It seems that every year-end, when the word “resolutions” comes up, some self inside me sends out a whispering pulse: You should be writing more. In response, the voice I more readily identify as my self responds: I’m not really one for resolutions, but I’ll make some effort at writing regularly.
Of course, on such a non-committal foundation, the aim to write more often hasn’t been very successful. At all.
It’s late December again, and that whisper has returned. While I’m still far from embracing writership as part of my identity, I’m at least resigning myself that writing is somehow important to my well-being. I don’t believe writing to be the entirety of my vocation, but it will always have a place in my life, and my life will always have a need for it.
Yet I must address that I have a hard time making myself sit down to actually put words into sentences. I often only start typing a post as a way to procrastinate another, less pleasant task.Why is it so hard to actually get myself to work on a draft? Why do I always remember writing as being more painful than it really is?
I too easily forget the moments that goodness has come about — whether for myself or others — as a result of having written. I too easily lose faith.
So this year, I’m resolving to stop being condescending toward resolutions, and I’m announcing my resolution: I’m going to write daily, and hit the “publish” button on this site at least once each week.
Willpower won’t be enough. As an way to support my desire, I’m committing to journey through Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, a 12-week program for creative recovery. Cameron offers insights into the fears that keep us from creating and offers practices to work through those fears. She encourages what is helpful in our work and in our self-talk without denying the complexity and presence of the critical.
My first journey through The Artist’s Way (TAW) was last winter as part of a seminary course. It happened to be just days after the death of a beloved friend that I opened the book and began the practice of morning pages (daily stream of consciousness writing). The practice of writing those pages each day, along with the other artistic exercises, helped me to work through and metabolize my grief in a way that felt safe while simultaneously pushing me to emotional realms I don’t often visit, much less inhabit. I was working on a Master’s thesis that happened to be on the topics of sin and grief, and TAW gave me practices to sustain myself in heavy work. For the season that I maintained the pages and practices, my life was transformed in the most mundane sort of miracle.
As an additional aid in my resolve to honor the writer whisper in myself, I’ve started a group on Facebook for fellow recovering creatives to share about our experiences, process what we’re discovering, and discern about what’s next. You’re invited, too. (It’s hard being an extravert; I’m often in need of other people’s availability, capacity, and willingness in order to process and discern. Social media is a godsend.)
That’s my resolution and just a couple pieces of the groundwork I’m lying that will help me achieve it. I hope that TAW sets me on a good path into 2016, and I really hope the group helps others achieve their goals and honor their persistent whispers as well. I can’t wait to see what we’ll create.
Do you have a persistent whisper in yourself? An unexplored practice, art, or identity that’s begging to be explored? Tell us about it in the comments, and consider joining us in following our whispers through The Artist’s Way group.