For more than two years, I had been involved in a 12-step program for Adult Children of Alcoholics. During that time I also visited a therapist to get my act together after a separation from a spouse and a move. Life was in a turmoil. The therapist suggested I get in touch with my creative inner self. What me, creative? Think again! But it was in my 12-step program that a fellow participant mentioned Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.
I was able to talk another member of a women's poetry group to go through the Cameron's 12-step program with me to help us both re-discover our creative side. And believe me, it not only helped release that creative vein in me, but it also helped me to understand myself overall much better than I ever had.
This is a perfect book for a group of people to discuss together. Each chapter is followed with questions that help the reader understand why they have buried their creativity for months or years or a whole lifetime. At the beginning of the book, we are asked to make two commitments in order to successfully complete the program. 1) Do Morning pages (a commitment to write three pages in a journal every day upon rising), and 2) commit to a Art Date (a weekly two-hour uninterrupted time set up to do an art activity). In my case, I resumed my photography hobby, but I also learned to appreciate collages, water colors and needlepoint.
The author wrote this book because she herself had experienced writer's block during her career. She was able to help herself and she went on to help others. Soon she decided to write a book about her program. Since its publication in 1992, it has sold millions of copies and benefited many budding and wilting artists in the ensuing decades.
One of the best insights I've gained from this book is that we must put our intention into the process of making art, not so much the final product. We should enjoy art just because creativity is programmed into all of our DNAs. We must be willing to bury the nagging critic in our lives, and simply enjoy the fun of art. In addition, we should not be concerned that someone else has already done something that we wanted to produce. Cameron tells us that there is plenty of room out there for more than one of any idea, and seeing that someone else has already done a good job at something we had wanted to do should not deter us.
I am still not the world's most famous photographer and never will be, but the joy that comes from being out in nature and capturing things of beauty on my camera, then sharing those images with friends is a freeing and growth-filled experience. In addition, I have learned to once more use the other side of my brain which I had ignored for far too long.
Try The Artist's Way and free that creative spirit within you. I've even begun sharing my experience with others in the community who want to become more creative themselves. It's great for building relationships with other artists as well.
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This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe, and has, in the four years since its publication, spawned a remarkable number of support groups for artists dedicated to practicing the exercises it contains. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.