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Robin: A Storyteller’s Tale

Two years ago, a fellow yogi and I e-mailed one another daily preparing for a retreat we were both attending. This correspondence continued over a 6-month time period. I saved all the e-mails thinking that I would compile them and put them in book form as a beautiful memory for both of us. This endeavor produced 63 double sided (8.5 x 11) pages. I realized with that exercise that writing a page a day is incredibly doable. So, why have I continued to make excuses for my non-existent writing life?

Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, describes this type of behavior as ‘shadow artists.’ Pent-up creativity flows sideways into other venues such as e-mails, telephone conversations (read Facebook and Twitter!) in an effort to clue the defiant artist that he/she is not living the fullness of his/her life. Whether it hearkens back to being discouraged from exploring art as a child, feeling incompetent or simply viewing the task as a waste of time, the idea of creation for its own sake rather than a manifestation of outcomes takes much courage to walk into.

As I choose to move my own shadow artist into the light, dusting off years of denial, complacency, and just plain laziness, I pray that this decision awakens the thrill of living within the juicy words on the page, finally out of my head with the potential to garner community and conversation.

[Photo credit here.]

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sarah #

    I am reading the fantastic Dorothea Brande. “Becoming a Writer”… which discusses a lot of what you write here. I’ve read so many books but I feel like this woman knows me, and her exercises are finally sorting me out! Even with two small children and a full time job I can find time to write… if I try.

    May 13, 2010
  2. good for you, robin! i’m trying to get back into the swing of daily writing, too. i ‘did’ the artist’s way a handful of years ago, but never made it past chapter 7. which is telling. although, at the time, i was working three jobs around my kids (incl special needs).

    i should probably dust that off again…right after draft 2 of my manuscript is complete!

    May 13, 2010
  3. I’ve learned that the hardest part of any project is just starting. Once started everything seems to flow.

    May 13, 2010
  4. I’ve taken to writing on my cell phone on the bus just to get some pages done on writing I want to do vs writing I have to do.

    May 13, 2010
  5. Sarah, I will have to take a peek at that book! Right now I am riding the wave of enthusiasm but I know at some point the tide will come in and I will be left in the middle somewhere of whatever I am writing and will need a gentle pressing forward.

    May 14, 2010
  6. go cathy go! I hope to be able to say I am finished WITH A FIRST rough draft of a manuscript soon. As the duties of a little one ease up, I see that this is ACTUALLY POSSIBLE to hope for!

    Ruth, I agree the initial push AND THE LULL in the middle are the WORST!

    Michelle, typing into your cell phone-that is COMMITMENT!

    May 14, 2010
  7. Awesome. I love The Artist’s Way for the very clear language she applied to the phenomenon of the ‘shadow artist’. I struggle with mine mightily and on a regular basis. I’ll be watching your journey and cheering you on! Maybe you’ll rub off on me in all the right place. 🙂 Thanks for being so brave and honest!

    May 16, 2010
  8. thanks feithline-I heard aline once that went something like “it’s not being brave if you are not a little scared’-very appropriate when it comes to writing!

    May 17, 2010

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