What To Do When the Creative Process Isn't Happening / by Chris Foley

Julia Cameron on how to get back on track when you don’t feel like creating:

It is only by courting humility that we stand a chance as artists. When we choose to join the human condition rather than set ourselves apart from it, we begin at once to experience relief. If we stop calling our writer’s block “writer’s block” and begin using words like “resistance” and “procrastination” we are suddenly no longer in rarefied territory.

One of the greatest disservices we can do to ourselves as artists is to make our work too special and too different from everybody else’s work. To the degree to which we can normalize our day, we have a chance to be both productive and happy. Let us say, as is often the case, we are resistant to getting down to work. We have a choice. We can buy into our resistance—Writer’s block! Painter’s block!—or we can simply say, “I don’t feel like working today, and I’ll bet an awful lot of other people are in the same boat.”

The minute we identify with the rest of humankind, we are on the right track. The minute we set ourselves apart, we are in trouble. When we start thinking that as artists we are very different from other people, we start to feel marginalized and hopeless. When we realize that we are probably in pretty much the same boat as everyone else, we begin to edge toward solution. Our shared humanity is the solution. Our “specialness” is the problem.

I’ve used Julia’s Morning Pages method for several years now - this process has helped me to understand myself better, realize what types of projects I really want to be doing, and how I can work at my best. Julia’s The Artist’s Way is what I recommend as an entry point into Morning Pages, and she also has a workbook that helps you to get more deeply into the practice.

(The magnificent image above is from Pedro da Silva on Unsplash)