Creative Hurdles

What is it about August? The heat index here in Southern California rises to absurd – nay, offensive – levels and all I want to do – all I CAN do – is hole up inside. On the east coast this happens to me in February, when it’s just too damn cold and nasty outside. But on the west coast, August is the winter of my discontent.

It’s a time of creative darkness. Ennui sets in. I see things I’d like to do but can’t do because the time isn’t right. No planting, no pruning, no enjoying my back patio. Being inside feels like torture and I can’t focus long enough to get anything meaningful accomplished (hello, novel revisions, I see you there waiting for me).

Last year I had the brilliant idea to pick up “The Artist’s Way” in August. It was easily the best decision I made all year. Those dark hours of August suddenly lightened. I had a renewed sense of purpose, a sense of hope, and a sudden and welcome investment in the now.

I’m definitely feeling those August blahs right now. I have many creative projects on several burners here, but they are all just simmering at the moment. I obsessively think about them, but have yet to take action to bring them to fruition. The task seems monumental, and finding the baby steps to reach those lofty goals out of my reach.

What’s a girl to do?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. Julia Cameron, bless her creative little heart, made not one but TWO sequels to “The Artist’s Way.” (Seriously, BLESS HER HEART). I’ve picked up the second in the series, called “Walking in This World” and am enthusiastically jumping into Week One of another 12-week creative odyssey.

walking in this world

I’m a little nervous. I have extremely high expectations. My rational brain is telling me I couldn’t possibly experience the euphoria I felt at this time last year, discovering all those creative treasures that were buried inside me.

But fuck it, I’m giving it a try. I’ve reached a plateau, and I’m ready to take it to the next level. It can be challenging as a solitary creative person, to find the structure and the motivation to keep going, to reach higher levels. I am exceptionally grateful for books such as these that help me break down my process, overcome my barriers, ignite my passion and help me find my way forward.

So I’ll be Walking in This World over the next few months. I hope you’ll come with me. I’m sure I’ll be sharing insights and setbacks, triumphs and failures with you in the coming weeks.

How do you overcome creative hurdles in your life?



3 thoughts on “Creative Hurdles”

  1. Hi Amy,
    I can’t quite imagine the kind of heat you talk about experiencing over there in August – we have had some “nice weather” for the past couple of weeks (UK shorthand for a bright, sunny day where you can risk leaving the house with just a cardigan), but today it has rained ALL DAY. Seriously…
    However, I too have experienced a definite feeling of ennui over the summer – my excuse is that the kids are around all the time and there is NOWHERE to hide and just…create. I discovered Natalie Goldman’s fantastic ‘Wild Mind’ in a 2nd hand bookstore last year and instantly fell in love with it. It’s a follow-up to her ‘Writing Down the Bones’, and I actually prefer it. I like that it has short chapters, so I can carry it around over the summer and dip in and out, and if the opportunity arises, I attempt one of her suggested writing exercises. The best thing about the book though is you feel as though a kind friend is looking over your shoulder, saying, “go on, it’s ok if you write rubbish today, just create anyway”.
    Good luck re-connecting with your creativity and I’m sending you some cooler clouds over – could you do the same and blow some of that warm air our way…? Kate x

    1. I’m seriously jealous of your rain, Kate. It’s oppressively hot and dry here right now. I peek at my poor garden out the window, and even the plants covered in shade cloth are droopy. I’m so glad you reminded me about “Writing Down the Bones.” That book has been recommended to me in the past and I’ve never picked it up; I think now is the perfect opportunity. And I’ll definitely check out her second book as well. Isn’t it nice that there are resources out there to bolster our spirits and gently encourage us to keep going, instead of the negativity that is often thrown our way through the media and other channels?

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