Poetry Dowsing Week Two: Uncovering a Sense of Reality

Poetry Dowsing Week Two: Uncovering a Sense of Reality


This is a weekly exercise for a 12 week program for creative exploration and self care. A new exercise will be posted each week for the duration of the program. All post titles are matched up to the chapter names in Julia Cameron’s book “Finding Water”, which is our source text. Please read Poetry Dowsing: A Path to Your Creative Well for more information.

Week Two Intentions

This week is about small moves and the idea of grounding ourselves in a sense of reality. This should not be confused with pessimism. It will be important to retain the optimism that we’ve already uncovered. It may help to connect with friends that you consider to be supportive of your creativity and self-care. Remember that not all realities are harsh and seeking positive realities can give us a boost into what is possible.

A personal note about reality

Though Julia discusses many different subjects in this chapter, the one I found to resonate the most was that of the perfectionist and the censor. When I was in grade school, I loved going to art class. Aside from the library it was my second favourite place to be, a place where anything could happen. When I was 8 years old, our art teacher decided that we would make foam hand puppets. I couldn’t wait for this activity. Puppets seemed to be at the very juncture of art and storytelling that I loved best. I went through many options and ultimately decided that my puppet would be a unicorn. I’d been reading about fantasy creatures and scribbling little stories about unicorns during that time. The thought of bringing one of my stories to life via art felt perfect.

My unicorn was simple, with a blue mane and a white styrofoam horn. I hadn’t imagined the rainbow colours that I associate with such creatures today. My art teacher circulated the classroom until he got to me and said “WHAT is THAT?” A few titters followed from my classmates until there was outright laughing. I can’t remember answering him, but I do remember I never wanted to go back to art class again. He’s been the pattern for my inner censor and my fight with perfectionism in creativity ever since.

My censor is the one that perpetuates imposter syndrome. He is the one that asks what I think I am doing and if I ever think I will be a “real writer”. Even though he’s not real, he can feel very real to me. It is important that I put him in his place from time to time and sometimes I forget how. Although there are many things I can’t control in this life, there are a few and how much credit I give to that censor is one of them.

This week’s dowsing exercise

Many writers have an inner censor and they are heavily invested in telling us what we are not and what we can’t do. The more we succeed, sometimes the louder that critic can get. For this week’s exercise let’s identify and name our censors. Take a few minutes to write about what it looks like, what it says to you and how it sounds. After your writing choose one of the two options:

  • Sketch or draw a cartoon version of your inner censor (this does not have to be highly artistic! do not let your censor stop you!)
  • Find an image in a magazine or other periodical that reminds you of your censor and mount it on a small poster board or piece of card stock.

The key here is to reduce the censor to something two dimensional, a cartoon character that is so ridiculous we cannot take it seriously. When that censor tries to rear its ugly head during our self care and creativity process, we’re going to reference this drawing or photo in order to put the reality of that censor into perspective.

This week’s quote:

“It will never rain roses. When we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.” – George Eliot


Important reminders

  • This process centers on recovery and self care in regard to your creative self. Be gentle!
  • Make adjustments as needed, you know yourself best and your positive mental health is paramount.
  • Commit to using your basic tools of Morning Pages, Artist Dates and Walks.
  • Sharing is not mandatory, but we’d love to share the journey with you! Tag all posts regarding these exercises as #PoetryDowsing so we can support you within the Twitter community.