Transitions and Opening Up to Wisdom

Tree with orange leaves overlooking a lake with the sun peaking through an opening in the clouds

This weekend I took part in a yoga retreat in northern Minnesota. While yoga was certainly a focus, the retreat was just as much about slowing down, being in nature, and noticing the changing of the seasons. The north woods setting offered up the autumn transitional contrasts with crimson and gold leaves set against deep green pine needles and sun-warmed afternoons bookended by chilly mornings and evenings.

Transitions can open up possibilities we didn’t foresee. For me, a completely unexpected outcome of the retreat was a reconnection with myself as a writer. By the end of the weekend I felt a clear directive to write a book that’s been on my mind for a while, and new ideas for it came pouring in.

With the intention of getting ideas to pass along to my clients, I had packed a copy of Julia Cameron’s guide to unblocking the creative process, The Artist’s Way. I hadn’t read it, and since it comes up regularly in conversations about writing process and coaching writers, I figured I should have it in my resource library. I barely made it through the introduction when I got the very clear message: “This book is for YOU. YOU need this book to write YOUR book.”

Of course that was a bit scary, and posting it publicly here is scarier still, but I wanted to share this experience because all writers get stuck. Writers can even be stuck and not know it. But all the writers and other artists who have gone before us have figured out a lot of ways to get unstuck. We need to be open to that wisdom.

Changing your routine, even in very small ways, can open up new possibilities and move your creative project forward. I firmly believe that academic writing IS creative writing, and all the strategies fiction writers, poets, and other artists use are fair game for researchers.

Close up of a paperback copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Any fans of The Artist’s Way here? Anyone have an experience where the idea for the paper, book, or research design seemed to drop out of the heavens?


Published by Kathleen Vacek

academic writing consultant specializing in supporting graduate students to complete their theses and dissertations

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