Artist’s Way Check In #7 – About Connection

One of the things that I appreciate about how I’m going through The Artist’s Way this time around is a different sensibility about what bits apply to my life and what bits are not particularly helpful. And this fits right in with this week’s chapter about connection to that which feeds my own creative process.

In one way, this was not the best week for me discipline-wise. I didn’t do daily pages or my self-imposed daily poem every single day. But I did not feel guilty about that. Why? Because writers, artists, everyone has a life that can’t always be scripted so tightly. Living in the world means things come up. Choices have to be made, priorities set. And the most important work gets done no matter what. It just gets done on a different time table that expected. So, in another way, discipline-wise, I was stellar: kids got to where they needed to be, slush piles got partly read, correspondence got out, poems got posted for next month, blog posts got done, no one ran out of clean underwear (yes, this is an important part of my life – I can’t work in dirty clothes).

So, connection – where am I with that? I understand what does and does not work for me in a way that I did not the last time I went through The Artist’s Way. I understand that I’m not in high school anymore so no one is going to check my homework. But I also recognize that, even when I don’t do all the creative play/exercise that is recommended, things still simmer in my head and come out in surprising ways. For example, finally, yesterday, I had time to sit at my own desk and not worry about anyone else. What did I do? I took the time to download chants from the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz because, for weeks, I’ve been wanting to use that as background when I write. And you know what? It really is heavenly. These chants tap into a part of me that looks for safe places. Isn’t fear one of those big things that stops creative work? I think so. So I’m honoring this particular connection with an inner self that still gets pretty nervous about putting stuff out into the world.

How do you honor the connections that move you forward as a writer or artist? I’d love to know.


  1. I agree with you when you say that even when we're not immersed in the actual creativity, things are simmering in our minds. Oh this is so true, and I've actually done some of my best “writing” when I wasn't writing. Usually on long walks, talking with whoever I'm with, connecting with others, with the outdoors, this is when writing often works itself out in my thoughts. When I sit back down at the keyboard, I know where the words have to go.


  2. Sometimes music does it, other times, oddly enough, washing dishes by hand. I have NO idea why, but sometimes words work themselves out in just a ten minutes session at the sink. People connections–white noise has often been my friend. Taking a laptop to a coffee shop and loosing myself in the rhythms around, the talking, the dishes, the whole place and I lose myself.

    Long ago it was walking. Now that I cannot walk very far, I have had to find other things. I am going to try the chants, though! I think that would help, too!

    I go through the Artist's Way every few years, too. I was lucky enough to do a weekend workshop WITH J. Cameron! THAT was heaven. Her “Right to Write” is a book I often pick up when I am stuck.


  3. Sometimes doing nothing is an integral part of the creative process. I think the art of doing nothing is highly underrated. And you're right, we aren't being graded on daily accomplishments – except in our own minds. I've stopped worrying about daily to do lists and stepped back – What do I need to get done this week? – and give myself permission to take my time. It makes me less crazy than self-imposed deadlines of 'tomorrow'. It also leaves me open to the unexpected, which, as you know, can be beneficial to the creative process. 🙂


  4. Like Constance, I find that doing nothing is sometimes necessary to let the subconscious mind percolate and produce a new round of creativity. For me, watching TV works well to clear the mind. I don't watch mindless stuff — always something I learn from. But it helps divert from the creative force within. For times when I feel the need to be active, I love Zumba!

    For mental therapy, I find that blogging, and when possible, spending time with other creatives/writers is a great way to nurture and encourage creative ideas. We always seem to come up with amazing suggestions to help one another move forward with our projects.

    Found your blog via your post on the LI Freelance Writers Connection sub-group. You've created a nice place to be. Well done!


  5. Doreen, thanks for your kind words. I'm so glad you stopped by.
    I have to admit to loving mindless TV! Cooking shows, especially. One of my big creative connections that I didn't talk about in my post is cooking. When all else fails, I head to the kitchen.


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