It looked like I forgot about my 21 days challenges, didn’t it?
Well, no! The thing is that this one took far more than 21 days.
I started around september… I finished the book around february, because november-genuary I had to stop a lot (cleaning, painting, moving? No? )
One of the last “homeworks” is to recommend this book to a friend who needs to follow the artist’s way…
Anyway, I thought I could make the homework bigger and here I am talking about it to all (five? six? how many are you? :P) of you, instead than just one friend. Then it will be up to you if you want to read it or not.
To be honest I didn’t exactly finish it: other than recommending it, I have three more months of “morning pages”, that I have only recently started writing again… but they might be really helping.
So, let’s put some things in order. The book is organized in 12 weeks, each week faces a theme/problem, analyzes it and gives exercizes to learn to face it and maybe get over it. A constant, in these 12 weeks, is “morning pages” (a diary to write, three pages a day, in the morning… Like Dumbledore’s pensieve: you empty your mind, you download in it all the “I dreamt this” “I have to do that” “we need to buy milk”. Then it slowly becomes an habit, and you can dig a bit deeper), the other constant is the “date with the artist” (a real date with yourselves, an hour or a day a week, where you take care of your “creative inner child”, you nurture and nourish it, playing with clays, taking a walk, going to a museum… anything that gives your creativity some bubbles and that compells you to play).
Other exercises vary along the way. I have something to say about these: many things didn’t make me go “wow!” as I expected, simply because it was stuff I had already been through, due to all the “self help techniques” I had already tried (and if you’re a little skilled in this you’ll probably already know many), anyway going back to basics is never wrong, most of all if it’s part of a process. Moreover I also doubted myself: was I doing it all in a shallow way? Sometimes I was, I wrote my pages and did my exercises just because “I had”; just to get to the end of the chapter and get straight to the end of the book.
Though at some point you’re told to read up what you’ve wrote and take notes… and I noted I went deeper than I thought… and that I learned to enjoy the moment without thinking only of the ending line.
This doesn’t mean that getting to the end, having followed everything without dropping out (in spite of the long interruption) and still being here writing my morning pages, is a good feeling: I concluded, on my own, this path. It’s a good starting point to be able to tell myself “I can do it again”, with whatever it will be.
My advice to you is a “study group”: it’s also one of the last exercises, but I had it all along, and it’s such a great help. A friend reading the book with you, with whom you can exchange emails, opinions or simply check “have you done your exercises?”, a group of friends that may not be following the book, but who might be sharing projects and goals (creatives and no). Priceless support 😉
In the end: would I recommend this book? I don’t know… if you feel like you’re stuck try to look for reviews, previews, go to the library or to a book store to browse some pages: if it calls you it should be yours, if it pushes you away it should be yours nonetheless, if it tells you nothing maybe it’s not the right time or you don’t need it.