Finding Water, Finding Myself

January 26th, 2007

I've had so much to share recently, that I've shared nothing. Does that ever happen to you? There's no way to condense it all, so saying nothing is easier. I'm sitting in a Starbucks right now, getting out of the house is good for the soul. And small world, someone I go to school with just walked in. I feel re-energized now, partly coffee, partly being out in the world. On these days I'm working at home, I'm trying to get out of the house at least once per day. Yesterday it was to ship off a piece of art to a woman in Minnesota that found my art randomly online (how cool is that?) Today I did some corresponding with a potential art-studio-mate and a woman who has commissioned me to do a family portrait similar to the style of this one that I did for her friend.

I'm trying my best not to feel overwhelmed by all I want and need to do. For one, the amount of cleaning and clearing and organizing that needs to happen is so daunting. There are many things to set up such as websites and online stores and cutting mats and of course there's the art-making and the constant reminder needed that I can just play and see what happens, because trying too hard usually leads to a bunch of crapola. I'm aware that I don't need to conquer everything right off the bat. I've had all of 3 days, counting today working on my own. I need to give myself time to ease into this, to properly prepare. Yesterday, I found myself very frustrated. I think I was feeling a great sense of overwhelm that I wasn't acknowledging, so I was super anxious. And then all these little things started going wrong, the internet stopped working and then I couldn't find something and I went off on an obsessive search for it that involved digging through the nightmare that is the basement, crawling over dusty boxes that most likely belong to someone who lived here years ago and sneezing my brains out and getting a bloody nose and searching the same spot over and over and never finding it. I don't know if anyone else experiences this, but I go a little nuts when I can't find something, I have trouble letting go and my anxiety just builds and builds as I search and it's so hard to stop! Sheesh! Anyways, eventually I did stop, I got art out the door, did some business-y things, and then the fiansor got home and we fell asleep together. After the nap, I felt so refreshed and energized that I danced around and made some art. Writing my gratitude list was helpful in turning things around, the nap helped me get some perspective, and I woke up today feeling ready to go. I need to stop and smell the roses, enjoy the journey, love the questions. I'm learning as I go, one baby step at a time.


In this new venture, it seemed like the perfect time to do a little inner work to focus in on my creativity and myself. A few weeks back, I saw that Jessie had received the book Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance, the third installment in the Artist's Way series by Julia Cameron. I didn't even realize this book was coming out! I sent Jessie an email to see if she might be interested in doing the book together and we've been going back and forth about it, the timing, whether we'd ask others to join in, etc...Last year, the Artist's Way group that I facilitated was an amazing and at times overwhelming experience. This time around, since I've never done this book before, I'm not going to be leading a group, instead I'll simply say:

Hey, Jessie and I are going to be working through this book. It promises to be a wild, wonderful experience.  If you'd like to join in, we'd love to have you. Simply leave a comment on our, Finding Water blog (link coming soon!) which is where we'll be keeping links to the blogs of anyone participating and perhaps occasional group announcements. Jessie and I will be posting about our own experience with the book on our individual blogs, so this new blog will function as a place where we update links to anyone doing the book.

I don't know if there will be an interest, the Artist's Way is such a phenomenon and this book is brand new. But I know she uses the same tools (morning pages, artist's date, etc), so the experience will be similar in that sense. And I don't believe you have to have done the previous books to do this one. She explains everything at the beginning of each book, so they can stand on their own. Like the others in the series, Finding Water is a 12 week commitment and it's so helpful to do it in a community of like-minded people, so I'm super excited to do this with Jessie (and anyone else who might like to be involved.)

The starting date for week 1 is Saturday, February 17th. So, if you're interested, you have time to purchase the book online. I saw it on for much cheaper than what I bought it for in a book store. Also, if you let me know you're buying it and you've never used before, I saw a program where I can "refer" you and we both get $5! Good deal! But feel free to get the book whereever. I was too excited to wait, so I had to go to the store and pick it up right away. :-) Here's what it says in the book jacket:

Finding Water completes Julia Cameron's bestselling trilogy on the creative process to offer guidance on weathering the periods of an artist's life when inspiration appears to have run dry. This book offers advice and wisdom about tackling the greatest challenges you may face, such as:

  • Making the decision to begin a new project
  • Persevering when a new approach to your art does not bear immediate fruit
  • Staying focused when other parts of your life threaten to distract you from your art
  • Finding possibilities for artistic inspiration in the most unlikely places....

And just as a reminder, the term artist here is used in the broadest sense, not just for traditional artists but for creative people of all stripes (photography, knitting, writing, collage, crafting, teaching, dancing, whatever!) and everyone is creative (really.)

I have entries for CaC too, that haven't made it to posting, ack! It's hard to keep up with it all! Ah well.

19 Responses

i haven’t decided yet if i can commit ( i REALLY do, but i dont’ want to commit to it if i can’t follow through), so i will keep you updated!

The morning pages and artists dates really don’t seem to do that much for me. I’ll think about it, though. What I really need is a good art class, I think.

I love you and I can’t wait! :) Thank you for putting an invitation out into the world. I’m glad you took some time to go to a coffee shop. Good luck with this coming week!

Hi – thanks for the link to your artwork, such beautiful, beautiful stuff! I am particularly in love with Dive does not exist, Eastwind, Andromeda, Wishimight. They would make such gorgeous covers for a journal!

