Workaholism

The Artist's Way - Week 11

Day 70:

It always seems to be Sunday when I miss my morning pages. This morning I got an email that invited me to be part of a Podcast. Which of course I needed to respond to ASAP, before heading off for an Engagement shoot and a special event for one of my roommates. Its about 8:00pm now and I’m just getting around to my TAW work for the week. I realized I missed some of my tasks as well, so I will finish those this week like I did for last week:

The Awful Truth:
Answer the following questions:

  1. Tell the truth. What habit do you have that gets in the way of your creativity Coming from last week I really do think that my workaholism is a bad habit that gets in the way of my creativity. I spend so much time worrying about paying the bills with a “real” job that I overexert myself mentally and emotionally, and then when its time to create I am out of energy and tired most of the time.

  2. Tell the truth. What do you think might be a problem? It is. The other part has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failing, fear of appearing stupid, fear of needing to ask for help.

  3. What do you plan to do about the habit or problem? See last week. I think setting clear boundaries with myself and my job will be a huge part of correcting my workaholism.

    As for the fear. I think that is something I will need to conquer myself and will need some additional planning

  4. What is your payoff in holding on to this block? (If you can’t figure out your payoff, ask a trusted friend). I can’t really say there is a payoff. I mean, unless you count a rough case of financial stability over an artistic life that could have its ups and downs.


    Blake’s Notes:

    I’m going to pass by the other questions in this exercise. Since I am doing a lot of this work publically, I’d rather not have people be irritated with my thoughts “on them”.


Week 11 Goals:

Morning Pages x7
Artist Date x1
Complete as many additional tasks as possible.


A few quotes stuck out at me from the reading this week:

As an artist, I do not need to be rich but I do need to be richly supported. I cannot allow my emotional and intellectual life to stagnate or the work will show it. My life will show it. My temperment will show it. If I dont create I get crabby.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
As an artist I can literally die of boredom. I kill myself when I fail to nurture my artist child because I am acting like somebody else’s idea of an adult. The more I nurture my artist child the more adult I am able to appear. Spoiling my artist means it will let me type that business letter. Ignoring my artist means a grinding depression
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
There is a connection between self-nurturing and self-respect. If I allow myself to be bullied and cowed by other people’s urges for me to be more normal and more nice, I sell myself out. They may like me better, feel more comfortable with my more conventional appearance or behavior, but I will hate myself. Hating myself I will lash out at myself and others.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
Creativity is oxygen for our souls. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage. There is a real rage that surfaces when we are interfered with [...] we will react as if we are flghting for our lives– We are.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
If you are happier writing than not writing, painting than not painting, singing than not singing, acting than not acting, directing than not directing, for god’s sake let yourself do it. To kill your dreams because they are irresponsibe is to be irresponsivle to yourself. Credibility lies with you and [the universe] not with a vote of your friends and aquaintences.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

Tasks:

  • Tape yourself in your own voice reading The Basic Principles. Use this tape for meditation

  • Inventory for yourself the ways you have changed since beginning your recovery.

    I am finding more time (or moreso working on finding the time) for my creative self.
    I am realizing that people do care about what I think, and value my opinions.
    I am working towards a better future for my creative self.
    I am realizing that living a creative life is possible.
    I have allowed myself to invest in my future, instead of letting the idea of spending money cripple me.


  • List 5 ways you will change as you continue

    I will continue to nurture my artist child through education and doing.
    I will give myself more time to focus on creativity.
    I will put more focus on my work, and less on what people think of my work.
    I will believe in myself.
    I will allow myself to take the steps to move forward with my career as an artist.


  • List 5 ways you plan to nurture yourself in the next six months: Courses you will take, supplies you will allow yourself, artist’s dates, and vacations just for you.

    I will restart and also finish Zak Arias’ DEDPXL “Get to work” guide.
    I will purchase another Creative Live guide (I just need to decide which one or ones). Maybe I’ll even break down and get that Clay Cook tutorial from F-Stoppers, even if it is a little on the expensive side.
    I will do more research, and maybe purchase some more light modifiers (Once I realize which ones I really would use regularly).
    I’d really like a couple of good C-Stands with grip arms, but I don’t have a place to store them at the moment.
    I will do my best to plan a real vacation away from my day to day life. If only for a weekend, or even a day.
    I will make time for artist dates, and actually follow through with them.

  • Take out a piece of paper and plan one week’s nurturing for yourself. This means one concrete, loving action every single day for one week. Please binge

    Monday: A trip to Comedy and Beer night at the brewery.
    Tuesday: Stop off for a movie instead of sitting in traffic.
    Wednesday: A nice dinner, at a nice restaurant, without worrying about the cost.
    Thursday: Karaoke night in Kennesaw.
    Friday: Board games with friends.
    Saturday: An evening at the Korean spa. Maybe with friends, maybe alone.
    Sunday: An afternoon nap, without worrying about sleeping through the night.


