Hello everyone! Welcome to this blog. We’re putting together a little impromptu book club. This one is for all the artists out there. The Artist’s Way is book written by Julia Cameron where she explains her method to unlock stagnant creativity and allow it to flow uninhibited. It consists on a 12-week course that helps people unlock their capacity for creativity — whether in art, at work, or in life. At its core, it’s a great practice to access more delight, curiosity, and creative inquiry within your daily life.
For me, in the first couple of weeks, and along side my therapy journey (that started a few months ago) it has been helping me accept that side of myself that doesn’t fit in with the expectations of this capitalistic, productivity and generally “left-brained’ oriented world.
To define is to limit.My very first favorite writer, Oscar Wilde
Side note: Did you know the left and right brain hemisphere dominance is most likely a myth? It’s funny how things people come up with at different times in history stick and we keep internalizing it in our culture and speech. In this case categorizing ourselves arbitrarily by putting ourselves in a box and installing limiting beliefs and insecurities.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.George Santayana
If you’re interested in more of this talk, I recommend this other book I read recently: Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness. “This book argues that stigma is a social process that can be explained through cultural history, a process that began the moment we defined mental illness, that we learn from within our communities, and that we ultimately have the power to change.”
That’s how the saying “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” becomes more real.
Morning Pages (Explanation by Julia)
I love how sassy Julia comes across in her writing so I’ll be adding a few direct quotes from her website and book on occasion. In this case, her explanation of morning pages goes as follows:
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
I must say, I deviate a bit from her suggestions. I’ve been sharing my morning pages with my therapist but I assume a trusted therapist it’s a fair exception. I also started the therapy process before starting this artist discovery journey so I’m taking the morning pages as a tool for my own personal mental health process.
I also have been mainly writing in the mornings but I must say, I’d usually think about journaling at the end of the day to unleash the weight of the day rather than in the mornings and I’ve definitively found myself doing my “morning” pages in the late afternoon or night…
Artist Dates (Explanation by Julia)
Artist Dates are assigned play.Julia Cameron
The artist dates, as the author would say are assigned play. About 2 hours once-weekly time set aside to do something that brings you joy and sparks creativity. This is meant to be a “solo expedition to explore something that interests you” to “spark whimsy” and “encourage play”.
“Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.”
There’s lots of great lists of artist dates all over the internet so if you get stuck on coming up with ideas, I highly recommend checking those out. A good thing to do is to pick a few ideas you like, put them into a jar and pick them every time is time for your artist date. This would help with the decision paralysis and prevent overthinking once it’s that time of the week. Not knowing what your date for the day would be may lead to even more free flow of creativity.
Weekly Tasks (PDF)
The weekly tasks follow the reading material of the week. If there’s anything I could critique about this book so far is that I feel the author goes on a bit too long about the topics. Since it’s a workable book and it was originally a group of individual exercises Julia came up with, it feels like the description and reading material can almost be unnecessary.
The tasks are simple in principle but challenging if you do stop to think through and of course, being topics that are so close and personal makes them emotionally charged.
Weekly Check-In: My Journey
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