Okay, I’m leading a creativity course at my library over the next six weeks, and this thing has thrown me for a loop! I’m not a creative expert. What made me think I could lead a workshop on creativity? For SIX WEEKS??? I swear, I get myself into these things by just saying “yes”. I should learn to say no. I should be embracing the “no”. But I’m not.
It all started last fall, with the writer’s group I lead throughout the year. I’d noticed that everyone was starting to put aside their writing goals because of time constraints, and possibly a bit of boredom. I don’t think anyone was ready to give up their writing selves, but they haven’t had that spark to participate since one of our earliest NaNoWriMo’s the year before. I suggested doing a community writing project–which still might happen–but there were conversations floating around about creativity and how we might look into that, so I said “yes”.
I had no idea where I was even going to start with this, but took up the book THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron as a jumping point. Several of our group had followed the teachings of this book, and thought it might be a great thing for our group to try.
Having never read it, I dove in, expecting to come away inspired, with lots of ideas for the course that I agreed to present in the new year. It seemed easy enough to follow, with each week laid out as a topic, with goals, exercises and homework plans. I worked through each chapter, pulling out the most interesting and relevant ideas, and prepping a workshop that I could do based on her teachings to re-inspire creative people. It was a lot of work, and for that reason, my boss asked me to advertise it to the public, not just the library writing group. What harm could that be? We might get a few nibbles.
As it turns out, EVERYONE wants to learn about creativity, and how to inspire themselves to lead a more creative life. We had people sign up immediately, and within days, our workshop was full—with a long waiting list to boot. Uh….okay. I was starting to panic.
Thankfully, in the meantime, I found Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC, her latest self-help/creativity piece that was making a real buzz around the web. I’ve loved her writing since EAT, PRAY, LOVE, and loved her wonderful, candid online interviews even more, so I was excited to pick this up and start reading. I thought I might get a few good quotes, some interesting anecdotes and more to add to my workshop, but I was BLOWN AWAY! I read her book in a day, basically, and couldn’t stop thinking about it. In fact, her ideas became a huge part of my workshop preparation, and I couldn’t wait to teach the first session! I just knew everyone would walk away feeling as excited and inspired as I felt heading into this new year.
The reality was a bit different. Come back tomorrow to find out about week one of my “Find Your Creative Self” workshop. You won’t want to miss it.