Friday, March 5, 2010

The Artist's Way Thought of the Day

Recently, I joined Mur Lafferty in a group effort to do The Artist's Way. I'd had the book recommended to me many times, but never got off my butt to really try, so when Mur invited her podcast listeners* to join her in trying to do all the various writing-and-creativity exercises in the book, I figured that would be the boost I needed.

Now, I guess I'm not REALLY trying, because I haven't been doing any of the required morning pages. I am not a morning person. If I'm awake before 8am, it's only because the toddler gave me no choice. And then my job is toddler-wrangling, not writing. You see my problem.

But, I like some of the exercises: thinking hard about the influences in your life who support(ed) you or undermine(d) you, going on an "artist's date" to get a little private time with your creativity... and then I read this:

Time Travel: Describe yourself at eighty. What did you do after fifty that you enjoyed?

Now there's a thought. It's easy to say to oneself that we still have time to accomplish our dreams, that we shouldn't give up just because we aren't already the "hot new thing" (see The Rejectionist's post and comments about these fears), but how often have you given real thought to what that means?

For those of my readers who are closer to fifty than I am, I'm sorry for being all young-whippersnapper about this. At least I'm over 35. Do you realize how many of these industry/writer blogs are written by people born in the 1980s and, dear god, the 1990s? Damn kids. Get off my lawn!!!

So. Let's do it this way. Describe yourself at eighty. What did you do after age fifty, or after the age of your-current-age-plus-15-years, whichever is older? Was it awesome? I bet it was.

PLEASE SHARE A LONG-TERM GOAL WITH US IN THE COMMENTS. I'm inspired by the reminder that I'll still be writing in the 2020s. How about you?

And, yes, I'm still planning on doing those future posts on the last of my Monsters & Mayhem Classes, on why I wanted a nemesis, and some thoughts on failure. Thanks for your patience!

* Are you a listener? Why the heck not? She's so awesome, really. Plus, I do the show notes, and once in a while post a little something on the podcast website: I Should Be Writing. You should be listening. And if you want to do The Artist's Way with us, we're on Facebook.


  1. I'll probably not be doing martial arts at age 80, but I know I'll be reading and writing. And maybe painting and doing Chinese calligraphy.

  2. At the rate I'm going I will just be finished with transcribing my third book when I'm 80. This of course means I'll have spent forty-one years on the run as my agent hunts me down. I will have wandered this country, zig-zagging back and forth across the map of it like a vagabond, helping people get out of jams along the way, getting helped in the process. I'll have taught, and yes, learned some valuable lessons, maybe gotten a bruise or bump along the way but HEY! who doesn't, and isn't that what it's all about, really?

    It's a very "The Fugitive" or "Incredible Hulk"-like life I see for myself apparently.

    Oh, and I want to have driven a car into a shrub only to have it do a stupendous flip in the air and land on the roof, like in every episode of The A-Team.

  3. Hmmm -- after 50? Well I'm doing that now. Okay, then after 75? Assuming I can still walk, I'd like to walk across the United States and recount my adventures in my bestselling book about the journey.

  4. Me + 80 + French Riviera baby!

    If not that, then publishing my 100th book, most of my stuff will be PB's anyway.

  5. If I'm not still writing at eighty, all the books I (will hopefully have) published in my thrities and forties won't mean a thing. So, there's one long term goal.

  6. Okay, so we have writing and painting and traveling... and running away from one's deadlines in the most exciting and stylish way possible. EXCELLENT. I'm so proud of all of you and your big plans!

  7. I am almost 50. One month to go. I don't hate to be such a sap and therefore unabashedly proclaim that I hope I am still making love with the love of my life when I am 80. I can't bear to imagine live without this kind of passion - a passion that inspires and fuels all the other glorious dreams and goals we seek in living a fulfilled and worthwhile life.

  8. At 80, I'll STILL be getting calls from directors and producers who want to do my shows, either adaptations of novels and memior, or my very own dramas.

    You asked us to dream big, right?

  9. I tried this too and failed on the morning pages account. If only they had a writing program with middle-of-the-night pages. Or you-should-be-cleaning-your-kitchen pages. I'd be good at those.

  10. I'm interested to hear how you find the... program, I guess. I got this as a birthday gift (along with Cameron's writing diet book; thanks, mom) and I've been a little afraid to crack it open, partly because of the morning pages thing.

  11. I'm a firm believer in the make-it-work-for-you philosophy. (E.g. Can't manage writing 50K words in one month? Do NaNoWriMo anyway, but change your goals to suit your needs.)

    So, instead of going on a total reading sabbatical in Week Four, I'm just making sure to give myself quiet time on my commute instead of reading/listening to an audiobook. I have to keep reframing the "God" language to fit my actual beliefs. And I'm skipping the morning pages entirely right now.

    So, am I getting the whole value of the program? Probably not. Am I enjoying what I'm learning anyway? Yep.

    So, worthwhile? For me, yep.