Hello and Good Morning, my blog friends. Welcome back to my corner of the internet. With May well under way, I want to share with you a project that I recently completed. It’s called “the Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
What is “the Artist’s Way”?
Simply put, “the Artist’s Way” is a 12-week course for anyone wishing to explore their creative self. Ms. Cameron describes it as a “support kit for artists”. The cover of the book provides a description by stating “A course in discovering and recovering your creative self”. This statement says it all. From beginning to end, this is what the course is all about.
Who is an artist?
When I first learned of the course, I had been art journaling for about six months. At the time, my idea as an artist was way too narrow. When I thought of an artist, I thought of a person who could draw a beautiful picture or painting. That was it. As I said before, it was a very narrow view. Having only dabbled in art journaling for about six months, I surely didn’t consider myself an artist in any way. I wonder how many other people walk around with such a misconception of an artist.
I learned through the course that all people are creative and can be an artist. It’s not just limited to drawing or painting. An artist is someone who creates. That’s sounds pretty broad, doesn’t it? Well, it is! If you can create a story with words, you are an artist. If you can create music, you are an artist. If you sing, dance, write, paint, sculpt, draw, and in any way create, you are an artist. Wow! For me, that was a life changing concept.
What tools for creative discovery will you encounter?
The two main tools within this course are Morning Pages and Artist Dates.
Morning Pages is a daily exercise completed, as the name suggests, in the morning. It’s recommended that you complete them soon after waking up. For me, I complete them immediately after I’ve outlined my day in my bullet journal.
You have the option of purchasing the companion Morning Pages notebook, but it’s not necessary. Any notebook will do. It’s what you do with the notebook that is important. To complete the exercise, you will write out by hand (not typing into your computer) three pages of whatever you are thinking. Three pages like a stream of consciousness. You think it, you write it. The pages may make no sense at all. It’s not really meant to, so that’s ok. The idea is to get it all out of your head and onto paper to free up your mind and discover more about yourself in the process.
The Artist Date is a weekly exercise. It’s a block of time set aside to nurture your inner artist. It may be a walk in the woods or a visit to an art gallery, whatever it may be that can inspire creativity. These dates must be done alone, because they are for you to get in touch with and nurture your creative self.
I did not complete these during my time with the course. I rarely have moments alone without the children; however, just because the 12 weeks have passed by, it does not mean I still cannot include them into my weeks at some point in the future.
What, in general, did I learn from the course?
The biggest thing that I learned from the course is that there are stages of discovery and recovery. Each week had a lesson built in that seemed to correspond to where I probably would be in the stages. I noted that, for myself, I was ahead of schedule for a lot of the course. I had started my art journaling and creative discovery 9 months before starting the course. As I worked through the course each week, I recognized that I had already hit upon the stages. About halfway through the course, I was more in sync with the stages. I found it super interesting that I recognized that!
Is there homework with the course?
Yes. At the end of each week’s lesson, there is a list of about 10 different tasks to complete. I chose anywhere from 1-3 tasks each week to complete based on how much time I had and what I felt would help me the most.
How much time did I spend on the course each week?
The introductory chapters to the course talk about setting aside up to 10 hours per week to complete all the work. I didn’t have the 10 hours, but I fit what I could in each week based on my personal needs and desires. Each Sunday evening, I spent about 30 minutes reading the next chapter and reviewing the tasks in preparation for the coming week. I spent about 30 minutes per day on the morning pages (at most) and about one hour per week on the tasks for a total of about 5 hours per week.
In summary, “The Artist’s Way” course is for anyone seeking to discover and recover creativity. The course is for anyone who wants to learn about the tools available to nurture creativity. The course includes weekly reading material and tasks to help you discover more about yourself. Anyone who creates is an artist. If you undertake the course, you will want to set aside the time to do it. I set aside time in my morning routine to get it done.
I hope you have found or may find this course intriguing. I really enjoyed my experience, and I will likely re-visit the course either annually or bi-annually.
Question of the Week: If you have completed this course, what was your biggest takeaway? If you have not completed this course, how do you think this course would help you? Please share your answers in the comments section below. The comments section is where we get to inspire and learn from each other.