Day 76:

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I’m writing this after having driven home from seeing Family. I really wish I could have stayed a while longer, I probably could have, but also I needed to get back home in order to have some time to catch up before heading back to work next week.

I always hate when I have to leave early. I know that it’s heartbreaking to my family. But at the same time I think they realize that it’s a four hour drive from my house to theirs, and that I have my own life that needs to be lived.

During the drive I listened to another “self help” audiobook:

“Unfuck Yourself” - Gary John Bishop

“Unfuck Yourself” - Gary John Bishop

If The Artist’s Way is about nurturing the voice within, this book is about telling that voice to shut the hell up and get on with it. The book breaks down into a couple of “basic” principles:

  1. I AM WILLING

  2. I AM WIRED TO WIN

  3. I GOT THIS

  4. I EMBRACE THE UNCERTAINTY

  5. I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS; I AM WHAT I DO

  6. I AM RELENTLESS

  7. I EXPECT NOTHING & ACCEPT EVERYTHING.

I won’t go into much more detail than that, as I really think that this is worth a read. But I will say that it certainly gave me some ideas on how to…well…Unfuck myself. I hope that when times get tough (and they will) that I remember what this book has to teach.


Check-In:

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you? Have you recommended morning pages to anyone yet? Why? 4. I missed Sunday (see last week’s answer to this question since I finished my check in on the same day I started this post), and I got up a little too late on “Black Friday” to write before I needed to grab a shower and head out to see my grandparents. I also missed on Saturday before heading home. I chose to prioritise sleep and a little extra family time before hitting the road.

While I can’t say I have recommended morning pages per se, I have recommended that many people take on a 12 week Artist’s Way journey themselves.

Did you do your artist date this week? Have you considered scheduling an entire artist’s day? What did you do? How did it feel? Another week down without a date. Unless I find something for myself to do tomorrow. I wish I was in a position to schedule an entire artist’s day.

Perhaps I should allow myself to take a personal day from work and just spend the day working on me. I’ll see what I can do, and hopefully the upcoming holidays won’t step on my plans too much.

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them. I spent some time talking with my mother during Thanksgiving proper. We both are going through our own sets of challenges at the moment. But she made it clear that she knew what I was going through, even if she doesn’t have a way to help me at the moment.

As she was driving off to take my younger brothers home, she told me she was proud of me. And while I’m certain it wasn’t the first time she has said that…it did stick out in my memory. I just hope to keep it that way.

The Artist's Way - Week 10

Day 63:

I woke up early to finish the wedding photos from last night, and ended up choosing to skip morning pages to give myself some extra time to work. If you read the blog post for last week I went into detail about how I didn’t get anything accomplished (but ended up getting a lot accomplished in a different way).

I’m going to make it an effort to complete some tasks from last week, before hopping into this week’s tasks.

Visualizing: Fully imagine having your goal accomplished. Spend enough time filling in the juicy details that would really make the experience wonderful for you.

  1. Name your goal: I am a successful working photographer.

  2. In the present tense describe yourself doing it at the height of your powers! This is your ideal scene. I work for myself (likely under contract for various sources) and make enough money to live comfortably without the fear of debt looming at every turn. I enjoy what I do from day to day, and each day is an adventure. I learn something new with each and every assignment, and I go to sleep at night knowing that I did the best job possible that I could have done.

  3. Read this aloud to yourself.

  4. Post this above your work area.

  5. Read this aloud, daily!

Priorities: List for yourself your creative goals for the year [2019]. List for yourself your creative goals for the month. List for yourself your creative goals for the week.

2019:
Find a way to make at least 25% of my active income from Photography.
Create a Work/Life balance that works for me.
Be happy with the work that I am creating.
Work on more personal projects.

November/December 2018:
Spend a day shooting with Courtney and Chelsea - Create 3 sets of portraits for shared use
Come closer to shooting my “Black Dahlia” set.
Cast and begin Pre-Production on my “Hunter S. Thompson” set.
Shoot The Witcher series with Jessie and Racheal (et al).

November 11-17th:
Take time each day for creativity.
Don’t just go straight to bed after work.
Spend time reading for pleasure (The Alien 3 comic comes out in a few days, and I have it on pre-order).
Decide if I am returning the iPad Pro - If so, decide how that money could be better spent creatively.

Day 63:
(Continued)

This week’s reading was filled with a bunch of things that hit way too close to home, and made me feel…frustrated I guess would be the best word for it.

