Week 2 of Cameron’s The Artist’s Way aims to help struggling participants recover a sense of identity. Week 1’s theme, which focused on recovering a sense of safety, was much more apparent to me in Cameron’s predetermined exercises. (If you haven’t read last week’s blog, I recommend it if you want to follow along!) Upon first thought, I’m not certain I’ve recovered much of my identity as a writer after Week 2, but I also recognize that this is probably the biggest hurdle in my creative recovery. My identity as a writer is absolutely fragile–especially because I’m the type of person whose self-worth is depends on success in my professional life. Given that my professional life includes my writing, things tend to feel pretty impossible when I can’t motivate myself to write. Thus, the vicious cycle continues.
Suffice to say, I’ve been in a rut lately. By lately, I mean two years.
My ability to write was the first thing to go, though the desire is always there. I forced myself to finish a thesis with energy I didn’t have and in May 2017, I graduated from The New School’s Creative Writing program. I had an MFA, a partial novel I hated, and plans to dig myself out–to write after graduation, finish my book, and stay in America. Fast forward to October 2018 and I’ve yet to accomplish any of those things. For now, I’m still in New York, but the path to a visa is slow, expensive, and not a guarantee. To add insult to injury, while I await the processing of my permanent residency, I’m unable to work–something I’ve done since I was sixteen and waitressing at a fried chicken restaurant. Unemployment, while I had plans to utilize this time to write, has me questioning my self-worth every day. I’m faltering without a routine, a schedule, with the responsibility of my passions entirely up to me. I had such grand plans, but as time passes, I find myself further and further away from finishing what I started.
Enter The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.