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A review of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

Since enjoying this book a LOT, I’ve mentioned it a LOT to friends, thinking I was passing on some great wisdom, only to be greeted with “oh yes I’ve got that………”. It appeared that I was the only person on the planet who hadn’t heard of this book. So just in case there are any other uninitiated out there, here is my two-pennyworth on “The Artist’s Way”. It was mentioned to me during a phone call with a friend, Susie, who said her daughter had recommended it to her. I got a vague idea of what it was about, and as I’m never someone to need much encouragement to buy another book (I’m a bookaholic and would get help for it but really don’t wish to recover) soon had my mitts on a copy.

For anyone who has read any of my other musings, I often talk about flow. Flow of movements, emotions and thoughts and how when we get this correct, we are happy and healthy. For me, a healthy diet helped my flow in more ways than one! Somewhere in the midst of family commitments this year, however, I found my creative flow had become blocked. I didn’t feel like writing and I felt pretty stagnant and frustrated.

The book takes the form of a 12 week course, with a topic and tasks to achieve each week. It is beautifully written and peppered with inspiring quotes from creative souls. (I’m a sucker for great quotes!)

I don’t wish to spoil the plot but the crux of the matter (for me and a lot of other people) was the daily task of writing “morning pages”. Julia Cameron instructs us to turn up for them whether we want to or not, and write 3 pages free-form, anything that pops into our head. It’s a way of dumping out the small or big things which would otherwise get in the way of our creative selves during the day ahead. For the first couple of days I felt like I was writing lines: “What should I write?” over and over. But then something loosened, a drip began and then a nice unencumbered flow. The problem for me now is I have all these ideas floating in my head and I don’t want to stop writing! I wonder if she’s written an antidote book called “The Artist’s Block”. I seem to have gone from creative constipation to, well ……………

She tells us that a creative recovery is a healing process, so to be gentle with ourselves.

She talks in terms of God as our source, for which I think Universe, and reminds us that he / it is unlimited in supply and we can all tap into that source. I came away knowing in my heart that the Universe was on my side if only I got out of its way and said “yes” to it, and allowed that creativity flow through me.

I’ll fess up here. I didn’t do all the tasks, but I’m happy with what I did and learnt. Morning pages lapsed a little but I’m back on track and going with the flow ………..

I learnt that living your life creatively can be made up of small things, but if you are thinking big, then taking baby steps is more effective and less stop-in-your-tracks than trying to take one giant scary leap. I was reminded that I needed space (physical and mental) to source my ideas, let alone shape them and do something, and most importantly of all (for me) it didn’t matter if I create something less than perfect. All commonsense stuff but oh how our childhood conditioning has set beliefs in stone, which shout far louder than any commonsense whispers! Not any more ….. I’ve revisited my childhood during my read of this book, and can see I was meant to be creative (we all are) so that’s what I’m going to be from now on ………….. watch out world!!

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