Not surprisingly, once again we have a chapter where the author entitles it as one way, makes a goal statement out of line with that title and then offers a discussion unrelated to either the title or the stated goals: restoring Strength, managing time, surviving criticism? Which is it? Beats the heck out of me.
That being said, the bulk of the chapter has to do with the criticisms creatives receive that block the creative process. I agree that one cruel, thoughtless statement about a creative work can absolutely destroy the confidence of a creative, but it is unrealistic to think that we will never have that happen to us so we best get used to pulling on our big-girl panties and dealing with it.
As much as I love getting positive affirmations of my work (please keep them coming), I don’t mind receiving criticism if it is warranted and kindly offered. Such criticism usually makes me dig in my heels and do an “I’ll-show-you” re-write. As a result I will usually end up producing a better work. It doesn’t matter if the criticism comes from another creative friend or from a college instructor. I’ll take the criticism, if it is fair, and do something with it.
In this chapter, the author shows quite a bit of disdain for academia in general and academic criticism in particular. She writes that the “Ivory Power” has done more to cripple creatives than anything else. I cannot hold with that view. Yes, I had a few college professors who I thought were not being fair, but for the most part, I respected their knowledge and opinions. For example, my usual process for writing college papers was to take a general idea, develop a tentative thesis, and research it. If the research supported the statement, I would continue with it and write the paper; however, if the research proved my thesis wrong, then I would change it to fit the research. However, one semester in my undergraduate program, a professor insisted that we turn in an outline first and it was against this outline that the paper was graded. In other words, I could not change my thesis midstream; I had to stick with the outline. As much as I wailed and moaned about him “quenching my creative process”, I did thorough and proper research FIRST and then CAREFULLY crafted my thesis statement. Not only did this make me a better researcher, I ended up with a superior paper that allowed me to get an A in the course. Furthermore, this paper became the seed for my master’s level research paper I wrote a few years later.
So what does this have to do with my weekly AW check-in? Not much. Because of the incongruities of the chapter’s stated purpose and the author’s disdain for the environment that ultimately made me a better writer, I closed down and did not work the program much this week. I only did a couple unenthusiastic sets of morning pages and at the time of this writing, no artist date.
The good news is that towards the end of the week, I had an unexpected second wind sweep in, and I came up with an idea for a series of blog posts to be written and posted in April. Maybe the key for recovering MY sense of strength is to throw off advice that doesn’t work for me and make my own strong artistic stand.
My intention two months ago when I started this program was to overcome a block. I think I have. Could it have been from doing the required morning pages? Going on the artists dates? Maybe. I’ll give the program some credit for that. But I think it had more to do with my own resolve and commitment to the process
And I can’t give any book or self-help maven any credit for that.