High signal digest #14
Sum of "the Artist's Way" + things i read this week online
est. reading time = 4min
Today at a glance:
Summary of “the Artists’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron. The first edition of this book came out in 1992. The purpose of the book is to help people with creative discovery by sharing 12-week exercise program and by dismantling self-destructive behaviors we may have about art.
Things I read online you might like
Why did I read this?
3rd time founder recommended it in 2019 and I bought it on the spot. I didn’t read it until fall of 2021. That summer I realized that I’ve dropped all of my creative outlets. I also felt like I was unoriginal at work where most of my ideas were derivatives, but nothing bold. Lot’s of 1 to 1.1 ideas, but no 1 to 2 or 1 to 5.
Plus cover page of this book has an endorsement from Martin Scorsese so it must be good, right?
Raw notes from the book:
This book is 80% exercises that the reader must do while reading followed by daily non-negotiable exercises. They make you open up. Never summarized the exercises, just a few macro points. Here they are:
Everyone can be creative. This isn’t limited to X% of population.
How to know if you are creatively blocked? Jealousy (I resent that artist/builder), excuses (I need money/time/X), fear (judgement of others)
Learn to recognize and nurture inner artist → move beyond pain → enjoy a fuller life. Life is creativity. Create > consume
Filling the well to have creative energy = do stuff that delights/intrigues. Focus attention.
To recover as an artist, must be willing to be a “bad artist”. Stop demanding that we look good to ourselves or others. Impossible to get better and look good at the same time. Perfectly imperfect.
Core negative beliefs I resonate with most (out of 20): I will only have one good piece of work in me, it is too late.
Blocked creatives sit on sidelines critiquing others or self. Do not do that. It is my job to do the work, not judge the work.
Antidote for shame is self-love. Invest in yourself and in your life to better show up in art/work. Enjoy life and experiences, not possessions. Say no. Take care of your body (zen of sports).
An artist must have downtime. Time to do nothing.
Take action. Take risks. Do not worry about perfection.
All artists suffer loss. Loss of hope, face, money, self-self
Inability to start is not laziness or procrastination. It is fear of X.
Artists are asked to repeat creations (sequels). If you made it - do you continue with sequel or explore from zero again? Balance $ vs freedom?
Ignore the competition. The desire to be better than will choke the simple desire to be.
Serious art is born from serious play
An artist must have downtime, time to do nothing. Defending our right to such time takes courage, conviction, and resiliency. Such time, space, and quiet will strike our family and friends as a withdrawal from them. It is. For an artist, withdrawal is necessary.
Very often a risk is worth taking simply for the sake of taking it.
Like a career of any athlete, an artists’s life will have its injuries. These go with the game. The trick is to survive them, to learn how to let yourself heal.
To be an artist is to recognize the particular. To appreciate the peculiar. To allow a sense of play in your relationship. To ask the question “Why?” To be an artist is to risk admitting that much of what is money, property, and prestige strikes you as just silly.
Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.
The trick is to metabolize pain as energy. Learn, when hit by loss, to ask the right question: "What next?" instead of "Why me?”
All too often, it is audacity and not talent that moves an artist to center stage.
No macro lessons section. These quotes are a good place to end.
Things I read online you might like:
Attention is All You Need → paper credit with start of ChatGPT