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Time to Emerge From the Shadows

I was flicking through the pages of The Artist’s Way just before Christmas.

I was looking for a quote or the hint of an idea - probably for a blog post, or some journal prompts I was working on.

Something else entirely jumped out at me (isn’t that so often the way?)

It was the section on the shadow artist.

Artists themselves but ignorant of their true identity, shadow artists are to be found shadowing declared artists… Artists love other artists.  Shadow artists are gravitating to their rightful tribe but cannot yet claim their birthright.  Very often audacity, not talent, makes one person an artist and another a shadow artist - hiding in the shadows, afraid to step out and expose the dream to the light, fearful that it will disintegrate to the touch.  ~ Julia Cameron

The words jolted me. I didn’t need to read further, to think further, to analyse further what it might mean, only that I recognised something of myself in the words, and knew that it was time for me to step out of my own shadows.

Giant Tree Shadow, by Joanna Paterson

It’s one of the reasons why I’m sharing more of my own work. That, and the establishment of a writing practice.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you simply knew: it’s time?

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  1. Conor Ebbs
    Twitter: ebbstachio


    Yes is the simple answer. My move to Galway was my stepping out of the shadows, “turning pro” as Steven Pressfield would say.

    You have helped hugely with this. The Treasure Conscious course and your blog have been great sources of strength and support. Thank you.


  2. Karen Wallace
    Twitter: karenwallace

    oooh, I will be eagerly awaiting the Joanna out from the shade of her own shadow! The radiance will be dazzling…

    this is a real call to action, isn’t it? over the holidays I’ve also been reading Julia Cameron - Walking in this World. Some timely jolts there…

    it’s definitely time

  3. Jacqui says:

    Thank you so much for writing this as it really speaks to me. I seem to be spending my creative life lurking in the shadows and every time I start to poke my toes out into the light, the word ‘fraud’ shouts out at me and I retreat. I have been writing for years yet am not moving forward with this. Recently I have branched out into other creative pursuits and feel sure this is where my life is taking me.
    When you ask about having one of those moments when you know it is time….the answer is YES! But I’m still creeping around in the half-light! Thank you for inspiring me today.

  4. Diana says:

    I think we have swapped shadows. I follow writers and would love to be one but since I have never declared writing as a subject of pursuit (despite loving literature all my life) I would feel like a fraud saying I am a writer. I blame current society for forcing us to choose a label and stick with it (I am an artist, trained and certified, lol). What ever happened to the Renaissance (wo)man?

    I think the truth is that creatives are creatives and we can choose our implements at will. That’s not to say that we are equally adept at all of them, but they should all be at our disposal. What a full life that predicts!

  5. Wendy Altschuler says:

    It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and see what happens.

  6. Valerie @ Life 4 me by me says:

    The light is a scary place but it is so much warmer. Welcome to the light.

  7. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @Conor Ebbs: and it has been so good to witness Conor, and be in some small way a part of

    @Karen Wallace: it’s interesting how we sometimes get these jolts… words from the page, jumping out and saying now, it’s time.

    @Jacqui: the voice that whispers ‘fraud’ is insidious… I know. It sounds as if you’re creative self is gearing up to burst forth though… I’m sure it will take you into some wonderful new terrain

    @Diana: labels are so limiting aren’t they? I keep trying to peel mine off. Could we swap titles for a while though: could I be artist, and you the writer you are?

    @Wendy Altschuler: indeed. The creative process is all about courage

    @Valerie @ Life 4 me by me: thank you Valerie