For many work is the block of choice. Busy, busy, busy, they grab for tasks to numb themselves with. They can’t take a half-hour’s walk. “What a waste of time!” Must-dos and multiple projects are drawn to them like like flies to a soda can in the sun. They go, “Buzz, buzz, buzz, swat!” as they brush aside the thought that was the breakthrough insight
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
“If I had more time, I’d have more fun” we like to tell ourselves, but this is seldom the truth.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
We begin to sense our real potential and the wide range of possibilities open to us. That scares us. So we reach for blocks to slow our growth
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

As I read through the chapter this week, these three quotes seemed to hit me very hard. In my morning pages lately I have expressed a lot of disdain for my day job. Even though I am good at it, I feel very disenchanted most of the time I am there.

It frustrates me to not have my work be recognized, which makes me not want to be there. Because if it weren’t for a steady paycheck I don’t think I would bother to show up. If my work means that little, why am I not taking more steps to work for someone who cares about my feelings, dreams, and overall well-being (myself).

Several things could help in remedying this:

  • Instead of being told I’m not doing enough - I want to be asked how someone else could help spread the load. I do not want to be constantly asked to spread the load of others without the same offers being made in return.

  • I want help in completing day to day tasks without being made to feel like a burden for asking for help.

  • I want to be paid what someone else at another similar position would be paid, so that I am not having to stretch myself too thin or constantly live a life where I have to scrutinize every purchase– Frivolous or Necessary.

  • I don’t want to be in an environment where it is a coin toss as to whether or not it will be a “good day” based on the feelings of my boss or peers.

I feel day to day as if I should be focusing on my dreams, instead of constantly helping guide the dreams of others. I too, have my own path to follow.

In any creative life, there are dry seasons [...] Life loses its sweetness; our work feels mechanical, empty, forced. We feel we have nothing to say, and we are tempted to say nothing. [...] In a creative life, droughts are a necessity. The time in the desert brings us clarity and charity. When you are in a drought, know that it is to a purpose.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

When things get tough in my mind, I always think of the desert. It is a place that is both calming and deadly. Beautiful and yet desolate. Unbearably hot, and freezing cold. It is the alpha and the omega.

Last year (or maybe earlier this year, time always gets away from me) I joked with my mother that I wanted nothing more than to just “go into the desert to find myself”. Even though creatively I am in one of the best places I have ever been, I still long for clarity and charity.

Maybe it’s time I make my escape for a while.

Competition is [a] spiritual drug. When we focus on competition we poison our own well, impede our own progress. When we are ogling the accomplishments of others, we take our eye away from our own through-line. We ask ourselves the wrong questions, and those wrong questions give us the wrong answers.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

It’s good to be reminded not to dwell on the successes of others, and not spend too much time comparing yourself to another. Each are walking their own path. I want to remind myself that those people with whom I am competing with are my peers and are no better or no worse than myself no matter the end result or noted accolades.

Just because I see one of my peers shooting work for Magazine X, doesn’t mean that without the right “tools” I couldn’t be doing the same.


Week 10 Goals:

Morning Pages x7
Artist Date x1
The Workaholism Quiz
Complete as many additional tasks as possible.


The Workaholism Quiz:

Answer the Following Questions With: Never, Seldom, or Often

  1. I work outside of office hours: Often

  2. I cancel dates with loved ones to do more work: Seldom

  3. I postpone outings until the deadline is over: Seldom

  4. I take work home with me on weekends: Often

  5. I take work with me on vacations: (What are vacations?)

  6. I take vacations: Never

  7. My intimates complain I always work: (What are Intimates?)

  8. I try to do two things at once: Often

  9. I allow myself free time between projects: Seldom

  10. I allow myself to achieve closure on tasks: Never

  11. I procrastinate in finishing up the last loose ends: Often

  12. I set out to do one job, and start three more at the same time: Always

  13. I work in the evenings during family time: Often

  14. I allow calls to interrupt and lengthen my work day: Often

  15. I prioritize my day to include an hour of creative work/play: Rarely/Never

  16. I place my creative dreams before my work: Seldom

  17. I fall in with others’ plans to fill my free time with their agendas: Often

  18. I allow myself downtime to do nothing: Seldom

  19. I use the word deadline to describe and rationalize my work load: Never

  20. Going somewhere, even to dinner, with a notebook or my work numbers is something I do: Often

Because workaholism is a process addiction (an addiction to a behavior rather than a substance), it is difficult to tell when we are indulging in it. An alcoholic gets sober by abstaining from alcohol. A workaholic gets sober by abstaining from overwork
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

WORKAHOLISM IS A BLOCK, NOT A BUILDING BLOCK.


Day 64:
After talking it out I have decided to return the iPad Pro. Many hours of careful consideration has made it clear that for right now it’s just not a wise purchase. So I have restored it to factory settings and have it ready to return tomorrow.

