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The Artist’s Way – from trapped to unstuck and free

May 2, 2024

You would never guess looking at me. I’m a huge Tommy Lee fan. Were you expecting Taylor Swift? Surprise!

Tommy Lee–Mötley Crüe that’s who. Last Friday when Mötley Crüe’s new single dropped, I had a flashback to the closing drum solo, in their LA concert.

Tommy Lee climbs into a drum set rigged on a roller coaster track and plays while travelling around the stage. Halfway through a loop-de-loop, the coaster gets stuck. Tommy Lee suspended upside down in mid-air, continues to play! 🌟

Being stuck upside down on a roller coaster is so relatable. No, I don’t play the drums and I can’t stomach roller coasters.

But like Tommy Lee, I was once trapped in a creative loop.

My first book was an instant bestseller (humble brag, but relevant here). 18 months later, I started writing my second book and immediately hit Mount Everest-sized writer’s block.

Desperate for a breakthrough, I tried every fix: coaching, therapy, retreats, workshops with tantalising promises, ‘Write your best seller in one weekend’, even ice baths (before they were a thing).

Then my friend mailed me a copy of The Artist’s WayHave you heard of it? This book unlocks creativity in art, work and life.

I put aside everything I was doing and started reading the book.

A daily practice author Julia Cameron gets you to commit to is called ‘Morning Pages’. Every morning (yes in the morning only) you write 3 pages in longhand, using pen and paper. It doesn’t matter what you write. It’s personal. It’s private. It’s purely for your eyes.

Cameron also suggests an artist date with yourself, once a week. Play, have fun or do something that nourishes your soul.

I admit I wasn’t as good with the artist dates. But I was religious with my morning pages.

The day I finished reading The Artist’s Way was exactly when I completed 50,000 words in my manuscript.

Why am I sharing this with you? This isn’t a plug for the book (I have my own books to plug, excuse me!).

In life, your stories can trap you. You might say I’m not good at (insert word here). The story in my head was I’m not good at writing.

At times like this, consider a gentle reframe from I’m not… to I’m learning to

I shifted from I’m not good at writing to I’m learning to write again. The phrase I’m learning to gives you wings. It frees you to soar over your self-doubt.

And oh – organisers got Tommy Lee down shortly after. Happy ending for all.

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