Twice I have attempted to make it through Julia Cameron’s now-famous 12-week creativity course, The Artist’s Way. The purpose is to lead people to a creative recovery (or discovery), to accept ourselves as the creative people we are, and to create pathways for creativity to flow freely. Both times I tried, I abandoned the course in week three.
At the core of the course are two basic tools: Morning Pages and Artist Dates. Morning pages are three pages of longhand (with pen and paper) stream-of-consciousness writing you do first thing in the morning – before anything else. Morning pages are meant to show us that we don’t need to be in the mood to create, to stop judging, to release ourselves from outcome, and to remove all the “junk” that clutters our minds and keeps us frozen creatively. The Artist Date is a block of time, to be taken alone, to nurture your creativity. See a movie, visit a flea market, take a hike — but do it ALONE.
In addition, every week has a chapter dedicated to a specific theme or issue to work on, along with exercises (optional) that take you further with the theme. And of course, each week concludes with a check-in. Did you write the pages, take the artist date, uncover any truths?
I have always had great excuses for not finishing the course. I had a full-time job, I was too tired from taking care of young kids, I had an infant at home so I couldn’t go on the artist dates, etc. I am not a morning person, so getting up to write those pages every day gets old. Fast.
But a fellow blogger, C.B. Wentworth, has inspired me to try again. On her blog, she has been posting about her experience with Wreck This Journal and sharing her insights. By sharing her journey, she’s probably learning even more than if she were working on it solo.
So today, I started The Artist’s Way again. I wrote my morning pages and signed the “Contract” for the third time. Each Wednesday, I will use the blog as a check-in, both to keep myself accountable and to share whatever revelations I may have that week. With the blog at my back, so to speak, I think I can make it through this time.
Just one morning in, and I’ve already noticed that I am carrying around a lot of fear. It seems appropriate then, that the theme for Week 1 is Security. Now after today, I will not share specifics from my morning pages because they won’t be stream-of-consciousness if I feel I’m writing for an audience. They are meant to be entirely private. But today I will share. This morning when I emerged from my morning pages, I was surprised to discover that: 1) I am very afraid of this limbo phase I am in right now where I’m transitioning to a writing career but not yet earning much income, and 2) how much better I felt just by acknowledging that fear.
I am SURE this fear is creating barriers to my creative growth and hampering my process. I hope that taking this course will break those barriers down (at least a little) and alleviate some of the trepidation I am carrying around with me.
Have you ever done The Artist’s Way or a similar program? Have you made it through the entire course? Any advice?