The Artist’s Way, Week Two

Posted on February 13, 2011

This week, in The Artist’s Way:

Recovering a Sense of Identity

This week’s exercises are really all about looking at our priorities — when we say, “I don’t have time to X, Y or Z,” often what we really mean is, “I don’t value X, Y or Z”, or, even more tellingly, “I won’t let myself admit that I value X, Y and Z.”

Basically, we’re asked to make lists of things we like to do and ask ourselves how long it’s been since we did them; then we’re asked to make lists of the activities that take up most of our time. Yes, things we must do usually hit the list of “activities” that take up most of our time: school/work, duties at home, family responsibilities, etc. But when I made this list, I was struck that a couple of the things I spent the most time doing weren’t in that category OR on the lists of things I like to do. They were just time-sucks — ways I let my energy get siphoned off into stuff I don’t care about. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

Some of the things I like to do are a little more difficult to incorporate into my daily life; for instance, I used to take pottery classes and really enjoyed them. I’d love to do that again sometime, but the cost, time and materials are a major investment. But so many things were so simple! Why hadn’t I gotten my butt down to my crochet circle in six weeks? Why am I not listening to the classical-music radio station sometimes instead of leaving the TV on to blast some meaningless, useless noise? How did I let myself fall out of practice with yoga?

So last Thursday, I went back to crochet circle (and am now making myself a lovely peacock blue computer sleeve — or at least am trying). I hope to return to yoga this week. The classical music is playing right now.

How do these play into a sense of identity, you might ask? Well, I think it’s important to know what inspires and recharges us, and to invest some of our time and energy into those experiences and activities. That’s how you feed your creative side — and it’s how you reaffirm to yourself that your creativity is an important part of your life. If you want to be a writer, you need to identify as a creative person and invest the time to express yourself.

For me, because writing is now my job (YAY), I definitely do make the time to write — both the books I write for publication and pleasure writing I do on the side, because I know how important it is that I never lose the sense that writing is fun. But I was surprised how slack I’d become in keeping up the many other activities that keep me cheerful, creative and inspired. I’m grateful for the reminder and reenergized for the future.

The only thing that might keep me from yoga this week is that I may have a wee bit of a stomach virus coming on. At any rate, the nausea has now been around for about six hours, which is somewhat ominous. Here’s hoping a good night’s sleep knocks that out!

But even if I am laid up in bed for a while, I can still crochet …

And don’t forget: You have until Wednesday, Feb. 16 to enter the second EVERNIGHT doll contest! For details, check out the previous entry on the blog!