Week 1: The Artist's Way

Week one is about getting in touch with the critics in your life, not necessarily in reality, although that is possible, but metaphorically. Julia Cameron provides the background for why this lesson is here, then presents the student with a series of tasks to be completed over the week.

Tasks one and two are the morning pages and the artist’s date. The morning pages I did 6 of the 7 days this week. The one day I missed was due to an absolutely splitting headache, and since I couldn’t sit upright for longer than ten minutes, I gave myself a pass on morning pages. The artists date is today, actually. I am going to the Quilt Show in Reno. I’ll admit I am not at all sure if this one jives with the intent of the exercise since it seems the point of the artist date is to step away from your medium, and quilting is medium adjacent, since I do sew and that is my art. But it’s what I’m doing, and I’m hoping Julia would say just like the morning pages, there’s no wrong way to do the artist’s date.

Now, I’m not going to spell out specifically what the tasks are, again, copyright protections in place for Ms. Cameron (which I wholly support…PAY YOUR ARTISTS!) But I will write out my reactions. And I’ll say this one was tough for me, but not for the reasons one might suppose. It was tough because I long ago toughened my skin against critics. Maybe it’s growing up with the Internet. Not as in it was always there, the way it has been for Millennial’s. But I mean, I literally grew as the Internet grew. So I learned rapidly that with anonymity, EVERYONE is a critic. And so I learned to shrug off anonymous voices as irrelevant.

However, I was able to complete the tasks as assigned by going personal. Even that was a stretch for me though, as again, having learned to shrug off the anonymous masses, I’ve also learned to disregard unwarranted criticism. Mostly. I can still be derailed by unsolicited opinions. And Julia was not wrong when she warned that during your morning pages, you might find your own inner critic popping it’s head above otherwise calm waters and throwing it’s two cents in. And when that happened, I immediately went in to my mantra’s about why the critic was wrong.

So week one is not just about acknowledging the critics. It’s learning how to acknowledge your own worth as an artist. I think. At least, that’s the lesson I’m taking from this week..