Saturday, November 28, 2009

Becoming a less neurotic writer AKA Creative Recovery

by Becca Simone

A while back, I set out on a journey to become a less neurotic writer in 12 weeks, using The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron as my guide. Well, I’m realizing it’ll probably take way longer than that. I have a lifetime of bad habits and neuroses to overcome. Cameron calls this journey “creative recovery.” Hmm. That has a much more positive ring to it, doesn’t it?

My personal journey involves daily journaling, meditating, yoga and nature walks. I haven’t been doing any of those things as much as I would like, but I am making progress.

I normally have the meanest, bitchiest internal editor to ever walk the face of the earth. Her name is Helga. Ugly name for an ugly being. She is downright cruel. You should hear what she says to me. It’s not even printable.

During the month of November I’ve been involved in NaNo, and I think the frantic, don’t-look-back pace of writing has helped me to avoid, or at least temporarily shut up, Helga a bit. Thank God.

Some things I’ve read in The Artist’s Way have really hit home. In Week 3 Cameron talks about how anger is at the root of much of our creative neuroses. She says that “in the recovery of a blocked artist, anger is a sign of health.” Awesome. I must be a flippin’ health guru, because I’ve been mad a lot. Recently, a couple of writer friends/acquaintances who just started writing achieved greater success (ie: big sales to major publishers) than I have in all my years of struggling. I went through the mature reactions of “It’s not fair!” and “They haven’t paid their dues!” and listened when Helga told me that I’ll never achieve similar success because I suck as a writer.

Yeah, it was a really pleasant time in the Simone household.

Cameron asks us to pinpoint what it is we’re really mad at. She says anger is our friend—it will always tell us when we have betrayed ourselves. This was an “a ha!” moment for me. I’m not really angry at these friends or even the situation. I’m angry at myself—for the opportunities I didn’t explore, the countless hours I’ve wasted not writing, the wrong turns I’ve taken. It’s all about me. Now that I realize it’s me I’m pissed at, now maybe I can redirect that feeling into my work.

Cameron also talks about synchronicity, which is another word for answered prayers. Be careful what you wish for, knock and the door will open, ask and you will receive, however you want to say it. Cameron says once we begin our creative recovery, synchronicity will pop up everywhere. It’s really true. It’s happened to me. I experienced
this just recently. I was just telling one of my CPs that I really want to do a blog under my pen name but didn’t have the time to go solo. I wished I knew of a group of erotica writers to blog with. The very next day I get an email from a fellow erotica author asking if I might be interested in joining a new group blog. Can you hear the Twilight Zone theme song here? Weird, eh? Another recent instance was as I worked on a promo plan for my next release. I wrote in my notebook to brainstorm creative places to hold a booksigning. That very day, a friend told me she’s planning a huge naughty toy party in February, right in time for Valentine’s Day, and would I be interested in selling some of my books there?

Try it for yourself. Put your wish or desire “out there” and see what happens. And keep me posted.


Kaye Manro said...

I agree with you-- I like The Artist's Way too. Good luck with your own book!

Becca Simone said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kaye. I love Julia Cameron's books. All of them.

Marie Tuhart said...

Thanks for sharing, Becca. I'm really enjoying your posts.

Lynne Roberts said...

I think your Helga moonlights in my head. Seriously.

Thank you for this post. It was like a breath of fresh air on a hectic, stifling day.

Becca Simone said...

Hey Marie--I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. :)

Lynne--Next time Helga visits you, you can keep her.


Donna B said...

LOL. That internal editor is really nasty. I think she's head hopping. I can't write a sentence down without her putting in her two cents worth.

Congratulations on NaNo. That's one trial I won't attempt.

Sounds like you've tapped into something here and things are falling into place. Hope it continues for you!

Becca Simone said...

Hey Donna, I wish I could tell you I "won" NaNo, but my wordcount fell way short. I did write 28K words though. That's good for me in a month's time.