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I’m working my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, “a course in discovering and recovering your creative self.”

Why? Books on writing help me focus as well as inspire and motivate me. I’m fascinated by other writers’ tips and techniques. I like to try new stuff and mix things up. No matter what, I always pull something useful from every book on writing that I read.

The Artist’s Way is a 12-week course aimed at creating greater self-awareness while stimulating your creativity. I’m all for that. There’s nothing wrong with being more in-tune with oneself. We writers are known for getting in our own way, bogging ourselves down with self-doubt, being overly critical of our creative efforts. Recognizing that we do this is the first step in setting it right. (and write, if you know what I mean).

Julia Cameron believes that creativity stems from a higher power (call it God, call it Muse, call it whatever you like) as well as from within ourselves.

“As you work with the tools in this book, as you undertake the weekly tasks, many changes will be set in motion. Chief among these changes will be the triggering of synchronicity: we change and the universe furthers and expands that change . . . Leap, and the net will appear.”

Fundamental to Julia Cameron’s idea of developing “a lasting creative awakening” is the commitment to two creativity recovery tools for the duration of the course: Morning Pages and the Artist Date.

Morning pages: every morning write down (long hand) three pages of absolutely anything. It’s a brain drain, a stream of consciousness, a pouring out of whatever is on your mind so that it no longer blocks your creativity. Put your pen to paper and jettison whatever comes to mind. This is not about writing creatively. It’s not pretty writing for somebody (or even yourself) to read. It’s just writing without judgment, choking off your internal editor, encouraging yourself to write no matter what mood you’re in – don’t wait around for inspiration to strike.

Artist date: set aside a block of time every week for a solo date with your artistic self. Use this time to feed your creativity by doing something that nurtures the artist in you. It’s a recharging appointment, an opportunity to refill your creative reservoir. Go for a walk. Visit a museum. Listen to classical music. Go for a walk. Arrange some flowers. Read poetry. Work on a collage. Experience something new.

At first, I was reluctant to waste precious writing time on three pages of drivel but I have to say, after doing Morning Pages for almost three weeks now, I’m finding that they help shush the noise in my head so that when I sit down for real writing, I’m able to better focus on my work-in-progress. The self-therapy is a welcome side effect – I’m working through petty and personal issues while doing my morning pages. I’m feeling a little more balanced.

As I’m completely swamped on the work and home front, my reaction to the idea of an artist date was, “Are you kidding me? Where will I find the time?” Guess what? I found the time by making the time. I woke up half an hour earlier and went for a walk. I sat in my garden and watched the birds. I left work early, bought some petunias and planted them.

I love my artist dates and even though I don’t always feel like doing the morning pages, I feel sharper after I’ve done them.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 28th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're getting so much out of it!
May. 29th, 2011 11:28 am (UTC)
Me too! Feels right and what I need right now.
May. 28th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
I did the Artist's Way a number of years ago and I got so much out of it. I don't always do morning pages now, but I find that I am more productive when I do. I also don't always get around to doing artist's dates. But, again, when I do, I am happier and more "present" in my life. I hope you get as much out of it as I did.
May. 29th, 2011 11:29 am (UTC)
I'm happy to hear that. Thanks for the encouragement.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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