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Excerpted from Walking in This World by Julia Cameron. Copyright 2002 by Julia Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"When we are worrying about creating instead of actually creating, we are wasting our creative energy."

  Julia Cameron, Walking in This World, Part 4

We have attached so much rigamarole to the notion of being an artist that we fail to ask the simplest and most obvious question: Do I want to make this? If the answer is yes, then begin. Fire the arrow.

We take no step unpartnered. We may feel like the fool from the Tarot deck, stepping heedlessly into blank space, but that is not reality. The Great Creator is an artist and he/she/it is an artist in partnership with other artists. The moment we open ourselves to making art, we simultaneously open ourselves to our maker. We are automatically partnered. Joseph Campbell speaks of encountering "a thousand unseen helping hands." I think of these hands as an invisible web ungirding any creative endeavor. It is like throwing a switch or toppling the first domino-there is a spiritual chain reaction that occurs the moment we act on faith. Something or somebody acts back.

It is when we fire the arrow of desire, when we actually start a project, that we trigger the support for our dream. We are what sets things in motion-people and events resonate toward our fiery resolve. Energy attracts energy. Our arrow is the speeding pickup truck that attracts summer dogs to chase it down the road. We generate the energy and excitement. Then others will give chase. "Build it and they will come."

Creative energy is energy. When we are worrying about creating instead of actually creating, we are wasting our creative energy. When we are vacillating, we are letting air out of our tires. Our pickup is not speeding down the road and may never even get out of the driveway. Our project goes flat.

Does this mean we should race off wildly? No, but it does mean that once we have a heart's desire we should act on it. It is that action, that moving out on faith, that moves mountains-and careers.

The book you are holding now is a book that I am writing on Riverside Drive in Manhattan and in my upstairs bedroom in northern New Mexico -- also, in the car and in truck stops as I drive cross-country between the two. None of this behavior matches my drama about being a real writer. In that drama, either I have gone to Australia, where I walk the beaches and beg for inspiration, or else I am freezing in a cabin near Yosemite with nothing to do all winter but shiver and write.

When we approach creativity that way, it smacks of the creativity firewalk or the creativity bungee jump -- definitely terrifying and not something I'd want to try in the next few minutes or without my will made out. It is one of the ironies of the creative life that while drama is a part of what we make, it has almost no place in how we make it. Even those famous artists who suffered famously dramatic lives were remarkably undramatic in their actual work habits. Hemingway wrote five hundred words a day, wife in and wife out. Composer Richard Rodgers wrote a composition every morning, nine to nine-thirty. His colleague, Oscar Hammerstein, rose at six and put in banker's hours on his farm in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Unseduced by glamour or by drama, their output was both steady and prodigious. This argues that we get a lot further creatively by staying put and doing something small and do-able daily in the life we already have.

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