The Book That Changed My Life

Now please know, I don’t make such a claim lightly.  To call something “life changing” carries some pretty big expectations.  Especially when I recognize that my journey is different than your journey, which is different from my best girlfriend’s journey, and so on and so on.

But even when our paths are different, we often encounter similar challenges on our way toward our goals. Fear. Discomfort. Pain. Loss. Guilt.

So when you reach the point of making a decision to change, for better or worse, you have to buckle in for a bit of a wild emotional ride. And you can’t forget to bring your map.  And that’s what I feel like Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way can be for the struggling creative.

In September 2011, I decided that I was done sitting around waiting for my writing career to start.  (I should just get it out there that I had a lot of baggage to deal with on this topic.)  But I bought the book because it offered me a self-paced course that I could take in 12 easily digestible weekly chunks.

And you know what?  Within two weeks I had dusted off Edge of Shadows and completely done a final edit thinking I was going to start querying agents. Then two weeks after that, I had a discussion my self, and decided that self-publishing was actually the best route for me and my work.

Less than a month later, my novel was available for readers everywhere, and I experienced the most significant feeling of accomplishment in my career EVER. Then I wrote a novella (the soon to be released The Soul Garden) and 50,000 words on another novel.

Are you kidding me?

In the 11 weeks that I’ve been working through my artist healing process, I have become the most prolific I have ever been.  I committed to doing my morning pages (basically a daily journal) and it has made a world of difference in helping me identify and plan out my goals.

If you are a struggling creative (this isn’t just for writers) than you NEED this book.  It’s going to challenge you but at the same time it’s going to help you see that you are not alone.  What you are feeling is normal and manageable.

And it will set you free.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up!!

Somehow I Escaped Unscathed

From National Novel Writing Month that is.  At the beginning of November I answered the call to untether my writing spirit from my inner critic, and set down 50,000 words in thirty days (or less) during the month of November.

It can seem like an insurmountable task. You have to be a little bit crazy to even want to do something like this. Broken down, NaNoWriMo means that you commit to writing an average of 1667 words each day of the month. But on October 31st, I laughed in the face of this adversary.  Why?

Because I’ve done it before. Twice.  (Full disclosure: I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo four times before this year. 50/50 are pretty decent odds if you’re the gambling sort.)

My first NaNoWriMo novel, The Reunion, took me 23 days in 2004. (I was pretty proud of that effort although my heart breaks a little every time I read the story.  Those poor girls need a lot of help.)

Facebook page for more details on when The Soul Garden will be available!

But for now I will bask, for a few moments anyways, in the NaNoWrimo 2011 Winner’s Circle.

What’s the craziest goal you’ve ever attempted?  Did you accomplish it?  Tell us about it in the comments below!