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  • Writer's pictureSusan Gable

Protecting the Creative Recovery

In The Artist's Way (A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity) Week 2, Julia Cameron writes about protecting the creative recovery. Writers often speak about protecting the work, which means shielding it from those who would interfere with it. The same holds true with protecting the creative recovery.

There are 2 main classes of people Julia cautions us about as potential problems. The first is other creatively blocked people. Your artist friends who are blocked, while they may say the right things, have a dog in the fight in keeping you blocked. As they say, misery loves company. If you get a negative reaction from a writer (artist) friend during your recovery, protect the work/recovery!

Sometimes you may need to put some distance between yourself and these folks. If you were trying not to drink, you wouldn't hang out with your bar buddies, right? The bar buddies want you back at the bar! The same can hold true of blocked creative buddies. They'd rather keep you hanging out on the sidelines, justifying their excuses of why they're not being creative these days. If you can recover...then maybe they could, too. And we already know that recovery can be a scary prospect. It means actually doing the creative work/act. (Doing the creative work is also a scary prospect for many of us, especially those of us who are dealing with a creative block/injury.)

Do not engage, just quietly head elsewhere to get your support.

The other folks who can be an issue for our creative recovery are the crazymakers.

We've all had experiences with these folks. Sometimes they're right in our own homes. These are the drama queens, those who thrive on chaos, generally the chaos they create and inflict on others. (Like us.) These are the ones who, the minute you sit down to write, need something. Or need to tell you something. Or ask you something.

You're on a deadline, and they need to be driven somewhere. (And of course there's no one else to do it.) Besides, you're not really working. You're just _______. (Fill in blank with creative pursuit.) Their needs are always much more important than your needs, and you're a terrible person for not helping them in their moment of need. Again.

When someone hands you guilt on a silver platter, here's a tip - you don't have to take it! Just say no. If being polite doesn't work, try being rude. Sometimes that's the only thing that will work, especially if you've gone along with their crazy for a long time.

Do not accept their guilt trips.

Along with your time and energy, Crazymakers may stake a claim on your physical space. The office space you've carved out for yourself (even if it's only a corner in the dining room) will suddenly become the crafting area as well. Or the bill-paying space. The crazymaker arrives for a prolonged stay at your house.

Protect the work! Protect the recovery! Close the door, move their stuff, keep the time/energy/room you need to do the work and to recover. Create boundaries and stick to them. If you have problems with letting people work out their own problems (because hey, their problems are all your problems, and this all falls on you, you have to help, it's your duty as a good human being - let me suggest the book Codependent No More. It was a huge help to me.)

It's not selfish. We creatives are much happier people when we're doing the work.

Be happy! Get out there and recover. Do the work. And don't forget to protect both from those who stand to gain from messing with your mojo!

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