It is at least 10 years since I last worked through this book and so I am enjoying exploring its pages again. What has given me the most joy, this time, is the support of fellow creatives. Who else understands the agony of being blocked. I know poet Maya Angelou gets it. This quote of her's says it all - 'There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.' Who else can get the sheer thrill of breakthroughs than a fellow artist?
So what is the connection between my husband's broken ribs or my son's illness, the arts and the online support group? It is this: the healing power of art and the comfort of artistic friends -in particular Christian friends who are artists.
While my son was on morphine for excruciating pain I doodled in my journal - I drew him on his bed with the drip in his arm and a peg on his finger and I wrote my fears across the page. In the early morning before I went to see him in hospital I wrote about it in my 3 morning pages (an Artist's Way practice. I see it as talking to God on paper.).Then I wrote another 500 words of the novel I am playing with, which I started purely for fun while working through 'The Artist's Way' again. I thought of that phrase - 'writing to save your life', and for the first time I could apply that to me. The morning pages were cathartic, healing, they soothed me - here I sat with God. The novel was sheer pleasure - a joy. God used my love of writing to keep me afloat. And my AW (Artist's Way) 'friends' cheered me on as I filled them in on my progress, at our weekly check ins. The lovely thing about The Artist's Way is the spiritual side of this book, while not Christian, it does allow for a creator and therefore talk of God is allowed (perhaps a rare thing today).
And then there is another group - a writers' online prayer group. I know some of these precious individuals in person, others I haven't met but I feel I know them well, nonetheless. They are all Australian Christian Writers and I love them to bits. Their love and prayerful consideration of my emails has moved me to tears recently. They are always there with a kind word and I know they are praying for me and that knowledge helps me to breathe easier. This group cares for the whole of me - for my writing, my art, my hopes and dreams and for my everyday, walking around life. They care for my children, my husband and even my pets. They listen to my fears. They have prayed for a dying friend and for my emotional pain. They share my successes, and excitement at life. These friends are prayer partners who write, and somehow this makes all the difference.
So I am writing this to say if you are a writer and you don't have a support group around you to champion you on, through the good and bad times of writing and everyday life, then please consider finding yourself one or start one. And never, ever stop being the creative person that God has wired you to be. It will heal you. It will comfort you. God may even use it to speak to others.