The Artist’s Way is one of the few books I’ve read that has given me a new perspective on creativity and how to harness it. Marketed as “a spiritual path to higher creativity,” the book is part journal, part how-to guide. The author, Julia Cameron, is the author of more than 40 books and offers a great perspective on creativity and the best practices for artists. The book explores many different subjects over a 12-week period, and teaches artists new ideas on how to be the most creative. I highly recommend this book, here are just a few reasons why.
New Perspective on Creativity
It’s hard to define creativity, but I think if you’re creative then you know it in your soul. There are so many different ways to be creative: art, writing, painting, poetry, to name a few. The Artist’s Way is “a course in discovering and recovering your creative self.” Maybe you’ve lost some of your creativity as society forced you to do something that seemed more practical. Or you created something and then were harshly criticized. This book will help you find your way back to your creativity, and show you that being creative is what God (or whoever you believe in) intended for you.
What I love about The Artist’s Way is that it’s a 12 week journey. You choose when you want to start it, and once you’ve completed it the ideas and practices stay with you. Plus you can revisit favorite activities and chapters whenever you want! The main components of each week include reading the chapter (which always includes quotes I bookmark and underline), tasks for that week which you can pick and choose, artist’s date, and morning pages every day.
Your creative journey should be protected while it grows and expands, which is exactly what The Artist’s Way aims to do. Each chapter covers a different topic. There’s everything from “recovering your sense of power” to “recovering a sense of compassion.” Each chapter dives deeper into the designated topic, and offers examples and ideas on how best to recover. You will definitely find your favorite chapters as you go on the journey, and there will be ones you want to go back to whenever you feel the need.
Another major part of each week, besides reading and doing the tasks (which range from making lists to writing letters to evaluating how you’re spending your time), is the artist’s date. This is something you do for yourself, for your inner child really, each week. It’s a designated time all to yourself where you allow yourself to get creative. Sometimes my artist’s dates are spending an afternoon alone wandering through a museum, or they’re a trip to Ikea where I buy some things to elevate my everyday living. The choice is really yours, the important thing is to commit to making this time for yourself each week.
Morning Pages Practice
I think one of the major things that has attracted so much attention to The Artist’s Way, and why it has received so much praise, is the practice of writing morning pages. This is something you are assigned to do every day, and involves free writing three pages of whatever comes to your mind, first thing in the morning. It’s supposed to get out all of the random chatter and thoughts and concerns that might be clouding your mind, so you can be free to create. Some days the morning pages are hard to write, but that’s when they’re most important.
Each week, the tasks vary based on the topic. There are usually around ten, and you can pick and choose which ones you would like to do. Some of them involve making lists, others answering questions. Whatever they are that week, they always get me thinking and usually reveal something about myself or my creative journey that may have been hidden to me before. If anything, The Artist’s Way can help to reveal your deepest desires in life, the things that will make you the most authentic version of yourself and therefore the most creative, too.
If you stick with The Artist’s Way, I guarantee you will have some sort of artistic breakthrough. It’s been happening for years, for thousands of people who have read this book and done the practices. I can even attest to its power. I’ve become more clear on what I want in my life through doing The Artist’s Way, and I even experienced what I would call a pretty major breakthrough when I was about half way through. I wrote the beginning of a novel, or a long short story, one night just out of the blue. It flowed out of me and I have nothing else to thank but The Artist’s Way for sparking those 16 pages of writing.
Another thing I loved about The Artist’s Way is the abundance of quotes that fill the margin. They span many categories and time periods but all ring true. If you’re a creative, you will surely appreciate all of these quotes, and be quick to scribble them down in your own notebook.
Without The Artist’s Way, there would be no Eat, Pray, Love.
This is probably the best and most powerful review I read about The Artist’s Way. As a writer, Elizabeth Gilbert is someone I deeply admire, so to hear that she had success in doing The Artist’s Way really inspired me to take my own creative journey with this book. She writes, “The Artist’s Way brings much insight, gently helping you see what is holding you back, and showing you how to move forward.” I couldn’t have said it better myself! Pick up your copy of The Artist’s Way today, and begin a creative journey that will hopefully span the rest of your lifetime.
Are you a creative? Have you read The Artist’s Way? Send this article to a friend who you know would love this book and the creative journey it promises.
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Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.