If we were speaking in technicalities, I would be on Chapter 5 in The Artist Way because I am starting week 5 of my morning pages.

However that’s just technically.

In real life, I am deliberately making way through Chapter 3 stopping every paragraph to highlight every life giving item my eyes fall upon. I still can’t tell if Julia’s words are simply anointed or if it’s unexplainably my time to grasp this writing dream. Long run I guess it doesn’t matter, my understanding of who I am as a creative and the value it holds, is changing. This thought of writing a book is gradually developing from something people have told me I need to do and a dream of mine, to actually a thing I am made to do. I am not made to do it because I have a huge word to deliver, or a deep wisdom to give. I am made to do it because I am a writing creative and that alone gives life.

This morning as my hands begrudgingly took out the red and brown colored journal to begin the arduous task ahead, my mind laid blank. Either unwilling or uninspired I don’t know, I just know each letter was pure grit. The more I wrote, the less grit had a hold and by page two and a half I found myself toying with the thought of what I would say in a book and just like that my heart starting palpitating. My mind started to get foggy and my grit came back. Tighten the grip on my pen as to not lose hold due to the sweat on my palms building up. I thought “I don’t have enough to say”, “I don’t have enough story to tell”. “Why can’t I just write the point!” And then like dew rests on leaves a thought began to lay ever so gently on my brain.

“Jesus didn’t come to earth and go straight to the cross.”

The words laid heavy on my heart as my pen moved across the page quick with the emotion.
‘I think I have heard before. Surely I have heard that before”, I thought to myself. This time it’s different. You see this journey is growing me and that statement says so much more. What if all we had was the cross? What if we didn’t have the story of the disciples? Each of the 12 men telling a piece of who Jesus was in their words, with their actions. What if we didn’t have the women who knew Jesus? The ones who gave all they had at his feet, and served him in a world that held no value for them? The STORY of Jesus is just as valuable as the cross. Our ability/knowledge to walk out the freedom He released on the cross comes from the stories told of his life on earth. The value of the story, the fact that in the grand design that God created, He placed such significance in the telling of Jesus STORY. He created a life of miracles, divine interventions, and fulfilled prophecies to compliment the point; the cross.

I guess if God, the ultimate creator, sees value in creating the STORY, I should too. I should do the work of authoring the story. I choose to say yes to the STORY. I will silence again the inner critic and say, I have enough story because I am a writing creative and that alone gives life.

Staying Present: Artist Week #4

I have written this post at least 4 times in my mind and each time I have started it with:

Captains Log 437.

Why? I have no idea why, it surely stuck though, so much so that I had to figure out how to get it in there without actually starting my blog with Captain’s Log 437.
I had a revelation today while I was making my comeback to my morning pages. I say making a comeback because technically I have not done my morning pages since Thursday and it authentically seems like a comeback. I wasn’t super keen on writing my pages this morning either, however I have now publicly taken a stand against that lethargy and am compelled do to something about it. So I wrote…..and wrote….and wrote. It felt so good once I put my hand to that paper and got to page 2. All the feelings that I allowed to hold me back from writing were all of a sudden on the paper. Then this thought me, it was like a missing puzzle piece was subtly and strategically placed back.

If you have read my blog at all, you might have read a post I wrote called  Present. Where I had this intense conversation with the Lord about how I haven’t allowed the relationships in my life to be what they are. He showed me that when I get scared I take my experiences from the past and I write that story into the future. (Just click the title above to read the whole post, it’s a good one. Life changing if you ask me 😉 ) Believe it or not, I do the same thing with being a creative. I am almost always looking at the long game, gazing at the what is to come. I have this script of “I am not good enough” that I wrote a long time ago, and when I hit a present moment of I can, I get scared. Then I reach way back pick up that script, and I throw in into my future allowing it to take my thoughts down this path: What if I write a book? What if I talk to people about the book? I don’t know my scripture really well. Sometime I cuss when I talk. Sometimes I talk about the uncomfortable thing because it doesn’t bug me. What if I do all those sometimes things in front of the people who read my book. What does that mean. I can’t do that. Also I don’t have enough words to write a book. What would the point of my book be. On and on and on I let my brain go until that script becomes the chains that keep me stuck.

