron discusses academia in relation to creativity. In short, there isn't much relation. "To be blunt, most academics know how to take something apart, but not how to assemble it." Even in those courses that try to teach creativity, she says, student work is viewed in terms of where it goes wrong rather than where it goes right. Artists, as she's been saying all book, need encouragement, not discouragement. Even, especially, from ourselves.

"Gain disguised as loss" is important, Cameron says. "Every end is a beginning", we know, but often we forget because the ending is so painful. But the beginning is the important part. "How can this loss serve me?" Cameron suggests we ask. "Where does it point my work?" Cameron describes her own filmmaking career: the first film of hers that was actually filmed, of many scripts that she created, is one she filmed herself independently, after a series of disappointments with the studios. "What next?" instead of "Why me?", she says she asked, and we should ask.

"Do you know how old I'll be by the time I learn to play the piano?" "The same age you will be if you don't." A lot of artists deny themselves the chance at learning something new because they say "I'm too old". Cameron calls this, like "I don't have enough money", a "Great Block Lie", designed specifically to prevent us from doing the new thing. "I'm too young" is another such. Cameron emphasizes that creativity occurs in the moment, and in the moment we are timeless. And those Great Block Lies all boil down to the simple fact that we're afraid. But the first step is always scary, and we can't take a second step without taking the first.

Cameron's next section is on "filling the form". This means, she says, taking the next small step instead of leaping ahead to the next big step. To sell a novel, write a novel. To write a novel, think of an idea and write a page at a time until it's done. "Filling the form" means writing that page a day. Or if you're not a writer, washing out your paintbrushes, practicing a recitation in front of a mirror, sketching a small scene. There is always one small creative thing that you can do every day. Do it. Don't fret about how you'll have to move to Hollywood if the script sells: aside from being untrue, how can it sell when you're too busy worrying about moving to write it? We see the forest and not the trees, the big picture and not the brushstrokes.

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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