Today I took a special day off to go to Fremantle, the wonderful port city near Perth, where I spent a soul-nourishing day reading the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and browsing the indie bookshops along the way to Moore and Moore’s, a cafe with eclectic decor.

It might seem a little counter-intuitive that I’ve escaped down under just as my book is about to launch in Singapore, but I find that having an escape hatch is helping me deal with all the anxiety about the reception the book will have when it finally drops. I’ll be back for the launch, of course, date still TBD.

The Artist’s Way is a classic that has defined my artistic recovery from the depths of writer’s despair several years ago. I was recommended it by my friend Oke back in 2013, and I used it a couple of times since getting it. It has never failed in getting my artistic mojo back, and I’m hoping that reading it now will help me jumpstart my next project and also get me writing poetry again, something which I haven’t done meaningfully in a while.

the artist's way cover

Just re-reading the first chapter today reminded me of how much my inner censor creates a lot of negative self-talk in my own head – the feelings of inadequacy, the inability to admit one is an artist/writer, and especially that one is a good and prolific one. They plague me even on the eve of publication! Just as they plagued me when I was in my office in China, unpublished and anonymous in the huge, unknowing city of Beijing.

I need to allow myself to be an artist. I need to nurture my inner artist child and be kind to it. It’s alright if I don’t measure up to my idols. It’s alright that I’m still learning the ropes. Here are the creative affirmations that Cameron recommends we write out during the first week. I’ve always found them to be incredibly moving to recite aloud or write out in longhand:

1. I am a channel for God’s creativity, and my work comes to good.

2. My dreams come from God and God has the power to accomplish them.

3. As I create and listen, I will be led.

4. Creativity is the creator’s will for me.

5. My creativity heals myself and others.

6. I am allowed to nurture my artist.

7. Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.

8. Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.

9. My creativity always leads me to truth and love.

10. My creativity leads me to forgiveness and self-forgiveness.

11. There is a divine plan of goodness for me.

12. There is a divine plan of goodness for my work.

13. As I listen to the creator within, I am led.

14. As I listen to my creativity I am led to my creator.

15. I am willing to create.

16. I am willing to learn to let myself create.

17. I am willing to let God create through me.

18. I am willing to be of service through my creativity.

19. I am willing to experience my creative energy.

20. I am willing to use my creative talents.

I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to be creative, and who feels blocked in some way. The tools seem simple and even rudimentary, but they worked for me, from taking that first step to reading again on the circuit in Beijing (the first time I read at Spittoon poetry) to becoming a published author (almost!). I’m glad to be reunited with my copy.

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