It’s been a while since I have blogged, however, I needed to step away for a bit, and feel good for having done so. Now I am back, feeling more energized than ever. Why? For the past two weeks, I have been working on The Artist’s Way
, a program started by Julia Cameron a few decades ago. Frankly, I have had the book on my shelf for about two years now, and I finally decided it was time to open it. Now I am saying to myself, “Why did I wait so long!?”
What is this program? I would say it is a tool to help you get in touch with your deeper self and gets rid of the “coulda, shoulda, woulda’s.” It also sheds light on the pressures, demands, and negative feedback others – whether it be friends, relatives, teachers, or bosses – (or you yourself!) have given you that may have impacted your life in positive or negative ways you may not have realized. For me, it has renewed my sense of self and energized me in ways I have not felt in years!
How does the program work? While the “program” is officially twelve weeks long, it is recommended to use many of the tools for the rest of your life. Essentially, Julia divides the book into twelve chapters, where each is associated with one week’s worth of work. While each week is comprised of different activities, a few are the same each week. These “repeats” are as follows:
- Morning Pages: Every morning, just as you get out of bed, write 3-pages worth of a journal entry. The purpose of this is to have you write without judging that which you are writing. And no, you cannot type on your computer. The idea is to get your hand moving and be in touch with your brain-body connection. If you don’t know what to write, it is better to move your hand and scribble for three pages than to do nothing.
- Artist’s Date: Each week, for about two hours, it is recommended that you take yourself on a date. The key here is that this is about you and only you – not a friend, boyfriend, child, or family member. Perhaps you can do something you would normally not do. Look at it as an adventure to explore your inner child! My first week, I went to a movie alone. My second week, I went to a cafe and read a book.
What I like about the program is that Julia suggests that if you don’t get to all the activities each week, let it go and move on. Each week is its own adventure. I liked being given this kind of permission. For example, the first week, I literally forgot to do my morning pages over the weekend. I was able to let it go!
OK. You might think, “This is a lot of work. I don’t have time.” My reply is, “Make the time.” How much time do we waste each day or each week doing things that have no purpose? How much time to do we waste surfing the Internet, staring mindlessly at the TV, or going to the grocery store 12 times because we did not make a list?
Julia recommends getting out of bed 30 minutes early every morning to commit to the morning pages. This is perfect because usually, the mornings are most quiet around the house. Imagine what it would be like if you took a little extra time for yourself. Besides the morning pages, I would say the artist’s date plus other weekly activities should take no more that 3-4 hours a week…..at least that’s how it seems from the first two chapters. And it has truly been worth every minute.
You might also think, “I am not an artist.” I originally felt this way as well because Julia herself is an artist – author, actress, etc. – and yet I come from the business world. What I realized about her tool, though, is we are all artists, but how that looks is different for each of us. Also, how we use our “art” or our creativity can appear in a variety of places within our lives. I would encourage you to give this program a try to discover your own inner artist.
Once the twelve weeks are up, many continue with their morning pages and artist dates. Some even redo the course periodically.
How can you start doing The Artist’s Way? There are several options:
- Order the book. Feel free to invite your friends to join you so you can debrief each week.
- Sign up for a seminar near you. Julia and others she has worked with run seminars all over the place. Click here for the latest schedule.
- Take the course online. Julia now offers the class online, which allows you to let her be your instructor. There also seem to be forums and other things available if you sign up for the online community.
Enjoy finding your inner artist!