The Artist’s Way [Book Review]

Posted by in Books & Films

I was still living in Philadelphia the first time I read did The Artist’s Way. At the time, my roommate, Kate, suggested that we do it together. She felt that she was in some kind of a creative slump, I tagged along, mostly for fun.

I ended-up seing several exhibitions that I would have never would have gotten tickets to, attempting at pole dancing and starting singing. The latter, I never quit. In 2011, The Artist’s Way changed my life.

When I found myself in a creative slump last year, I went back to Julia Cameron’s method to shake up creativity and wake up our inner artist.

The Artist’s Way to a more creative life

The book is not something you read. It’s something you do. It requires a certain time commitment for about 12 weeks but finding space for activities and artists date in your agenda will make a big difference.

Each week is set around a simple system:

The Reading – In a few pages, and with countless exemples of similar situations, or client experiences, Cameron sets the stage. From Recovering a Sense of Safety to Recovering a Sense of Faith the topics are organised to help you dig deeper every week.

I must be honest, and this was a topic of conversation with Kimberlee, my Artist’s Way buddy (more on that later), I’m a little freaked every time the author refers to God. It already was something that brushed me the wrong way seven years ago. Still, I know, she refers to God as creative energy that provides what needs to be. Something I would prefer to call Universe, but that’s just a personal choice of words.

When the word God is used in these pages, you may substitute the thought good orderly direction or flow. 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 tasks – Every week, the author will provide you with a list of task to accomplish. You can do them all, or choose to be selective. My advice: select a time slot and do as many as possible. Try to challenge yourself on things you wouldn’t pick initially. There’s a lot of writing involved, finally a valid excuse to purchase a new notebook.

The morning pages – Talking about writing… These are a staple of The Artist’s Way. Three pages of free flow writing, first thing in the morning. A very interesting exercise indeed. I loved that part of the process and I kept them up long after I finished my second round of the book.

Frida Khalo

My artist date: exhibition Los Modernos at the MBA, Lyon, France

The Artist Date – Another staple. Take myself out on an Artist Date once a week? Yes please! Sign me up! What a great source of inspiration. The concept is simple: just you and something fun to do… whether it’s a walk in the park or an expo at your local art museum.

The Check-Ins – Finally, The Artist’s Way is not something you do alone. Yes, it’s a journey you have to take for yourself, and many of the tasks and Artist’s Dates will allow you some quality time with your inner artist. But the force of a support group is never to far. Even if your support group is only one person. The idea, here, is to keep yourself accountable and have someone to share your experience with. And the beauty of it is that you can share as much (or as little) as you want during your weekly checkins.

If you’re interested in doing The Artist’s Way but don’t have a support group, I have created a Slack channel. I’ll be delighted to keep you accountable and discuss your findings as you navigate through the weeks. Feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll send you an invite.

Photo by Samuel Zeller