Friday, December 10, 2010

Guest Blogger Robin Edmundson - Affirmations

Robin Edmundson – About Me

I’m a dyer.   I put color on stuff.   Mostly this means yarn and fabric, but occasionally color gets on the floor, the stove, the walls, the table, me [a lot] and on one memorable occasion, the dog, but that was really his fault since I had no idea that he would want to roll all over the huge canvas backdrop drying out on the grass in the yard.   He was only green for a few days. 

Contact: robin@morenna.com

Creativity Exercise:  Affirmations

An unfortunate time honored tradition of artists is that mythical belief that in order to be a ‘real’ artist, you have to suffer.    ‘Real’ artists are tortured, miserable, addicted, sad, etc.  Somehow, they periodically emerge from their fog of dysfunctionality to create masterpieces, the genius of which the public attributes to the misery of the artist’s hard living.    This is nonsense. You are much more likely to be creative and inspired when you have a clear head and feel good. 

Affirmations are positive statements about yourself as a person and as an artist that make you feel good.   Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, has a whole section on affirmations. [If you don’t already have the book, get it.   It will be one of the best investments in your art that you ever make.]   Most of what I’m saying here, she said first in that book.  Affirmations are the shield you use to protect yourself from others’ artistic or anti-artistic drama.   Affirmations are personalized to protect your specific vulnerabilities.

The first step to creating your affirmations is to identify your vulnerabilities.   Julia Cameron recommends that you have a little chat with your internal Censor by sitting down with paper and pen and writing down all of the awful things that are bouncing around in your head about you and your art.  This might be hard, but it’s worth the time.   Do it.  Right now.  Spend 10 minutes and begin with this:   I     your name here    am a brilliant, prolific artist.  Write that 10 times in a row, then let your Censor loose and see what it says.  Write down all of the nasty stuff that comes out.   All of it.  Do not stop before the 10 minutes is up.

Once you have your list of nasties [Julia calls them ‘blurts’], you know where your vulnerabilities are.   Now it’s time to build shields to protect these parts of you.    Take each nasty and turn it into a positive statement – an affirmation.   ‘You’re a terrible writer’ turns into ‘I’m a great writer’.   ‘You can’t do anything original’ turns into ‘My art is inspired and original’.   ‘You’ll never make any money doing this’ becomes ‘I support myself with my art’.    Do this for every single nasty.  Email me if you’re having trouble with one of these.  I’ll help you turn it into an affirmation. 

The next big objection that frequently comes up at this point is this:  Why should I do these affirmations, when they are clearly not true?  These affirmations are lies.  Every time I say this affirmation out loud, I feel like I’m lying.    

You have a good point; the affirmations aren’t true. Yet.  But remember this:  Your nasties aren’t true, either, and you were willing to believe them.  You have a choice.   You can choose to keep believing the nasties, which aren’t true, and which make you feel bad, thereby decreasing your creativity and productivity.  Or, you can start believing your affirmations, which aren’t true [yet] and which make you feel good, thereby increasing your creativity and productivity [and the likelihood that they will come true.]  Your choice.  You’ve been willing to feel bad before.  Are you willing to feel good now?



Russo said...

Oh, that is a lovely idea, Robin, "Affirmations are the shield you use to protect yourself from others’ artistic or anti-artistic drama. Affirmations are personalized to protect your specific vulnerabilities."

I never even thought of this concept. Oh, I am so glad that you are here on our blog-Thank you!

Sara B. Larson said...

What a great idea! I will have to try this soon. :)

Janiel Miller said...

"You are much more likely to be creative and inspired when you have a clear head and feel good. " So true! I love this.

And this really hit me:
"Your nasties aren't true, either, and you were willing to believe them . . . you can start believing your affirmations, which aren't true [yet] and which make you feel good, thereby increasing your creativity and productivity."

This is a great philosophy to live by: believe the positive, and the positive will happen.

Love it. Thanks Rob!

indiana weaver said...

This affirmation thing is really powerful. It was big for me to really listen to what my nasties were, and it was even bigger to consider the possibility that I could defend myself against them. I had thought that part of being a 'good person' was to accept the criticisms that came my way. What I was actually doing was embracing these nasties as if they were my only link to reality. Who needs that kind of reality??

My big discovery was that feeling good actually felt.....great! And I didn't owe it to God or anyone else to feel bad to prove I was a good person.

Then, of course, there's this wonderful side effect of actually enjoying playing with the art. The more fun, the more play. The more play, the more daring. The more daring, the more growth.

Maegan Langer said...

Ooooo, I love all your comments, Robin! It's easy I think to get stuck in a cycle of thinking of creating art as "work," especially if you've been working on the same project for awhile. I'm going to try instead to "enjoy playing with the art." Bring on the play and the daring!

sueallen2546 said...

I've been sheepish to comment but I'm luvin' this blog. I feel like ya'll are my friends.

So, Robin is the quest post blogger? Does she have a blog? Also,how'd you guys choose to be writers?

Janiel Miller said...

Hi Sue! Glad you commented. We ARE all your friends. :) And thanks for being here. Happy we're not alone.

Robin is the guest blogger, and no she does not have a blog. But I have told her often that I think she should. Maybe your question will exert a little peer pressure and she'll start one. :)

As for how I chose to become a writer--I could be trite and say "It Chose ME". But I'd have to be published and famous to get away with that. So I'll say this: I've always loved story telling and imagining new worlds and people. I have a friend with whom I wrote stories all through my growing up -- even through the mail when we lived apart. They were extensions of our childhood games. I just kept on writing once we got older. I love it. It's a wonderful way to communicate and learn.

Thanks Sue.