Book Review: How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy) by Julia Cameron and Elizabeth Cameron
The 80 odd cartoons illustrating some of the creative excuses creative people come up with for why they aren't creating are the spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down. The medicine being the little shots of reality disproving the excuse and the sugar being the LOL hilarity in seeing your excuse enacted by silly dogs dressed up as humans. It takes the sting away while keeping your gazed fixed on the sharp needle of truth embedded in the contradictions between what you have said and what you have done and what is the reality.
Paraphrasing, here are some of the excuses I identified with the most:
- Demanding 15 hour blocks of free time before considering getting started while using scattered 15 minute chunks for frivolous things.
- Preferring to watch the movie on the screen over watching the one on the back of your eyelids. (your story)
- Feeling depressed you don't have time to write. Then turning on the TV to make yourself feel better.
- Over-committing your time and energy elsewhere--people, jobs, organizations, housework, make-work....
- Acquiring high-maintenance relationships that suck time and energy and overload you on drama that doesn't belong to you and leaves no room for the drama of your stories.
- Surrounding yourself with negative naysayers.
- Setting yourself up for failure by planning a project too big and complex for your current skills.
- Talking about your WIP more than you work on it
- Getting stuck in the planning/research stage forever.
This was the one and only book I read cover to cover during the read-a-thon Saturday. I'm still feeling haunted by some of those images and challenges. And I've reached for it several times in the last few days for booster shots.