The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The inner critic, the censor, the monkey… call it what you want, it all boils down to one thing!

As I read and go through more and more art books about discovering or rather recovering my creative self. I find that they all emphasize on one thing. YOU being your own self worst enemy. If you are blessed with a creative soul and are attempting any kind of artistic endeavor then you my friend are also cursed with self-destruction being your own most harsh critic, crippling yourself along the way! But you already knew that. In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron is trying to help you with all this. Through a twelve week program of tools, tasks, morning pages and artist’s dates.

While it is early for me to say, and give an insight to the whole program; for the book, has just arrived few days ago and I am reading through my first week’s task (it is a twelve-week program). I found myself drawn to it even though I did not expect that. I tend not to like books that give me tasks and require me to work through them, often I just read the book without attempting the tasks or not even finish it.

I have a good feeling this is not going to be the case and hoping so. The first two chapters grabbed my attention and left me wanting for more.

The book is set in a way that on the sidebar of every page there are these little quotes which are relevant to the topic on that page. They are like those fancy chocolates one finds on a pillowcase in a lush hotel room and I find myself looking forward to them. Even more, what really strikes me is how often in life when we go through different things trying to work through their emotions, suddenly we find that everything we do, read or come across is related to that. That’s what these little quotes did for me. Gentle reminders and eye openers.

The concept of morning pages and artists dates that Julia requires you to do as a must are appealing to me in a strange way since I never thought myself doing them, especially the morning pages. Today I did my first ones and to my surprise the words were pouring out of me faster than I could write. I could have easily gone beyond the three pages she prompts us to do. It is too early for me to say how they may work or impact me and my path, even more how long I will keep this up or will I keep the habit up? I hope so!

All I know that I am thoroughly enjoying it for now and am open to this journey willing to learn anything and everything that comes along the way.

Update May 2024

It’s been four years since I posted about the book and I have had the chance to work through the program twice now. First round in 2020 with a group and second time at the end of 2023 early into 2024. Also in a group over a period of time which expanded for 14 weeks. As I went through it the second time round and went back to doing the morning pages I find myself committing to the habit even though we have finished the program about two months ago! That is one of the biggest wins and out takes from doing it second time round.

Morning Pages

Morning Pages from Dec 2023 till May 2024

So having done it twice with the support of an amazing group of ladies here are some of my thoughts and additions to the above:

  • The book is jam packed with tools and exercises each week and there is no way one can do all the designated assignments in that one said week. Therefore it is always good to pick it up and go back to any tasks that need calls for.
  • Sticking to morning pages and making it a habit is one of the biggest outcomes I take with me from this book. It is a life long habit that can add lots of value and strength to one self specially on the road of self discovery and understanding.
  • Artist’s dates are fun and good for the soul and is something I need to incorporate back into rotation.
  • Like any self discovery book I find that there are things that hit the bell and sing to me while others are way off from what I believe and can adopt. Meaning you do you and take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
  • It is best when it’s done in a group. You gain momentum, stamina and accountability and you get to experience other peoples journeys and learn from them.
  • Definitely a book to do over and over again and learn something new each time you do it.
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