Writer Julia Cameron wrote The Artist Way in the early 1980s. She calls it “A course in discovering and recovering your creative self.” The goal is to help individuals unblock their innate creativity.
I tried reading The Artist Way a few years ago, but couldn’t relate to her message and gave up. However, this summer, I found a class nearby based on the book. The timing worked in my schedule and I felt like it was a message from the universe.
There are three basic components of The Artist Way program: morning pages, the weekly artist date, and chapter-end exercises, designed to uncover creative blocks.
Cameron describes the morning pages this way: “The morning pages, a flow of stream of consciousness, gradually loosens our hold on fixed opinions and short-sighted views. We see that our moods, views and insights are transitory. We acquire a sense of movement, a current of change in our lives.”
It sounds a bit “woo woo” and I was definitely a skeptic, but I started looking forward to the morning pages and they did help me work through whatever gunk (my word, not hers) was weighing on me before I started my day. I continue to do them. Fortunately, much of how I spend my time in Maine qualifies as an artist date!
I still struggled through the book, but I absolutely loved the class–the instructor, the other participants and many of the exercises. I actually enrolled to help me take my writing in a new, more creative direction, although I find I also have many new ideas for painting projects swirling in my brain and I can’t wait to experiment.
“The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” The Artist Way, page 53
I haven’t yet figured out exactly what I want from my writing, but the class helped me appreciate the value of taking small, deliberate steps towards my goals, instead of trying to bite off a huge project all at once and becoming disillusioned when it doesn’t pan out.
My biggest take away from the class is a renewed appreciation for my life. I write and paint for a living, I spend part of the year in this most amazing place and I’m surrounded by people who nurture and support my art. Thank you for being a part of that.