Blessings from The Artist’s Way
By Nancy Rorke
Sometimes I am my own worst enemy. I sabotage myself by not listening to that small, still voice within that guides me to greatness. Or what I believe would be great for me. Instead, I listen to my censor, consisting of my parents, my siblings, and my critical friends.
Often I think, Who am I to dream that I could make a difference with my writing? Who am I to believe that I can live a creative life? Do creative people have anxiety because when we were children we received negative comments whenever we told adults what we wanted to be?
When my artist daughter was four, she asked her father, “Daddy, do artists make any money?”
“Only if they’re dead,” he said.
I, of course, in the privacy of the kitchen, threatened murder if he uttered anymore discouraging remarks. But it was too late. It took her too many years to count before she picked up a paintbrush again.
When I was twelve a relative asked, “Why, with all the great writers, did I think I would have something to say?” Then I began to doubt myself. I don’t understand why some people discourage artistic dreams.
I frequently wonder why new writers forgo their vocation. Is it because we are constantly told that authors are born writers? The truth is that all writers struggle to learn the craft. Gifted artists, actors, dancers, musicians, performers, singers, writers, and all creative people practice their art.
Why won’t I allow myself to write badly? After all, it’s only practice? Why is it that I compare my beginning work with that of seasoned pros? What in God’s name is wrong with me? Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says we need to take a leap of faith, but it’s difficult for me to believe that God cares about my writing.
Another issue I have is that I only hear negative comments about my work and I negate the positive ones. Why can’t I just write for the sake of creating or for the joy that I experience when I write? Instead I think, Maybe it’s a waste of time. I can’t be a real writer because they make lots of money. Why did I believe that I could become the writer of my dreams? Could it be, because since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write?
Whenever I am discouraged, I remember Mrs. Palmer, my Grade 10 teacher. I asked her to look at a short story I’d written over the summer holidays, and she agreed. Three days later she told me that the head of the English department saw my story and he wanted me to join the Grade 13 writing club.
During numerous bouts of writer’s block I pull this compliment up and think they must have thought that I could write. Thank God for Mrs. Palmer and all my English teachers who always encouraged me.
I don’t know what led me to write this, but, for some reason, it appeared on my page this morning. Could it be blessings from The Artist’s Way that causes me to reflect on the page and take dictation from my soul?