I’ve found that one of the big benefits of writing blogs is that it greatly reduces the amount of ‘stuck time’ on my other writing. Just the act of doing the writing to express ideas in a blog seems to free up other creativity. All the ideas that were hiding under rocks in my mind feel free to come out and face the light

I thought this was my own personal serendipity – or synchronicity which is the more fashionable term now – but no. A friend recommended that I read “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron.

I was a bit put off by the ‘spiritual path’ part, but a second sub-title “A Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self” persuaded me. (And anyway it was a library book; it’s not like I was extending my credit at Amazon.)

I’m glad I took time to read it because she is an accomplished and respected writer and artist. She has a lot to say about becoming and maintaining your most creative self and she says it with gentleness and wisdom. She is adamant about two things – a writer should start the day, each day, with three pages of free writing, and once a week you should treat the artist within you to an ‘artist’s date’. This means a couple of hours of doing something fun, unfocused and light-hearted.

But much of the book looks at that common and disturbing aspect of a writer’s life – stuckness – and ways to get around it or come out of it. Nurturing yourself is a big part of it.

How do you regain the strength to write when you’ve been put down one more time? How do you reconnect with the artist within you who has all those great ideas? How do you forgive yourself when you’ve just procrastinated or wasted a valuable chunk of writing time?

You nurture the artist or writer within you as you would nurture a small child. You protect it, you encourage it, you find ways to strengthen it a little every day. When it is successful you rejoice with it and when it gets off track you guide it gently but firmly back.

What you don’t do is beat that artist up.

I like her suggestion of putting beside your computer a small stuffy animal or doll. When you are tempted to beat your artist up for goofing off and not producing yet again you look at the little helpless stuffed creature and ask “Would I beat that up? Could I beat that up?

By some odd serendipity/synchronicity I have just such a creature who has been sitting on top of my printer for the last year or so. He’s small, white, very soft, with pink ears, a rabbit’s woffly nose and huge big appealing eyes. The idea of ever beating him up is ridiculous.

Doesn’t our inner artist deserve at least the same respect?