Can the creative journey be planned?

So, out of curiosity, I decided to get a copy of 52 Weeks of Writing: Author Journal and Planner by Mariëlle S Smith. It’s a self-help guide, about 500 pages thick, on how to plan and organise a meaningful writing regime over the next year.

I’m on my first week, and already I am made all too aware of how weird I am. I spent much of my youth writing plans and proposals for various projects, yet when it comes to my own artistic life, I am wary of reducing everything to goals, timelines, outcomes, and results.

The idea of time being a boundary or constraint to art is uncomfortable, for it is precisely time that I seek to transcend. 

Nevertheless, I gave it a go and did the exercises, planning and articulating goals and the first few pages look like the picture above…

Here is my initial conclusion:

“I have some reservations about these types of planning: they take a lot of the mystery and romance to art away, and impose a seemingly unnatural boundary of goals and timelines which detract from the experience of the actual journey itself. Art is not about goals and outcomes – that is a fallacy of the modern condition – but about experiencing the mystery of life and transcending the limitations imposed by our physical beings and time.

That said, I think these exercises do get me thinking about all the processes, and help bring about an understanding of what moves me as an artist and what has meaning to me.

With all these in mind, I might be able to articulate some of the things I would like to do, but they are not goals in the traditional sense. 

I may not be able to plan my future the way others do, but at least I will be able to articulate some of the things I would like to do in my artistic journey.”

*****

Yep, I am weird alright.

I will try to continue with the exercises in the book for as long as I can, allowing them to unleash my creative stream of consciousness, rather than dictate it.

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