One of my goals this year is to finally finish a book I had started over 10 years ago.
I picked up the The Artist’s Way when I first heard of it back in the 90’s and I guess you can say I never quite put it down. Actually, I’ve started the darn thing 5 or 6 times over the years and each time only made it to the 7th of 12 chapters.
You see, The Artist’s Way is not a book that you read through, cover to cover, once and move on to the next. Nope, it’s really more of a program for “creative recovery” as Julia Cameron, the author refers to it. You are meant to tackle the book as a 12-week course with daily assignments and weekly tasks, to aid in that so-called recovery. So you might find it understandable that one might not get through to the end easily.
However, despite a somewhat New Agey tone, I found the techniques in this book very effective and also found that, although I’ve not ever completed it, Ms. Cameron’s book has made a huge positive impact on my life, creative and otherwise.
Part of that positive impact is due to tasks very much like the one in the first chapter, dealing with recovering a sense of safety, called “time traveling” where you are asked to list three old enemies of your creative self-worth, (your historic monsters are the building blocks of your core negative beliefs, apparently.) Conversely, you are also asked to list three old champions of your creative self-worth.
In another chapter, dealing with regaining a sense of possibility you are asked:
List 10 things you love and would love to do but are not allowed to do. She gives these examples:
1. Go dancing
2. Carry a sketch book
3. Roller skate
4. Buy cowboy boots
5. Streak your hair blonde… etc…
You can just imagine the doors that open up in your mind from that exercise.
But the one tool from The Artist’s Way that has made, and still makes, the biggest impact on me is what Ms. Cameron refers to as morning pages, (3 pages of stream of consciousness journaling, done every morning.) Most mornings as my pen scrawls across the paper, I tend to start off with some petty whining about something or someone. This scrawling often evolves into a more proactive jabber. Eventually some self reflection is experienced and occasionally, intermittent profundity may ensue.
Some days the morning pages may even yield me the ever illusive IDEA for my work or some answers for my personal life. Such an invaluable tool, one I likely wouldn’t have if not for this book.
All in all, what I’ve been experiencing so far has been a slow, steady nudging toward my (self-help jargon alert) inner artist and creative energy. Something I’d love to pursue further and feel The Artist’s Way might be one of many fine methods for getting me there.
So if you feel a bit creatively blocked, or you’d just like a little extra creative infusion in your life, oh, and if you can get past a bit of self helpy jargon, you might want to give The Artist Way a try.
I’m currently on the 7th chapter, once again, and this time I intend to take it to the finish line!
Imagine the possibilities.