Here is the truth that I found today in my little revelation. When I write a book, I don’t know what kind of book it will be. I don’t know if it will be long or short. I don’t know if it will be about me or Katie Grace. I don’t know if anybody will read the book, okay well I know some who will read the book because they have already pre-ordered a copy. I am not sure if I will ever speak on the book. I am not sure if anything will ever become of this book. What I do know is that I want to write a book. I am called to create with my words, and if I spend my life throwing into the future a falsely written script from the past, I am missing it. I am missing the beauty of being present. I am missing the beauty of the process.

I don’t want to miss it anymore.

Here is to being present and staying present.

Mentor Letter

Wednesday did not start early enough for me. Interpret, I didn’t get up early enough to get my 3 morning pages done before life started. Before I knew it Charles was walking through the front door home from work for the day. Time is a sneaky beast, man. One that morphs with situations causing the day and seasons to speed up and slow down with no rhyme or reason that logically fits in the box of my mind. Despite my failure with the morning, I forced myself upstairs into my plumage painted room, plopped myself down and made The Artist Date happen. It is supposed to be two hours, this week I can only offer one, and I am calling it enough. In this forced hour date, I finished my 3 pages and I wrote out an exercise that my friend Julia has for us creatives at the end of each chapter. You know those ones I was telling you about on Tuesday. The ones that sometimes I don’t ever get back to. In chapter 2 she suggested we write a letter, a happy piece, of encouragement or a Thank you letter and mail it to yourself or a long lost mentor. She also suggested that we write a letter to an editor in our defense and get out the discouragement spoken over you along the journey. Considering I am my own worst enemy, and I have clearly defined that in my last posts, I am opting for the happy one.
It’s time for some happy.

So without further ado:

Dear Mrs. Mac.

I put a period at the end of Mac because I remember your real last name being INCREDIBLY longer then that. I can’t remember exactly what it is, but I know it was long. My sister probably remembers what your whole last name is, she is pretty incredible like that, and if I am writing this Thank You letter in all honesty, my sister is the reason why you loved me.

My sister, a talented dyslexic, could recite poetry and understand the depths of words read to her but for the life of her she couldn’t read out loud straight to you, and many times her papers were written backwards. She worked hard for you though. She valued excelling in school even though her brain was her nemesis. Funny to write the thing she esteemed worked the hardest against her. She didn’t give up though, and neither did you. You would meet with her, offer her the extra help needed and encourage her, encourage her, encourage her.

Then I walked through your doors not but 4 years later. Not only did I share in her depth and understanding of words read, but I could write. Easily concepts from assignments came to me, and with no work at all I would write out paper after paper. I remember one time in class, you asked for volunteers to read, I of course raised my hand, and you picked me letting me read away. At some point you stopped me and invited other people to read aloud, the only sound you received in feedback was a unified “no let Katie keep reading”. Now, I don’t know if that was the resounding response because 1. I said all the cuss words in the book without blinking, 2.if they just wanted to check out and not work, or 3. my reading was so mesmerizing that they just wanted to hear me read. I REALLY would love the answer to be option 3, and I think on some level that is what I have decided. There is no way to know though. Let’s just go with #3.

By now I am looking like a great student, giving you paper after paper, and volunteering to read in class, however you and I both know the truth. I was a horrible student. I was lazy with no value for school or the work that it took. Oh how it frustrated you. You weren’t but 5 ft tall and well into your 60’s but man did you have spunk, and you were not afraid of letting a student know when they were wasting their talents. I remember one time, you had to give me a C on a paper, because I simply did a inferior job. I waited until last minute to write it and although the content was there the careless way I wrote it demanded a C. You had me wait after class in that tan modular building every English class I had was in. You walked up to my desk where I was sitting and barely towered over me, you stamped your foot, put your hands on your slightly full hips and said, “I am so disappointed. Your sister worked so hard for every C I ever gave her, and you turn in this. You have a gift and you are wasting it. Please don’t waste it.”

