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The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity An international bestseller millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life Still as vital today—or perhaps even so—than it was when it was first published one decade ago it is a powerfully provocative and inspiring work In a new introduction to the book Julia Cameron reflects upon the impact of The Artist’s Way and describes the work she has done during the last decade and the new insights into the creative process that she has gained Updated and expanded this anniversary edition reframes The Artist’s Way for a new century


10 thoughts on “The Artist's Way A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

  1. says:

    Julia Cameron works my last nerve She's always talking about looking out at the sun dappled mesas of New Mexico or using some other affected high falutin' lingo about her gloriously new age trendy life Meanwhile I look out at the cracked concrete of my driveway in the Chicago drizzle and wonder how us normal people ever survived without people like Julia Cameron telling us about their fantastically charmed lives However I like the little mind toys in this book I did the morning pages and found them interesting I strolled the aisles of dollar stores and played a bit because of her book and it was fun So she gets two stars If she were less Baby Boomer Annoying she would have gotten


  2. says:

    On the whole the key to the Artist's Way is selfishness That is something I fundamentally disagree with You should not skip your child's soccer game to paint your masterpiece Your kid is the masterpiece All of the relationships in your life are masterpieces I use that as an example but there are other moments in this book where self indulgence at the expense of others is encouraged This is loathsomeSo why didn't I just give the book and the program a 1 star rating? Because there are some very good ideas in there Namely the morning pages They grow tedious for me but I do find them effective Also I highly recommend taking an hour or two out of your week to have an adventure in the world by yourself This really is a great way to stimulate your creativity no matter what your craft isOverall if you want to try this program go for it and recognize which parts do and don't work for you However I must warn that there is an ugly side to what Julia Cameron preaches here and I won't endorse that


  3. says:

    This is a really difficult book for me to rate At the time I first read it fifteen years ago it did wonders to open me up creatively I was still struggling to slough off some negative parental programming about being a writer and this book along with a good friend helped give me permission to explore that side of myselfSince that time however my belief system has changed so radically that I no longer agree with a number of the book’s fundamental premises For this reason it would be hard for me to recommend it now I do think it contains some good material in the form of useful exercises and uplifting stories about creative development But those come with heavy doses of New Age spirituality and recovery beliefs that will likely make the book inaccessible to anyone who doesn’t view the world through that filter


  4. says:

    Another book that has changed my life See also The Runner's Handbook I have started this book many times and not finished my 12 week or commitment but this time when I got to the point where I wanted to give up I kept on going and let me tell you where I am now as a result of thisI pitched my memoir to agents in FebruaryI am taking acting lessonsI have started wearing clothes I like every single dayI am planting a gardenI have taken up knittingI am taking ballet classesI am treating myself to massages manicures and tripsI write every single dayI have started working on my memoir again after a long withdrawal period post graduationI am having fun and playingI am discovering myselfIf you are interested in doing this please feel free to contact me I am going through the book again and I would love to work it with other people


  5. says:

    My New Year's resolution for 1998 was to finally actually DO the Artists' Way I had given it to several people close to me for the last three holidays but I had never actually done the process This is not a book to read It is a book to do and it promises major life changes in 13 weeks I was desperate to find a new way to make a living and decided to give this my best shot 13 weeks later there was no epiphany I still didn't know where to go so I started over from the beginning Two weeks later week 15 it dawned on me and I saw a way out and I knew what I had to do to get there It changed my life


  6. says:

    I was introduced to The Artist's Way back in 2005 when I took a college class on creativity If I hadn't signed up for that class I'm sure I would have never picked up this book I expected The Artist's Way to be full of fluffy New Agey platitudes and I approached it with cynicism and skepticism However I kept an open mind I read each chapter thoroughly I did the morning pages every day and an artist's date once a week I did a handful of the exercises at the end of each chapter And my life changed The morning pages resulted in an award winning nonfiction book a series of children's picture book manuscripts and the willingness to embark upon another challenging nonfiction book writing project The artist's dates renewed my childlike love for the fiber arts and I began creating beautiful handwork projects I learned to surf I joined a writing group Most importantly even important than the concrete examples of creativity that have resulted I was given a set of tools for life tools that enable me to challenge that critical voice in my head and to trust my instincts I can't say enough about this book It came into my life during a difficult time and it has dovetailed beautifully with recovery in other areas in my life


  7. says:

    A book to cheer you on when you feel like you can only look longingly at your passion writing painting drawing because the dog needs a walk and the kids need a bath and you've bills to pay so you've just come home from a job that took you from the house and back to it without a glimpse of the sun


  8. says:

    Look for writers and artists whatever inspires you to create is a good thing However I found this book For me to be too I am an artist I am bohemian I create attitude Writing or any of the arts has a greater verity for my when it's a little less GIFT OF THE GODS and a little craft The most successful creators view their work as a craft in the same manner that a furniture maker or a bricklayer would in my experience Also when one focuses on craftsmanship rather than inspiration it makes for better work as well


  9. says:

    Artist’s Way while it contains some gems is an overall disappointment I’ve started it several times and it took me this fourth time to get all the way through I had previously blamed my inability to finish it on myself than on the work in general The book taken as a whole comes across as pop psychology mixed with a heavy dose of New Age philosophy There is a lot of talk about nurturing the inner child that is our real artist the child’s inability to accept raw criticism and how this creates emotional scar tissue The inner artist child needs to be protected and nurtured and needs to have its hand held and be tenderly led through the miasma of the psyche of the growing artist She even goes so far as to euate poorly delivered criticism to sexual abuse and projects that don’t materialize to miscarriages from which the artist suffers as much as the woman who lost a child That was where she lost me for goodThe book is full of case examples; artists novelists poets script writers all of who benefited from Cameron’s twelve week recovery Should I understand this as Cameron a recovering alcoholic devising her own twelve step program? All of these case characters are given to us on a first name basis One example is Ted a blocked novelist who after the program and twelve that number again years of working with the Morning Pages now has three novels to his credit Okay Ted who? I want to see his work I also want to see Bob’s breakout documentary the one that a teacher trashed so harshly that Bob hid the reels in his basement which was then flooded Then after opening up to Cameron about the lost project copies of the reels are found and he uses he newfound creativity found with Cameron’s help to finish the documentary and do yet another I want to see these works I want to connect to the tangible success of people who have travel this path that Cameron is leading us on But alas Ted and Bob are just two examples of the long list of one name shadows walking through Cameron’s book The works these people completed and published could be a source of inspiration but are denied us by this one name AA style anonymity After a while I began to uestion how many of these people were real The one example she gave that I found truly inspirational worked for me because she used the full name a name I recognized Blake Edwards and a story about him that is well known It was one I’d heard before and I was glad to be reminded of it It is a loss to Cameron’s work that there aren’t examples that the reader can actually wrap hisher hands aroundCameron also talks long and hardy about her own work much of which is in the film industry I checked on IMDB The list is short two of the citations are for “Special Thanks” on major works by other people She talks about writing plays I can’t find any She apparently worked as a journalist but a uick and far from thorough internet search didn’t turn up any leads I remember seeing one novel by her in the library Google her name and the overwhelming return is for The Artist’s Way This is not to minimize Cameron’s achievements but it would help if she threw up some street signs leading the way to tangible evidence of her own work that shows us her program worksHer idea for Morning Pages does have an application It is an effective brain dump It does clear the pipes so to speak but I don’t see the efficacy of a slave like devotion to the practice I used it long before I found The Artist’s Way I called it “writing in my journal” I use it when my head is cluttered with too much information which often happens during my job running two departments in a busy hotel and trying to maintain even the barest minimum of creative pursuits I can’t see myself however locked into every morning spending up to an hour doing Morning Pages I can put that valuable time to better use writing my novels stories poetry and blog posts I will admit I did exactly what she said not to do; I read the book through instead of doing the weekly exercises In fact the last few chapters were scanned rather than thoroughly read I realized early on that my “blockage” wasn’t about my creativity My creativity is fine I have lots of ideas and when I sit my butt down and work I can actually write and what I write is usually pretty good My blockage is my discipline my self sabotage and my lack of confidence and I didn’t find Cameron’s prescription to be a healing balm for my symptoms I started looking at what some of my favorite and most respected writers have to say about writing unblocking and producing work They don’t talk about twelve step recovery and nurturing our inner child who never grows up They talk about work Getting pen in hand or hands on the keyboard and working They talk about working until it works They talk about breaking through blockages with action not weekly exercises and group therapy sessions These people talk about writing as people of other professions talk about their careers They talk about how it takes work discipline and action and confidence in your ability They talk about being able to recognize good criticism vs poor criticism and being mature enough to deal with both at face value They talk about the reality of rejection and putting it in its proper place and not letting it sideswipe your momentum This is the approach that I believe will work best for me and my writing © 2014 M Romeo LaFlamme


  10. says:

