The Artist’s Way Recap (or 12 Weeks Later)

I previously blogged about how the podcast I work for was doing a group to support each other through the 12 week process of “The Artist’s Way”. I’ve attempted to complete “The Artist’s Way” a few times in the past but I usually didn’t make it beyond week 2 or 3. But having an accountability group really helped to keep me on track and this past week I completed the full 12 week journey.

I’m pretty proud of myself for making it through the entire thing. I’m pretty stubborn when I set my mind to things, but this was something that for some reason I wasn’t able to complete before. I don’t know what was holding me back, but clearly there was some block happening that was making me quit each time I tried. And the irony on how the journey is about unblocking yourself wasn’t lost on me.

The two main elements of “The Artist’s Way” for me were the morning pages and the artist date. The artist date was a bit odd for me. There are a lot of things I do each day that make me happy. I don’t usually set aside a time each week to do something like that since I try to do things every day. But I did try to do something each week that felt a bit more special than the usual things that I would do. That could be going to the Pantages for our shows, going to a movie screening, or just sitting on the couch and watching something on Netflix that I’ve been wanting to watch. I think it will be easy enough for me to keep up the weekly artist dates because it is not that far removed from what I’ve been working on with my therapist.

The morning pages were something totally different. When I was in high school, I kept diaries. These were done every night at the end of the day and I would recap what happened that day. It was a great way for me to work out my thoughts and to decompress. Now I have this blog (although I do still keep some things private to me). I don’t keep a diary and don’t feel the need to do so.

The morning pages are supposed to be 3 pages of freeform writing each morning. I’m not a huge fan of handwriting because my writing is so sloppy, but it’s encouraged to handwrite the morning pages instead of typing them. And even though these could be stream of consciousness pages, I still wanted to write in full sentences with proper grammar. I did get frustrated when I made a mistake or spelled something wrong and had to cross it out. I like to do things perfectly and I hate seeing mistakes.

I totally struggled with my morning pages. I take a while to wake up in the morning and I didn’t want to write as soon as I was up. I tried to get my pages started within 15 minutes of waking up and I usually could do that. But more days, I was using it as a diary like I had in high school. I would recap what the past day was like and I didn’t have much else to say. Occasionally I would write about a weird dream I had the night before, but most of the time I didn’t know what to write.

There were plenty of pages filled with me writing how I didn’t know what to write or how I wasn’t loving the morning pages. It got me through the 3 pages on those days I couldn’t think of anything to write, but I know that doing that is not the goal of the morning pages. But when I don’t have any other ideas of what to write in the morning, I didn’t want to try to figure it out for a long time. I had things to get done in the morning and couldn’t spend an hour trying to get 3 pages done.

Besides the artist dates and morning pages, there was a chapter to read each week and questions and ideas at the end of each chapter. I dedicated a bit of time each Sunday to read my chapter and to work on the questions. Most of the time, I kept my answers to the questions to myself. Sometimes I would share (or they would inspire me to write something on here), but the journey is a personal one.

Now that I’m done with all 12 weeks, I’ve been reflecting back a bit on what the journey did for me. I don’t necessarily feel more creatively open in my life, but I do feel more open in general. I’ve been more relaxed in what could be a stressful and uncertain time for me. I’m a planner and not being able to plan for things next month could easily bring out some OCD tendencies in me. But I’m happy to see that I’m not experiencing that and that I’m more open to see what will happen.

I’m also in a better morning routine than I was before. I’ve been working hard at getting up at the same time every morning. It’s not easy, especially when I have a tough night or am out late. But I really want to be more consistent in my wake up time every day so it doesn’t feel as tough in the mornings. At the beginning of the 12 weeks, there were plenty of days that I overslept past my alarm. It usually was only oversleeping by 30 minutes to an hour, but that was affecting my morning. But now, I’m usually getting up within 5-10 minutes of my alarm going off and I’m not hitting the snooze button. The latest I have slept in this month was 10 minutes after my goal wake up time. That’s so much better than an hour.

While I did have some victories over my 12 week journey, it wasn’t as life altering as I expected it to be. But when I reached the end, that actually was discussed in the book. Some of the changes in my life might have been during those 12 weeks and other might not happen until a year or so later when I reflect back on things. And I have a feeling that will be exactly how things work for me. When I started my Spark Planner/Ink+Volt Planner, I didn’t notice the results the same way at the beginning as I did when I reflected back at the end of the year. I need time away from the process to see the change that I’ve been able to make.

I’m very proud of myself for completing all 12 weeks. I’m glad I stuck with it and I’m so grateful for the other people from the podcast who did this journey with me. And I now have friends who are about to start the 12 weeks and I’m excited to see what they are able to do. While I don’t plan on necessarily continuing my morning pages and artist dates regularly, it’s good to know that I have those habits to go back to if I need them. And I might try to do this again for the first 12 weeks of 2018 just so I can see how I change over this year.

No matter what I do, I finally can say that I completed the entire “The Artist’s Way” journey and that’s something that I haven’t been able to say before. It’s an accomplishment that I’m so happy with and I know that it will only do amazing things for me.

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