Creativity for Skeptics Episode Eight: The Artist’s Way Week Two Recap and Week Three Preview

In episode 8 of Creativity for Skeptics, I’ll recap week two of The Artist’s Way and preview week three.  Transcript is below.

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Hello, skeptical creatives and creative skeptics. Tammy here. This is episode eight of Creativity for Skeptics. In this episode, I’ll share my experiences with week two of The Artist’s Way as well as preview week three. Keeping this one short again this week, no intro or outro or recommendation. Just the minimum, because sometimes, you have to go with that, right?

How did your week go? Mine could have been better, but it was pretty low energy all around. I did finish the third draft of the mystery I’m working on, and it’s off to beta readers after I get this to you.

Morning pages happened, but my artist date, which involved looking through the half dozen seed catalogs didn’t do much for me. First off, I just really want to go to a garden center or a nursery, and I can’t.

Second, I looked up some plants online and ended up reading reviews and there’s nothing like reading lackluster reviews of gorgeous sunflowers I want to plant to push me out of the childlike wonder that artist dates are supposed to engender.

Also, I have this vision of walls of sunflowers. Some of them would be up against the house to make up for the fact that houses don’t have window boxes here. Not sure why, but they’re wonderful, and why not? That’s enough of that tangent.

One other observation, in case any of you had the same problem, regarding the “other lives” tasks. When I’ve done The Artist’s Way before, I loved these tasks. This time, however, it just made me tired. I don’t know if it’s just that present situation is just exhausting enough that I don’t want to have to live other lives too, or if it’s that I’m pretty happy with my life as it is now. My life is definitely not following the norm of mid-40s as being the least happy time of people’s lives. I’m so much happier in my 40s than I was in my 30s, and my 30s were exponentially better than my 20s and teens. But that was kind of a low bar. Anyway. Back to the tasks. How I got myself to do the tasks was to ask myself, okay, if you don’t want to live these lives, then who would you want to write about? So, research for writing projects, that felt refreshing, not exhausting.

Another task I wanted to touch on is the life pie. I mentioned last time that I wanted to replace spirituality with something like awe or wonder, then when I was listening to NPR this past week, I heard a segment about awe versus wonder. Wonder is more cerebral, whereas awe is more visceral and tinged with fear. Which maybe could encompass spirituality? I don’t think I have a good answer yet. Wonder goes along with another category Julia Cameron has in that task, play, so maybe I need something else to fit in the spirituality slot.

How did your week two go? I’d love to hear about it. I’d love to hear what you did last week for an artist date and anything you have planned. Leave a comment below.  Or if you’d like to share your thoughts on the artist date, what you did, how it went, you can record a clip and send it along. I’ll play selected clips on upcoming episodes.

On to week three, “Recovering a Sense of Power.” This section. The “Anger” section. This is powerful stuff here, y’all. I want to read the last line of this section: “Anger is not the action itself. It is action’s invitation.” That’s probably the most important piece in this week’s readings.

I have trouble with the ideas in the next section about “Synchronicity.” It’s hard not to point to examples of synchronicity and say, well, if you’re talking about your work with other people, then you’ll have more chances to collaborate with them or show your work to them and so forth than if you weren’t talking to people. That’s my skepticism talking there.

The “Shame” section is important too, and I don’t disagree with what Julia Cameron says about the topic.

I do appreciate her advice on how to handle criticism in the next section. I’m thinking about a time when I left a group situation, and it was the criticism of other people’s work that pushed me out of it, if that makes sense, even though there were other good things happening in the group.

I’d also like to add here that there is a difference between criticism and critique, and I think that just as you grow as a creator, you grow as a critic. Criticism rarely helps anyone, that finding fault with things. Critique, on the other hand, is so very useful, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Giving feedback is a skill, so that’s something to keep in mind as well. Some people are just better at it than others.

Lots of good things to think about in the last two sections, and I’ll leave that there.

The one thing I want to touch on in the tasks for this week is in number four. I don’t watch TV, because I needed to cut out as much as I could to have time and energy to work. And for me, watching TV is draining–it took me a long time to realize that. I bring up TV here because Julia Cameron mentions it as a possible bad habit. I like this task because it ties in neatly to a problem that a lot of creatives have–when do you find time to work? Between jobs and family and friends and keeping the house clean, when do you work? If this is a problem for you, keep your answers for number four in mind.

So that’s it from me today. If you have any questions about creativity you’d like me to address, feel free to send me an email, Or post a comment over at my blog,

Thanks for listening to Creativity for Skeptics. For more information about the show or to listen to past episodes, go to We’ll talk creativity again soon.