In the previous post, I talked about creativity and how to take it back. I took my creativity back by working on Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. This book worked for me and a number of people around the world.
But how did I manage to finish it? That’s what I’m going to cover in this post. You might not be interested in doing The Artist’s Way, and that’s fine. You can use the tips given below for any other things that require you to push the envelope further.
Now, let me quickly go over what The Artist’s Way is…
The Artist’s Way is a 12 week course on crushing your creative blocks. Each week you will explore different topics that are related to your creative blocks; by actively reflecting on these topics, you will be able to discover your inner artist, who has been buried under the blocks.
There are two core exercises in this book: The morning pages and the artist’s date.
The morning pages is a daily exercise – you write down whatever comes to your mind for 3 pages as soon as you wake up in the morning. When you write down your thoughts, you don’t edit yourself; let your hand take over the process. You don’t have to worry about your handwriting being messy either, because you are not supposed to read what you’ve written unless you are given an instruction to do so in the book. You simply write down anything that comes to your mind at the time of writing. You might write about your worries or your dreams. Anything.
The other core exercise, the aritist’s date is a weekly date. You get to go on a date with the loveliest person for you in the entire world – you. This exercise is powerful and significant, especially if you are the kind of person who has been too busy for fun and exciting things in life and doesn’t take some time off for yourself. Spend some quality time with yourself and nourish your inner artist (read: do something fun). That’s the idea behind this exercise.
In addition to these core exercises, you’ll be assigned to do other weekly exercises specific to each week’s topic. There are about 10 exercices per chapter. Some are extensive, and some can be done quickly. Doing these exercises is crucial in taking back your creativity, because they help you realize your potential as well as your dreams and help you take small steps so you can crush your creative blocks.
What I learnt through working on The Artist’s Way
If you manage to complete The Artist’s Way, what happens? Here’s what happened to me.
- I realized that what I labeled as procrastination was a bunch of creative blocks in a guise.
- I realized that I had been blocked.
- I’m no longer interested in judging other people’s artworks or other artists unless I’m asked to do so by them. In most cases, it’s unnecessary to judge them and I’d rather work on my own thing than becoming someone who is busy making judgments about others.
- I’m happy to take small steps as well as big steps.
- I’m much more willing to take risks and mistakes.
- I realized I have enough resources and potential to do what I want to do, whatever that may be.
- I realized that I am creative.
These realizations and attitudes helped me move further than where I used to be. I believe you can do the same.
Considering these benefits I got out of The Artist’s Way and the cost of the book ($10.63 at Amazon at the time of writing this post), I highly recommend you to work on The Artist’s Way.
What’s the catch?
Does it sound too good to be true? The Artist’s Way works – it worked for a number of people and it’s highly likely that it works for you as well.
It works only if you commit yourself to this 12 week course and if you complete it. I often hear that finishing The Artist’s Way is difficult. Why can it be difficult to finish?
- You need to commit yourself to The Artist’s Way for 3 months. You need to do your morning pages every day. You need to do your weekly exercises. You need to read the book. Making these commitments can be daunting for some people.
- It challenges you to take a look at your past and to reflect on who you are. In many cases, you will need to change yourself so you can reclaim your creativity. Change is good, but it can be uncomfortable for some people.
- Some people may not believe that it works.
- Some people may dislike the kind of language the author uses. While it’s not too woo woo new agey, it does contain some fluffy language, which may put off some people.
But if you’ve decided to give it a go, you want to make sure that you can crush your creative blocks, meet and celebrate your inner artist, right?
I bet you do.
What do you need to do in order to get the most out of The Artist’s Way by actually finishing it?
How to finish The Artist’s Way (Hint: There’s no easy way)
Here’s some advice I want to share with you. It’s from my own experiences.
- Realize that creativity is important for you (see my previous post). If I tell you that reclaimed creativity will make your life three times better than your current life, will you set some time for tasks you need to complete?
- Create more time. When it comes to completing the tasks, the major reason for feeling overwhelmed can be the lack of time. For the morning pages, you will need 20-40 minutes, depending on how fast you can capture your stream of consciousness in 3 pages. So, you might need to wake up early to make that time. For other exercises, you might want to have 2-3 hours each week. Also, create some time for reading each chapter as well. To create more time, you can stop watching TV, browsing the internet, or doing things you don’t need to do. To wake up early, go to bed early.
- If writing 3 pages of the morning pages is overwhelming, try writing 1 page instead. Once you get comfortable with it and made it as your habit, you can start writing more.
- Don’t be a perfectionist. While it is important to do the assigned exercises, if you miss some exercises, don’t feel guilty or worry about completing them. You can slow down or completely skip them and move on. It’s better to do so than getting stuck because of worrying too much about some tasks.
- Do it with your friends. I worked on The Artist’s Way with a group of people and it made it easier for me to be accountable about the progress.
- Be persistent, take it easy and have fun. Don’t be too serious about your journey of reclaiming your creativity. It will take some time to reclaim your creativity and it’s better to enjoy your journey than to crash and to burn out for being too serious about it. This applies if you don’t like how The Artist’s Way is presented as well. Be amused every time you find a fluffy metaphor in the book.
I hope these tips will help you finish The Artist’s Way. Good luck!
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Photo: ewen and donabel