There are not many books that I can describe as having truly changed my life.
But ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron is one of those books.
In this blog, I want to share my experience and what benefits you can expect to receive if you decide to do ‘The Artist’s Way.’
What is The Artist’s Way?
For those who don’t know, ‘The Artist’s Way’ is a cult classic book in the world of creativity and self-help. It was first published way back in 1992 and it’s still very popular today.
Basically, it’s a 12-week course that is designed to help people reconnect with their creativity, to help people get unblocked and live a more creative life.
So I wanted to tell you a little bit about how I discovered The Artist’s Way and my experience when I first did the book.
Now, I first discovered it maybe 10 years ago, I think, when I was in my early 20s. It was recommended to me by my boyfriend at the time, who suggested that I check it out. I did. It was amazing.
Let’s rewind a little bit.
So before I did The Artist’s Way, I would probably describe myself as someone who was very lost and a bit directionless. Especially in terms of a career.
I’ve always always been someone that wanted to have some kind of creative job.
I definitely knew that I didn’t want to be in the corporate world or stuck in an office or in a typical work environment.
I always knew that that wasn’t for me.
I wanted to do something creative, but I didn’t know what exactly.
I grew up in an environment where that side of me wasn’t really encouraged in terms of a career path. So I was allowed to have hobbies, but they were just hobbies. The message I received was that being some kind of artist or creative person wasn’t a viable career path.
I unwittingly shut that side of myself down and didn’t actively pursue any of my artistic interests.
So I knew that I didn’t want a traditional job. And I knew that creativity wasn’t something that I could pursue as a career. So I found myself stuck in a series of minimum-wage jobs.
I worked in hospitality for over a decade. And while there’s nothing wrong with working in hospitality, I knew that’s not where I wanted to stay either.
So I was a bit stuck and just not sure what to do.
Then I started doing The Artist’s Way, and it changed everything.
So what do you actually do in The Artists’s Way?
In this book Julia describes two key exercises.
The first one is the ‘Morning Pages,’ which you’re supposed to do every day, first thing in the morning when you wake up. Morning pages are simply three pages of handwritten journaling.
They’re designed to just get all the muck out of your brain and onto the paper. So they’re not creative in any sense. You’re not trying to write anything for anyone else to read. It’s just about emptying your head of whatever’s on your mind.
It could be something like, I need to book a doctor’s appointment, or I need to make sure I get the groceries this afternoon. Just boring, everyday sort of stuff, whatever’s going on in your mind.
You might find that you end up writing about the deep subconscious stuff that’s going on as well.
The second key exercise is the weekly ‘Artist Date.’
Essentially, you’re supposed to take yourself out for a little solo adventure once a week, nobody else with you, to do something fun or creative.
Whatever you feel inspired to do!
That could be going to see a new movie or going to a gallery, doing a craft, going shopping, picking out some paints, or just whatever you feel called to do.
It’s a way to reconnect with your creativity and have a little bit of fun and fill your creative ‘well’.
So aside from the ‘Morning Pages‘ and the ‘Artist Date’ each week, there are different activities that you’re encouraged to do as well.
I’m just going to flip through and I’ll give you a couple of examples. Okay, so here’s an example of one:
‘List 20 things you enjoy doing.‘
That could be something like rock climbing, roller skating, baking pies, making soup, making love, making love, again, riding a bike, riding a horse, etc.
When was the last time you let yourself do any of these things?
Next to each entry, place a date.
Don’t be surprised if it’s been years for some of your favourites – that will change.
This list is an excellent resource for ‘Artist’s Dates.’
Doing these exercises each week is incredibly helpful for building yourself awareness.
In this course, you’re figuring out what you actually like to do, and what you don’t like to do. More importantly, you’re giving yourself permission to have some fun, be creative, and not put so much pressure on yourself.
After doing The Artist’s Way, I definitely noticed that I felt happier and more joyful.
As I mentioned earlier, before I started The Artist’s Way I was quite lost and directionless.
But by the end of the 12 weeks, I had enrolled in singing lessons, I ended up enrolling in a Bachelor of Film and Television and I did like a whole bunch of short courses on just things that interested me. I did philosophy and psychology, and I started experimenting to figure out what was my thing.
So this book was like the catalyst that got me on the path to finding a career that I found personally fulfilling.
So what kind of person would benefit from The Artists Way?
I happen to think pretty much anyone would benefit from it.
But especially if you’re someone like me, who’s feeling a bit directionless in your career or unsatisfied in some way or like you repressing part of yourself.
I definitely think The Artist’s Way is a great way to break through those creative blocks and just start living a more well-rounded life.
But some of the other benefits of doing The Artist’s Way include improving your mental health.
Just the simple act of doing the Morning Pages every day really helps to just clear out your brain and get rid of the junk. It will help you feel more refreshed and less overwhelmed.
Secondly, I think it builds your confidence. And you may find that you surprise yourself as you go through the 12-week course and rediscover your creative side and start doing some creative projects.
And thirdly, I just think it helps you find greater fulfillment in your life in general. So by incorporating some creativity into your daily routine, you start to feel like you’re living a more well-rounded life and a more creative life.
The Artist’s Way is a book I highly, highly recommend to anyone, especially if you’re feeling like you’d like to be more creative, but need someone to give you permission.
Julia will give you permission.
So if you’ve done The Artist’s Way before I’d love to hear about your experience. Please feel free to leave a comment and I will make sure I reply to you.
If you have any more questions about The Artist’s Way or creativity in general, please feel free to ask away and I will answer your question in an upcoming video.