In its place I think I made a much wiser choice and have invested in some more lighting equipment. Equipment that I think will better serve me as a photographer and have a much easier chance at being paid off much quicker.


Tasks:

The Deadlines:
Take a piece of paper and cut seven small strips from it. One each strip write one of the following words: Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, Work, Money, Food, Family/Friends. Fold these strips of paper and place them in an envelope. Draw one of the deadlines from the envelope and write five ways it has had a negative impact on your life. Do this seven times, each time putting back the previous slip of paper so that you are always drawing from seven possible choices.

Drugs:
Have lost me friendships
Have hurt former relationships
Can damper healing emotional wounds
Family/Friends:
Are not always positive
Sometimes don’t see past themselves
Think art isn’t a “real job”
Would rather me take the “safe” route
Have made me fearful of the world at large
Sex:
I have wasted a lot of time chasing it
I have ruined some past relationships by wanting it
Was asked to end a relationship because we weren’t having enough of it.
Puts undue pressure over working relationships
I’ve done a lot of stupid things in search of it
Family/Friends:
Make me feel incredibly jealous when they are “doing better” than me
Make me feel unwelcome sometimes
Prefer I come to them, instead of coming to me
Are supportive until I need support
Don’t make equal effort to help, but have no problems asking for help
Food:
Has made me fat
Acts as a warm crutch when I’m feeling down
Costs a lot of money for not a lot of reward
Consumed a lot of my thinking while trying to lose weight
Is a socially acceptable addiction
Work:
I have given up a lot of creative freedom for my work
Work exacerbates my anxiety
Work has caused me to have panic attacks
Work has caused me to be scared of starting out on my own
Work takes up way too much of my time
Money:
Money takes up way too much of my focus
Money (Debt) is a huge part of why I’m not happy
Money stops me from doing the things I want to do
Lack of money makes me unable to support friends/artists the way I’d like to
Money makes me feel frustrated regularly

Touchstones:
Make a quick list of things you love, happiness touchstones for you. Post this list where it can console you and remind you of your own personal touchstones.

  • Cats - Their purrs, their furs, and how loving they want to be on their own terms.

  • The smell of new tires.

  • The feeling when someone loves a photo you have taken of them.

  • Clawfoot tubs, big enough to fit all of you at once.

The Awful Truth:
Answer the following questions:

(This activity was pushed back to Week 11 due to lack of time)

Setting a bottom line:


Bottom Line

  1. I will no longer work [my day job] weekends.

  2. If I have to do work on a weekend, I will make myself take equal time off no later than the following week.

  3. I will no longer bring work with me on social occasions.

  4. I will no longer place work before my creative commitments.

  5. I will no longer postpone lovemaking to do late night reading for work.

  6. I will no longer accept business calls at home after six.

If you are working too many jobs and too many hours, you may need to look at your billing. Are you pricing yourself appropriately? Do some footwork. What are others in your field reciving? Raise your price and lower your workload.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

Cherishing:

  1. List five small victories: Getting re-blogged to a national photography blog, learning how to light a challenging wedding venue, being asked to shoot a group cosplay next month, Getting through a Monday with no nagging frustration, 10% instant rebates on gear purchases.

  2. List three nurturing actions you took for your artist: Returning a purchase that wasn’t wise, Purchasing equipment that makes much more financial sense,

  3. List three actions you could take to comfort your artist. Spa day, buy/watch/read some photographic educational material, Find a cat and pet it.

  4. Make three promises to yourself. Keep them. I promise that I will find a way to make 2019 beneficial for me, I promise that if my day job doesn’t respect me that I will make my own path, I promise to live my life for me.

  5. Do one lovely thing for yourself each day this week.


Check-In:

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? 6. I always seem to miss Sundays for whatever reason. I was super busy trying to get out the door today for an Engagement shoot that I wasn’t able to get anything written.

Did you do your artist date this week? Let yourself do an extra one? What did you do? How did it feel? I feel bad, but I haven’t had a successful artist date in weeks now. I always get tied up with so many other things that the day gets ahead of me. There were several things this week that could have counted, but I didn’t go into them calling it a date…so it wasn’t a date.

Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? I actually did, although it more counts for week 11 since it happened today.

Many weeks ago I was tasked with writing down a list of things I thought would be fun, and one of those was “Start a Podcast”. This morning I woke up to an email asking me to be a guest and discuss my iPad Pro article. So hopefully I can make that happen.

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them. This week has been a rollercoaster of a week. Being picked up by DIYPhotography and Petapixel really reminded me that I can do other things than take photos. I’m happy that it generally went over well, and that there weren’t too many people with negative comments. I hope to be able to continue this trend of work and keep moving in the right directions.

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