By Tiffany Matthews
There will come a time when you find yourself unable to write, not just for hours at end, but days and weeks. The worst is when those weeks stretch into months. By then, the screenÂs cursor constant blinking would become a taunting reminder that you have yet to type words, not even one word. If youÂre suffering from a serious case of writerÂs block, simple tips to beat blank page syndrome will no longer suffice. Badly burned out and drained of every last drop of creative juice? ItÂs time to call in the big guns.
The ArtistÂs Way by Julia Cameron
When a writer friend suddenly announced on Facebook that she was going to unplug and go away for awhile, I was concerned. I wondered what she could possibly be going through. I had my answer when she resurfaced online three long months later. Apparently, she had been dutifully following a 12-week program based on Julia CameronÂs book, The ArtistÂs Way. Judging from her relaxed and happier mood, the long break has been helpful in restoring her creativity as well as productivity. The program also helped her get over her major case of writerÂs block and gave her more insight on the artistic process.
Some people will not like everything about The ArtistÂs Way. The long period required to complete the program will not appeal to active writers–who are trying to survive daily life and–who canÂt afford to break off from work just for the sake of creativity. There are a couple of things in this book, however, that they can can still do–morning pages and artist dates.
Every day for the next 12 weeks, you have to pen three handwritten pages, all done first thing in the morning during a stream of consciousness, which means you canÂt look back at the previous pages you have written. If youÂre not a morning person, you might think twice about waking up early for this exercise. YouÂll probably wonder how you can write when youÂre still drowsy. Once you get started, however, youÂll be surprised to discover clarity and how easily you can fill up 3 pages. When you write, donÂt think, just let the words flow. Ramble if you must. When you read the sheets, youÂll find out that your true thoughts–some repressed–and find a way to resolve some of the issues that have been in your mind for a long time. This practice of morning pages also helps transform writing into more of a daily habit and makes the words flow easier.
ÂArtist Dates are assigned play.Â Once a week, you must embark on an expedition alone in order to explore what is of interest to you. It doesn’t have to be overly artistic, but it should fire up your imagination. An artist date should be fun and whimsical, something that encourages play. Art is all about the play of ideas, so open yourself to fun things that you want to try. When we experience something new or something that we enjoy, it helps fuel our creativity and build up another reservoir of inspiration that we can draw from. Artist dates replenish our creative juices, adding new ideas and images that bring us closer to our inner artist and craft new masterpieces.
Sometimes people dread spring, not because they are not looking forward to warmer weather but because itÂs time for spring cleaning. Cleaning your house from top to bottom until you drop can be therapeutic for writers and artists, not to mention productive. Just remember to invest in a good vacuum cleaner. The no-handles type can help you get rid of every speck of dust, even in those hidden corners under beds and furniture that you canÂt reach. Who knows, you just might get some great ideas while youÂre cleaning. Having a sparkly clean house also feels very rewarding especially after all the hard work you’ve put in. The actual spring cleaning helps relax your mental state and makes you feel refreshed. The more relaxed you are, the more your ideas will flow so you can now get back to work.
Spring cleaning isn’t just for the house. Sometimes, we need to apply it to ourselves so we can recharge and welcome new changes that will help us grow as writers and artists.