Making the World Safe for the Scared Artist

About a month ago I mentioned to my friend Jon , who runs a fitness boot camp, that I was going to write during the year leading up to my 40th birthday, with the hope that the writing would reflect my preparing to greet what could be an anxiety-inducing milestone with enthusiasm. Jon suggested I focus on a theme for each week, such as healthy or weight training. (I was talking to him specifically about physical fitness). I love the idea of a weekly theme, and I will get to the physical. But first I’m going to tackle the emotional and mental.

I’ve mentioned Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way before. It is a workbook divided in twelve parts, and I am going to focus each of these first twelve weeks on a chapter.

The first week focuses on reestablishing a sense of safety for yourself as an artist. I could really relate to the section on shadow artists, where she talks about how most artistically-inclined youngsters are discouraged from following that path. I remember being on a trip with my mother when I was fourteen, and having dinner with a couple whom my mother told “she wants to be a writer,” in a very “help me talk some sense into her!” tone. I remember the trio deciding that lawyers write a lot, and I might want to look into that.

Thankfully I never did go to law school. But I did give up the writing dream too young so that now it haunts me like an unrequited love.

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