I wish I could say that I took that conversation and change my ways. However I am now 35 writing you this letter, needless to say I didn’t. You however never gave up on me in the 4 years I was there. I took every English class I could with you, and then I was your TA my senior year and you never stopped asking me to be more. To embrace my gift and not waste it on idle youth. You believed in me, even when you HAD to give me a C. I can look back and see now, that although in the moment I thought it was cute and sweet that you had my back. I was missing a critical piece. It hurt you. I hurt you. How hard that must have been to believe in a young person so much and watch them do nothing with it. I am so sorry.

Thank you. Thank you for standing your ground with me. Thank you for giving me the memories to pull on today. I hope you can see your fight with my academic lethargy and immaturity wasn’t without reward. Your hope for me didn’t fall on hardened ground, although thats what it looked like. Below that surface of lackadaisicalness was soft brown soil, and I soaked in yours words. I grabbed onto your hope and stuffed it deep down. Today I am reaching into that soil pulling your words of encouragement and your belief. I am pulling on the memories of how you saw my gift and claiming them as on own.
Thank you, thank you and thank you will never be enough.
Your favorite newly transformed lackadaisical student
Katie

No longer

Well the good news is I started the week with my morning pages. Yesterday I didn’t get to them until the afternoon and even then I was doing them while Isaac was interrupting me every few minutes to help him with school.  I gutted it out anyway and got it done.  I chose again to gut out my 3 pages this morning, even though I legitimately wanted to be writing this post instead. . I have to say I am always always surprised 1. as to how much I have to say when I think I have nothing to say 2. how purifying it is to say it and 3. what comes out once that first layer is skimmed off.

At the end of each chapter my new friend Julia, asks us to do a bunch of exercises. I pretty much don’t like any of them. Its nothing personal yet it is everything personal. I try to find the easiest ones to do first, pretending that I will go back and do the ones that challenge me more later. I am two weeks in and have yet to do that whole going back thing.
It actually feels quite vulnerable to share my whining attitude with you all, especially since no one is making me do this. Shame is whispering at the doorway of my heart, telling me how childish this is, and how I should erase it, delete every word. I can’t seem to stop though. Laying bare the shame is the only way I know how to silence it. Whining publicly is somewhat the only way I know to expose how much its not who I am. Matter of fact as I write these whining words, I can feel the betrayal in my heart. Glancing over my penned words my eyes communicate back what I am projecting out for you all to see, and I wonder who is that. It’s not me, I am an author. I am someone who isn’t afraid…yet I am. I have let this person, the whining, shame filled, delete happy one; be in charge of my writing. I have listened to them all these years; hiding the voices of compliments from them. They have dominated my heart when it comes to creativity and shortened every story, silenced every desire to get better.

I guess today is the beginning of no longer. No longer will I let whining shamed filled delete happy Katie be in charge of the writer in me. They will not have the reins of my creativity, dominating with criticalness and despair. Instead, I will merge two and nurture whining shamed filled delete happy Katie; so that we become one whole creative, submitted to the beauty and process of creating.

 

Beginning my Artist Way Journey

Two days ago as I wrote out my long Instagram post about how Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way is challenging me, I decided I wanted to blog about it. It has been a long time since I have let myself be challenged in my mindset about writing. I usually take the generic I am not good enough approach and tuck away all encouragements. I have been pretty firm about keeping my feet on the ground of success scares me, and being a good writer is a cute thing I want to do but not anything I have the actual gift for.

Life changes you though, and transitions oddly seem to open doors you don’t ever expect. So here I am, putting my mind and will to the practice to taking my feet off the path of success scares me. Dedicating myself to loosening the encouragements I have so neatly tucked away….allowing them to be the voices inside of my head. Quieting the ones that have become my complacent comfort over the years.

The Artist Way has been the best place to start. I am throughly and irritatingly enjoying walking through this process. Julia’s encouragements, and the tasks she sets you to, are good. They are much like a doing a workout video except it is more emotional and creative. For the first time in my life, I am excited to see what comes out of me. Who I could possibly be at the end of this creative process!

For those of you who read my Instagram post two day ago. I did my three pages yesterday. I had about 5 REALLY REALLY good reason not to. I did them though, and it was good!

Today is another story.  It is 1:20 and I have yet to do them.  Although they are to be done in the morning.  I am going to make myself sit and do them….right after I post this.