I am getting myself a copy asap! I don’t know how much I’ll blog about it as I read, but I will be excited to read the posts of everyone else. I hadn’t realized this book existed and I’m pretty excited actually.

Alas, artists dates are few and far between lately, but I do my morning pages faithfully, and as I already told Jessie, I’ve love to be involved in this too. :-D

ah, overwhelm. You know, I never realize I’m in a doldrums art wise until I look back and see I’m not creating. It sort of sneaks up on me. Then when I realize nothing’s working and start looking around, I usually see that it’s because my hands have been too clean lately (too much typing on the computer).

I am finally after many many (many) years getting the artist’s date thing. Pages? No problem (todo list). Getting out of the house…very hard. The past several weeks I have made the effort and been rewarded by good things. Which encourages me to keep up. But takes away from computer time (since I’m back in the studio, cobwebs from “vacation” cleared out and playing with NEW stuff – stuff I haven’t made before and isn’t necessarily for retail….it’s been a long hard haul getting here).
Back to overwhelm: all those things? will happen when it’s time. One day you’ll get up and it’ll feel like a “let’s do stuff on the web” day or a “I think I’ll organize my office” day. I even have “well, I think I’ll do my numbers today” days (which is nothing short of a miracle). Working for yourself is like that.
Good luck!

Wow Leah you are doing so well! I love that you are out there finding your feet – brilliant!

And yes I can go completely nuts too when I’ve lost something – somehow I end up looking in the same place over and over and not finding it… of course then Jim comes along and finds it there after all… not always but often enough to get me tearing my hair out! (I have to remind myself that this is the same guy who can be looking right at something in the ‘fridge and ask where it is…)

Having just finished my most recent re-run of the AW I was wondering what next. At the moment the weeks are unrolling one at a time. Usually I can see further ahead than that, but not right now.

Then in my favourite coffee shop I saw an ad for an AW group – the first I’ve ever seen in Bristol (I put up such an ad ten years ago and got no-one!) but I’m not re-doing it right away just yet… even if it is tempting to go and meet others in Bristol doing it… actually it’d be a whole lot more tempting if it was a bit more conveniently located… and the organiser wasn’t charging over a hundred pounds… so no to that one.

And now you’ve told me there is a new book to play with, and you’ll be doing it for the first time too… yippee… I’ll get it and see how it feels… oh I hope I can play along on this one!

Talk about overwhelm! I have been thinking all day of posting about being overwhelmed by my thoughts! Still haven’t made it! ;) I am so very glad I found your post, Leah. You’re speaking my thoughts for me, and I very much hope I can get the book in time to join in with you…perseverance is a lesson I so need to learn! ;)

I’d like to join. Life is crazy and full and yet I had such a good time being a part of ‘The Artist Way’ group that I can’t resist.

Yes I do exactly two of the things you mention in this post…

I have so much I want to say that sometimes I say nothing on my blog and just scribble a bit in my journal. That has been happening quite a bit lately…especially with CaC, I have something to say (create) for every post (challenge)that I don’t know where to begin!

and I always start to look for something and then become OBSESSED! Yes this happens often with me.

Finally this is so serendipitous! (my dictionary fell apart just an hour ago when i was sitting on the couch and asked Sean to throw it to me, which he did, but half the pages landed on the floor! so I am not sure of the spelling :)

I really want a new book to get into…I was just telling Sean at dinner how I NEED a new book. Last week I asked for book suggestion on my blog and received a ton that seem interesting, But I was wishing more for a book I could read a little at a time with a group. And here is your post with two of my blogging sisters reading it together! Hooray! Count me in I am getting the book ASAP!
I didn’t read Julia’s second book. But you did right? Can you write a bit about it?

Very excited!!!

I had been thinking earlier tonight, about how unfocused I’ve been – everywhere! My art, my blog, my you-name-it, and here I find this post, and it feels, just as Melba said, so serendipitous. I’m going to look into getting the book, but I’m thinking, yes – yes!

Leah and Jessie-I saw the book on your blog last week and then it almost jumped out at me at the bookstore while I was looking for something else, SO, I picked it up and now I can’t put it down. It’s really good, just like the first. I’m excited to read along with you all! Count me in. In fact, count me in anytime you start something, I always love to hear your perspective. You are gifted in the art of writing too! xo Lia

Count me in. I’ll order it as soon as we get paid at the end of the month. This will be even better than doing AW alone, and that was pretty good.

I could’ve written this entry. The obsessive search that begins simply because you can’t find something, the having so much going on that you say nothing… Yep, got that covered, my dear.
But the “not letting outside factors affect your time to make art?” Still working on that one, I’m afraid.

Hi, I didn’t know about her new book until I read about it here in your blog! I’m going to pick one up asap too and would love to join in! I read AW but not the second book. Excited to get to the bookstore! :) Thanks!

The last few nights I’ve been looking for an Artist’s Way group to join. Half an hour ago I got tears in my eyes, wanting *something* for my creativity. Then I come to your site and read this post … Spirit answers my prayer! So count me in, I want to play too!

hi leah!

just came by to let you know that i’ve got something of yours over at my blog *smile*…

wow, i just found the AW recently by chance & have yet to read it & now there are 2 others! i think i will have to live vicariously through the group…i still have to read AW first!

when you get your fw blog up & running, i will add your link to my blog *smile*…

:) mary ann

Hi Leah, I linked to your site because I’m reading this book too.
I put links on my blog that don’t connect directly with the content of
my entry, but connect to things I want to read or think about.
Great blog, btw,

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