THE ARTIST’S WAY: Unleash Your Creativity
It’s a book called THE ARTIST’S WAY: A SPIRITUAL PATH TO HIGHER CREATIVITY by Julia Cameron. My dear friend, JR Jasinski, a talented painter and graphic designer – and the person who designed the cover for my novel, LITTLE 15 – gave me the book for Christmas. And already, I’ve become an avid believer in its teachings.
Unblock Your Creative Flow
Simply put, The Artist’s Way is a movement meant to help people like you and me take back our creative selves. It’s about practicing art as a spiritual transaction. Whether it’s writing, painting, gardening, singing, blogging, dancing, cake decorating, playing the piano, sketching, scrapbooking, cooking – whatever – I’m finding that the basic tools in this book will help anyone wanting to live a more creative life.
You don’t have to be a published author like me, or a painter like my friend, JR, to benefit from THE ARTIST’S WAY. (But if you are, it will help you soar to the next level!) Whatever your creative yearning, I believe it will certainly help you uncover the artist you think you are not.
Let me say that again. It will help you uncover the artist you think you are not.
And that is really what this whole thing is all about – allowing yourself to be that creative individual and drawing from a Higher Spiritual Source. That’s right. We must allow ourselves the freedom to cultivate our creative selves and stop worrying what other people might think. Forget them and their opinions. This is about you. This is about me. This is about living the life we always wanted and opening ourselves to our Divine Inspiration.
Without getting into too much detail, I will give a high-level overview of some key concepts in the book.
The Basic Tools
There are two pivotal tools in creative recovery: the morning pages and the artist date.
According to Cameron, “a lasting creative awakening requires the consistent use of both.” The way I understand it, these tools are a form of regular meditation meant to “retrieve your creativity” that you once had as a child. If practiced regularly and in conjunction with each other, the morning pages and artist date can yield profound results.
Here’s a quick definition for each:
Morning pages – three full pages of long-hand, stream-of-consciousness writing completed every morning. Cameron swears by them and has students who have practiced them for years and “would no more abandon them than breathing.” Having done these for a couple weeks now, I can already attest to the power of this exercise. Already my creativity has experienced a spark. Imagine what it’ll be like in a few weeks more.
Artist date – a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. This is a lone excursion, a play date that you defend against all interlopers. A trip to a museum. A picnic in a park. Finger painting by a pond. Experimenting with photography. Sketching a phenomenon of nature. Going to movie. Nothing is off limits, except that you must do it alone.
The artist date will most likely prove the trickiest for me. As a mom with two boys under the age of 7 and a husband who travels, I will run into my fair share of roadblocks. So I will approach this one with an open mind, perhaps cutting this down to an hour, if needed at times. But I will try my damnedest to go on my artist date each week.
A 12-Week Excavation Process
Cameron organizes THE ARTIST’S WAY in a 12-week course, during which time the morning pages and artist date will play a central role. In conjunction with these tools, each week the course introduces a new set of tasks meant to further excavate your artist soul.
I’ve never been one to waste my time on things like this, but THE ARTIST’S WAY has clearly moved me, even though I’ve only read through the first couple of chapters. For me, it’s not only the regular meditation that attracts me, but it’s also the idea that all my creative output – the two novels I’ve written, the screenplay, this blog, and all the creative work I did in my former corporate communications career – was given to me and made possible by God.
That’s the hook for me – God. And His Divine Inspiration that He is ready to give only if we open ourselves up to it.
If you feel uncomfortable with this notion, that’s OK, which Cameron also makes very clear in her book.
“Do not call it God unless that is comfortable for you,” she says. “Do not pretend to believe when you do not. If you remain forever an atheist, agnostic – so be it … What we are talking about is a creative energy. God is useful shorthand for many of us, but so is Goddess, Mind, Universe, Source, and Higher Power. The point is not what you name it. The point is that you try using it. For many of us, thinking of it as a form of spiritual electricity has been a very useful jumping-off place.”
Let me be very clear: I’m not in the business of trying to convert anyone to God or a spiritual way of life. What I want to do here is share with you my journey through THE ARTIST’S WAY and perhaps inspire in you to dig deep and uncover your creative spark. Your creative flare. That creative life you’ve always wanted to live.
Join Me on My Journey
Starting next week, I will embark on Week #1 of THE ARTIST’S WAY – and share my experience right here on my blog. I will try my best to post an update each week, although I can’t promise the timing will always be just so. I might not even have the time to finish all the tasks in one given week, but I’ll take a cue from Cameron and not beat myself up. As artists or creative types, we have to let go of perfection. And that’s another big lesson of THE ARTIST’S WAY – we must allow ourselves to be imperfect in attaining our true brilliance.
Get Your Copy of THE ARTIST’S WAY
I’d like to invite you to walk this creative journey with me, for mine is only one perspective that is as individual as the person I am. Your journey, your needs, could be similar yet completely different than mine. So, I encourage you to get your own copy of THE ARTIST’S WAY. For more information, check out the official Web site or order the book.
Lastly, I want to make clear that I am not touting this book for any monetary gain or financial benefit to myself. Nor am I being paid to chronicle my journey. In fact, the author of this book – Julia Cameron – doesn’t know me from Adam. So no alternative motive exists. I will be learning about this as I go, and reporting on my journey will hold me accountable to nurturing my creative self. After all, I need all the help I can get. I’ve got more novels and screenplays to write and a blog to feed. AND I WANT TO GIVE YOU, MY READERS, CONTENT THAT YOU CAN USE OR THAT, AT THE VERY LEAST, RESONATES WITH YOUR LIFE.
Sorry to be so loud, but I’m just a really passionate person. And when I find something that inspires me, I can’t help but share it with the world.
So come rain, come shine, come sick kids, or a computer crash, see you next week as I set out on THE ARTIST’S WAY.
Now, Your Turn
Do you ever find yourself creatively challenged? Do you yearn for a more creative life? Do you have a hidden creative desire burning deep within your soul? Let’s get the dialogue going!