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Thoughts on The Artist's Way


Over the last year I've been working independently on a creative writing course. It's something I put together on my own, to gain momentum and to improve my writing. I'd been looking forward to finally getting to Julia Cameron's well known artist recovery book, The Artist's Way. I received my free copy from paperbackswap and diligently read a chapter per week, enjoying the quotes perched along the margins of nearly every page, and trying to be studious with writing about at least one, sometimes five or six, of the Tasks at the end of each chapter. 

This book, and the amount of 'homework', if you take it seriously, is a course in itself, though, and I hate to say it, but I just couldn't keep up with it. Each week Cameron advises to go on an Artist Date, and nearly week after week I was not able to do that. I know it is a big part of going through the book. The reasons behind the artist date are to not only see what you may not otherwise see (and go where you may not otherwise go), but to get inspired, fill up your well with something life-giving, and also to make the time and money you spend toward art and artistic endeavors completely part of your lifestyle, and budget--to normalize creativity in your life.

 This was hard for me. If going out on one date a month with my husband, over a weekly artist date was what were measuring on the scales, the most important thing for me to do was to invest in my marriage, even though I tried to take it seriously. If there was a free exhibit (or just something like a beautiful park or area I hadn't been to before) then, I'd try to fit it in. With one car, four family members, low funds, and lack of babysitters it just got pushed onto the big slush pile of back burner priorities. I'm not making excuses, necessarily, because I did what I could, but at the end of the day, perhaps the timing was off for me even though I'd waited two years to go through this course. 

An international move happened as I was about 2/3 of the way done with the book, which didn't help my writing, or my willingness to try, either. I took two months off, which is about 1 month and 2 weeks longer than I should have. My discipline got lazy. I chose to sleep in instead of getting up and intentionally doing the Morning Pages and the reading. Although looking back on a project you want to succeed at, and seeing where the discipline fell by the wayside is somewhat disappointing, I know I can always go through this book again. That's where I'm leaving my experience with The Artist's Way. I don't keep many books (nor buy them, 95% of what I read is from the library), but I decided to keep this one for future use. I'll get to those Artist Dates yet. I love Julia's writing, and she's a very encouraging teacher. I've only read two of her books but I'd read more. I've kept both of them (shocker)! 

Moral of the story? One foot in front of the other. Timing might be off, but forward motion is still positive in the grand scheme of things. 

Have any of you ever gone through The Artist's Way? What was your experience?

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