I’d heard mention of the book “The Artist’s way” by Julia Cameron many a time in various publications, blogs and podcasts over a period of several years. When it was mentioned again in the book “What the most successful people do before breakfast” by Laura Vanderkam that I borrowed from the library last month I decided I needed to read it to see what all the fuss is about.
Luckily Joseph bought me copy for mothers day. He’s a very thoughtful three year old.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to record some of my experiences with the course in a blog mini series, so if you are interested read on!
This post is just an introduction to the book, the main themes and ideas within to give you an idea of what its about and what it entails.
“The artists way” is a 12 week course in “Discovering and recovering your creative self” a tool for artists and creatives to use when they become stuck or blocked, or a way for people who have been afraid to create for some reason, to open up to the possibility of starting a creative practice.
In the course you read a chapter a week, and at the end of each chapter there are several tasks for you to complete that week. These tasks are things like writing affirmations, doing life pi charts, setting small goals. The tasks each week are designed to reveal things to yourself about why you might be stuck in a creative rut or where you’re fear of failure is coming from.
On top of these weekly tasks you need to write “morning pages” every single morning which are stream of consciousness scribblings that happen when you first wake up. You are to write three pages none stop, it doesn’t have to make sense or be “good” writing, you just have to show up at the page and write.
The other weekly task is to go on an “artist’s date” this is essentially taking your inner artist out for a few hours, alone, so you can get to know them a bit better. You could go for a walk, to a gallery, to a class- whatever you want to do, but its got to be alone and its got to be something you do just for fun or out of interest not a chore.
When I first started reading I had my reservations because it is a bit “new-Agey”. But I am currently on week 4 and despite my initial reservations I have kept an open mind and persevered. Much to my surprise I have awoken slightly earlier to write my three morning pages every single day bar 1 in the past 4 weeks. I have took myself on artists dates every week (not that they were particularly exciting, seems like i’m not a very good date) and I have a done the majority of tasks she sets out each week. So I’m pretty chuffed with my level of commitment.
If you like Elizabeth Gilbert and her book “Big Magic” or her “magic lessons” podcasts, I’m pretty sure you’d like this book. It’s not just for writers or painters, but for anyone who works in a creative field or just enjoys a creative hobby be it acting, jewellery making, poetry writing, knitting or throwing pottery.
If you’d like to find out more about my experiences with this course keep you’re eyes peeled for future posts with the hashtag #theartistsway!