Book Club: The Artist's Way - Weeks 2&3
March 23, 2023
I am continuing my 12-week journey through The Artist's Way. It's a bit of a bumpy ride, but I've developed a personal motto for the journey: take anything that will make me 1% better. There have been some outstandingly fabulous conversations along the way. Here are the replays of weeks 2&3 for you to watch:
At the end of week three, I feel like I have a grasp on the big picture -- at least from an intellectual perspective. Here is my very type-A personality "what's the point" analysis of the book:
Morning Pages are a path towards Meditation and Mindfulness.
Meditation and mindfulness are tools you can use to achieve a calm and focused state of mind. Read any online article and you know that when you quiet the mind and focus on the present moment, you can reduce stress, clear your mind, and cultivate a sense of clarity and peace. This can help you approach your creative endeavors with renewed energy and enthusiasm, as well as provide a fresh perspective to see things in a new light. And so if Morning Pages help you get there, rock on! If not, there are lots of other ways to do it: exercise, going for a walk, actual meditation, repetitive tasks, etc. Morning Pages are a brain dump/meditation.
I think Morning Pages are also a habit. They're the beginning of a routine. If you're a writer, isn't it great to start the day with some writing! Extrapolating that out, if you're a visual artist, isn't it great to start the day by making some art?!
Artist Dates are a push towards Prioritizing & Nourishing Your Creativity.
Artist Dates are the idea of intentionally setting aside time to go on a small solo adventure with a childlike curiosity. This is a great idea. Often, we get so distracted by the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to put nourishing our creativity on the "to do" list. Amid finite time and even more finite resources, it can be easy for acts of self-care to get pushed down the priority list. It's also easy to forget that your creativity needs to be nourished by outside stimulus. Personally, I tend to put my head down and work all the time. But getting out of my studio and into the world is important. It's how I refresh myself.
My personal takeaway: I need to breathe in the real world and work less.
Homework Assignments are meant for Reflection and Analysis.
The homework assignments in each chapter feel a bit like therapy. You are being asked basic questions with complex answers. A lot of the questions relate to your childhood. It is true that this process of reflection and analysis can help you identify patterns and areas for improvement. Just as a scientist analyzes their data to make new discoveries, some personal reflection and analysis can lead to breakthroughs and new inspiration.
Almost nobody online talks about the homework assignments. I feel like most of what I read is all Morning Pages and Artist Dates. But, I think the homework is where so much good information is hiding. It's actually my favorite part of each chapter of the book.
Now, here's something that's not in the books, but that I think is deeply important to the artistic process: Community. Julia Cameron seems to emphasize being alone, but I believe that community is key to longevity (as an artist and a human). Therefore...
The Livestreams I host each week are intended to offer Community/Support.
When embarking on a creative journey, I think it's enormously helpful to have a support system to keep you both accountable and motivated. This can come in many forms, such as a writing group, mentor, or trusted friend who understands your goals and can provide encouragement when you need it most. A group (or a mentor/coach) can help you stay on track with your creative pursuits as well as give you the push you need to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks. With the support of others, you may feel more confident in trying new things and exploring uncharted territory.
Having a support system can offer a sense of community and belonging, which can be especially valuable for those who may feel isolated in their creative pursuits. Connecting with others who share your passions and interests can provide a sense of validation and camaraderie, reminding you that you are not alone on this journey. Especially as I've struggled with this book, the community aspect has been so important to me. And I hope for you too.
I hope to see you at the next Book Club!