As is often the case, the chapter my group is reading in The Artist’s Way this week feels very synchronous to me. We’re in Week 11, which means just one more to go. This one’s about recovering a sense of autonomy, something artists often struggle with and something I feel like I’m finally getting my footing on. It’s also about being true to your “artist” personality rather than trying to fit into a mold that doesn’t feel quite right.

“As an artist, my self-respect comes from doing the work,” Julia Cameron writes, using the first person for effect. “One performance at a time, one gig at a time, one painting at a time.” This week I might add, “one book at a time.” She really taps into the feeling of being in stride with your artistic side when she talks about self-respect. It is immensely satisfying to be in that place.

“As artists, we are spiritual sharks,” Cameron writes later in the chapter. “The ruthless truth is that if we don’t keep moving, we sink to the bottom and die … The stringent requirement of a sustained creative life is the humility to start again, to begin anew.”

So true. That is why it is so challenging to break through blocks and weather rough patches. Because we perceive ourselves as stagnant and we don’t want that sinking feeling Cameron describes.

She also hits on her two tools that have been instrumental in my own creative success this last year or so — exercise (particularly walks) and morning pages. Cameron writes, “Exercise is often the going that moves us from stagnation to inspiration, from problem to solution, from self-pity to self-respect.” Yes, yes, yes. She also refers to morning pages as meditative, something that particularly resonates with me lately. Mine have gone from occasionally meditative to almost always meditative. The words just pour out and I can go to that place no matter where I am. It might very well be a case of practice makes almost perfect.

Thank you, Julia.