    I can't rate this book since my opinion of it veers wildly between five stars and zero starsFor those not familiar with it The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is a book that claims it can reconnect anyone with their Inner Artist via a program modeled openly on AA's Twelve Step Program it is not a coincidence that Cameron is a recovering alcoholic As such it conceptualizes creativity as something inherently spiritual and conceptualizes the artist as a channel for God's willSoPROBLEM NUMBER ONE For me creativity is not something that comes from outside the self but something that comes from deep within the self And Cameron isn't actually very consistent since her model of creativity seems to be something like the Puritans' model of the Elect it's entirely out of your control but you have to behave properly in order to be one So her model goes back and forth between you have to open yourself to God's will and you have to find the ideas that are deep within you and nurture them into bloom Also I admit this freely I have all the spirituality of a brick so treating creativity as something spiritual means it's something I'm excluded from and I think I can be forgiven for not liking that model very muchPROBLEM NUMBER TWO Cameron has I hope unconsciously reinvented one of Freud's repellent ideas Where in talking about Dora he postulates that yes means yes and no also means yes Cameron explains that if you don't like any of her teachings or if they make you angry that just means you're childishly resisting the thing you need in order to heal So basically if you uestion or argue with her that's a sign you're Doing It WrongThis idea annoys me than a littlePROBLEM NUMBER THREE Cameron is writing from a position of unconscious privilege She has the freedom to assume that if you are blocked creatively it is something you can solve by willpower alone that it's or less something you have unconsciously done to yourself because you are scared of being creative She does not allow for health either physical or mental to be something out of your control that may be affecting your creativity and although she acknowledges that there are people who are creative but who cannot create because they are too busy struggling to survive or to care for their children or whatever other actual and genuine impediment may be in their life that they cannot simply will away by rearranging their schedule a little she has a serene confidence that none of those people are reading her bookAs someone who has been unable to write to a greater or lesser degree for seven years yes you did read that correctly; I finished the principal draft of The Goblin Emperor in 2009 I would like to state for the record that if the problem could be solved by willpower alone I WOULD HAVE SOLVED IT ALREADY And I resent the condescending attitude that the problem is all my fault if I would just have enough self insight to see itPROBLEM NUMBER FOUR Cameron is of the same school of thought as Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg that writing and other forms of creativity is basically therapy that creativity comes from the well of psychic injury Now writing can be theraputic and tremendously so but this model of writing as therapy as direct one to one correspondence stream of consciousness therapy does not work for me and never hasROBLEM NUMBER FIVE Cameron believes The universe will always support affirmative action 194 that if you open yourself up to the universe the universe will send you what you need Always Now maybe it's just because I've read too much true crime and it's made me cynical but I can't help pointing out that sometimes if you open yourself up to the universe the universe sends you Ted Bundy The universe is not inherently benevolent It is inherently indifferent and does not give a fuck whether you succeed or failSome of these problems are merely annoying; some of them are potentially destructive to writers and other artists if they take them as gospel pardon the pun; some of them are irresponsible and dangerousBut despite all that and despite the fact that I did not so much follow the Artist's Way as argue vigorously with it there are a lot of valuable ideas in what Cameron says Some of them were things I already knew but needed to be reminded of like that just like any other form of creativity writing reuires continual practice Even if you can't write a story you can still write something and you need toSloth apathy and despair are the enemy she says on page 62 and I agree with that whole heartedly And I love her idea of true north that two people can have the same goal but their reasons the thing pulling them like a lodestone don't have to be the same And I would follow that with if you lose your true north for whatever reason you're going to have to find it again before you can get very far She harmonizes with Csikszentmihalyi in emphasizing that the writer is well served to value process over product and she points out something I have in fact taken to heart; that when your sensible self asks Do you know how long it's going to take you to do X? Do you know how old you'll be? the correct answer is Just as old as I'll be if I don't do itCameron also provides a lot of uotes from a lot of people some of which I found wrong some inane some simply not applicable But some I really liked like Theodore Roethke's I learn by going where I have to go Which okay I'm not going to say The Waking is the greatest villanelle of all time but I am gonna say it's pretty damn closeOthersI merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues Duke EllingtonWhenever I have to choose between two evils I always like to try the one I haven't tried before Mae WestIt is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult SenecaIn a dark time the eye begins to see Roethke againLook and you will find it what is unsought will go undetected SophoclesLiving is a form of not being sure not knowing what next or how The moment you know how you begin to die a little The artist never entirely knows We guess We may be wrong but we take leap after leap in the dark Agnes de MilleSatisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life Linus PaulingThe unconscious wants truth It ceases to speak to those who want something else than truth Adrienne RichThe job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery Francis Bacon this one not that oneWhat moves men of genius or rather what inspires their work is not new ideas but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough Eugène Delacroix forgive him his sexism he's been dead for a hundred and fifty four yearsAdventure doesn't begin until you get into the forest Mickey HartOne does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time André GideA painting is never finished it simply stops in interesting places Paul Gardner