Have you ever heard of The Artist’s Way?
If you were like me, you have probably only heard it in passing. A friend of a friend saw a video online about how The Artist’s Way had suddenly increased their productivity and creativity tenfold. If you haven’t, then congrats, you have heard it from here.
While I am honestly a little skeptical about the mystical power of this book, I am always willing to try something new. I had already begun to do what are called ‘Morning Pages’ since mid-April and now I have the book that is associated with the concept.
What is The Artist Way?
The Artist Way is a book created by Julia Cameron. However, it is not just a book you read once and then tuck away into your bookshelf to collect dust. Instead, it is a book and a 12-week creative course bundled into one soft-cover package. You read the book in increments, doing the tasks requested of you towards the end of that particular week’s pages.
These tasks vary from keeping a journal, creating charts to visually see what is going on within yourself and even writing letters to people who you might have lost contact with for years. These assignments vary in difficulty, but they all have the same goal of pushing the reader out of their comfort zone so they can have new experiences which in turn will foster their creativity and give them new points of view.
This is not a novel. It is not a book to read on a rainy day or whenever you feel like it. Purchasing this book is like registering for an online class. When it comes in the mail, your course begins and you must be consistent with the reading material and assignments to truly benefit from it.
As I’m writing this, I am on Week 2.
The reason I wanted was to first see how the book operated before recommending it to anyone. I feel while at this stage, I can still be rather unbiased in my opinion. I am not too deep to be fully ‘pro-Artist Way’ yet I still have experienced it long enough where I can comfortably say it is making a difference. It’s certainly not meant for everyone, you are going to have to want to put time and effort into this to really feel the benefits.
The perks of The Artist Way is that it already has forced me to step a little out of my comfort zone. On my first week of the assignment, I was encouraged to take a walk to truly experience the joys of the ‘great outdoors’ and was told to write a letter to someone who has helped me grow as an artist. My walk turned out to be much more fun than I imagined, I got to see a cute street show while enjoying the warm Spring afternoon while I reconnected with someone whom I’ve only been seeing occasionally on my Facebook feed.
Another perk of participating in The Artist Way is a large amount of support that is available in the community. While I have not personally spoken to another person who is on this journey, I have watched a plethora of YouTube videos of people going through similar experiences as my own. While many of the assignments are focused on yourself, there are many people you can talk to about The Artist Way and this sense of community I feel is a major perk.
Personally, another perk is that I now have an excuse to go on more adventures. If anyone asks why I need to go to the park, I have the book to blame. While naturally, I don’t have to give a reason why I want to do something, it is still nice having something to refer to whenever someone raises their eyebrow at my next new adventure. Being an artist means you want to bundle up a ton of new experiences to reach into when creating, so that means you have plenty of reasons to go out and explore.
The first obvious downside is the price. While the book is not extremely expensive by any means, everyone has a different budget and may not want to spend their hard-earned dollars on a book that doesn’t guarantee success. However, if you save a dollar a week, then you can quickly get the book and if not then consider buying less coffee so you can save up faster.
Another downside is that you have to invest a lot of time into the book. A lot of time.
Let us put aside the time it takes to do the tasks. On a weekly basis, you need to find a half-hour to an hour of quiet time to read through the Week’s chapter. You may need to read or reread certain parts if you want to fully grasp the material you are reading. Alongside that, you are required to do ‘Morning Pages’ and an ‘Artist Date’ for every single week without fail.
Morning Pages are journal entries that you write in the morning. I use a cheap composition notebook and write three pages longhand within this book. While at first doing these entries took me 30-45 minutes, I now can crank it out in 10-20 minutes depending on how motivated and inspired I am.
Artist Dates are exactly as they sound. They are dates. However, the major requirement is that you go on this date by yourself because you are going on a date with your inner artist. These dates are meant to be fun, but also meditative. They could be as short as a 30-minute walk in the park to an entire field day in a museum.
Do I recommend Artist Way?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is maybe.
As I mentioned before The Artist Way is not for everyone. I am the kind of person who has an issue with being consistent with any project I tackle. I usually have powerful starts but I have problems with keeping that pace as the weeks pass by. This is why I simply did Morning Pages for an entire month to make sure that The Artist Way was something I could handle.
If you struggle with being consistent with your projects, buy a cheap composition book in the 99 cents store and just start doing your Morning Pages. Every morning take the time to fill up your pages. Talk about your dreams, list three things you are grateful for and then maybe talk about the things that pop up in your mind. If you can do that for a month, buy the book. You’ll see how much better your Morning Pages get with some guidance.
If your issue is not having anyone to remind you to do your tasks, then make yourself accountable by posting up your journey on social media. I have been keeping myself accountable by using Twitter. Whenever I do something related to my journey with The Artist’s Way, I tweet about it. It’s not only great to look back on when everything is said and done, but you’ll get other people involved and keep yourself accountable. Another way is to do The Artist Way with a friend – just make sure you guys keep your Artist’s Dates separate.
If you happen to get The Artist’s Way, let me know how your journey is going or send me a tweet at carprincessii, I’d love to have more people along with me for the ride.