Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Review: The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron


The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. Tarcher, 1992. Nonfiction.

So I've known about The Artist's Way for a long time; it's a perennial bestseller on creativity and getting over or through creative blocks. I had a copy on my shelf for years. I picked it up at one of the bookstores I worked at and it just kind of sat there. I thought about reading it but  when I opened it up it quickly became clear that rather than your average craft book, full of advice and maybe a handful of prompts, this book is a course you do, not just a thing you read.

I was totally intimidated by the rules, the 3 pages of daily journal-writing, the tasks. The multitude of tasks. At least I was, until I needed to get unblocked vis-a-vis my own creativity earlier this year, and a trusted acquaintance suggested it to me. (Okay it was my therapist.) 

So I started to dig in. I was probably four weeks into it (so roughly in chapter two) before I got started on my own writing. And I haven't been able to stop since. The idea is that you do one chapter a week but the first chapter took me about 3 weeks between this and that.  Life gets in the way; just keep at it. Once I got going I got into a rhythm. Daily pages were no problem; I'm used to keeping a diary and honestly I liked "having" to do them. The tasks were also no big deal. They are basically little journal prompts and I used them as warm-ups before I worked on my own writing.

I kind of love this book and feel a lot of gratitude towards it. Some of the activities are a little dated (who does magazine collages? who even has magazines?) but I swear by its effectiveness. I finished weeks ago and still do daily pages religiously. It's my new "me time" in the morning. It's great. And I have more ideas than I know what to do with and more energy than I ever thought I would have.

This isn't a book to read; it's a book to use, and for me it was really helpful. I love all the positive self-talk, the affirmations, the opportunities for introspection. I just really enjoyed the whole process and recommend it heartily. If you're thinking about it, go get it.


FTC Disclosure: I did not receive a copy for review.

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