Have you ever heard of The Artist's Way?
If you were like me, Carprincess, you only heard it in passing. A friend of mine saw a video about how “The Artist's Way” had suddenly increased their productivity and creativity tenfold.
If you haven't, then congrats, you have heard it first here.
While I am honestly a little skeptical about the mystical power of this book, I am willing to try something new. I had already begun to do what is called 'Morning Pages' since mid-April and now I have the book that is associated with the concept.
What is The Artist Way?
The Artist Way is a book by Julia Cameron. However, it is not just a book you read and tuck away into your bookshelf to collect dust. Instead, it is a book and a 12-week creative course bundled into one soft-cover package. You read the book in increments, doing the tasks requested of you before continuing to the next chapter.
The tasks vary from keeping a journal, creating charts, and writing letters to people who you might have lost contact with. These assignments vary in difficulty, but they have the goal of pushing the reader out of their comfort zone. This way their new experiences will foster their creativity.
This is not a novel. It is not a book to read on a rainy day or whenever you feel like it. Purchasing this book is like registering for an online class. When it comes in the mail, your course begins, and you must be consistent with the reading material and assignments to benefit from it.
As I'm writing this, I am on Week 2 of Artist’s Way
The reason I waited was to see how the book operated before recommending it to anyone. I feel while at this stage, I can still be unbiased in my opinion. I am not too deep to be fully 'pro-Artist Way', yet I still have experienced it long enough where I can comfortably say it is making a difference. It's not meant for everyone, you have to want to put time and effort into this to reap the benefits.
The Perks of The Artist Way
The perks of The Artist Way is that it already has forced me to step out of my comfort zone. My first week's assignment was to take a walk. Which is something we have recommended in the past for creativity. This was to truly experience the joys of the 'great outdoors'. My walk turned out to be more fun than I imagined, I got to see a street show while enjoying the warm Spring afternoon. I had another assignment to write a letter to someone who has helped me grow as an artist. This helped me reconnected with someone whom I've only been seeing on my Facebook feed.
Another perk of participating in The Artist Way is a large amount of support in the community. While I have not personally spoken to another person who is on this journey, I have watched a plethora of YouTube videos of people going through similar experiences. While many of the assignments are focused on yourself, there are many people you can talk to about The Artist Way and this sense of community I feel is a major perk.
Personally, another perk is that now I have an excuse to go on more adventures. If anyone asks why I need to go to the park, I have the book to blame. While I don't have to give a reason why I want to do something, it is nice having something to blame whenever someone raises their eyebrows at my next new adventure. As an artist, you need to have new experiences to inspire you.
The Downsides of The Artist Way
The first downside is the price. While the book is not expensive by any means, everyone has a different budget and may not want to spend their hard-earned dollars on a book that doesn't guarantee success. If you save a dollar a week, then you can get the book. Another money saving tip is to buy less coffee (or tea).
Another downside is that you have to invest a lot of time into the book.
A lot of time.
Let us put aside the time it takes to do the tasks. On a weekly basis, you need to find a half-hour to an hour of quiet time to read through the Week's chapter. You may need to read or reread certain parts if you want to fully grasp the material you are reading. Other requirements are: 'Morning Pages' and an 'Artist Date' for every single week without fail.
Morning Pages are journal entries that you write in the morning. I use a cheap composition notebook and write three pages longhand within this book. While at first doing these entries took me 30-45 minutes, I now can crank it out in 10-20 minutes depending on how motivated and inspired I am.
Update! There is also an app for iPhone users titled Morning Pages that allow you to do this digitally with daily reminders. The best part is that it's free!
Artist Dates are exactly as they sound. They are dates. However, the requirement is that you go on this date by yourself because you are going on a date with your inner artist. These dates are fun, but also meditative. They could be as short as a 30-minute walk in the park to an entire field day in a museum.
Do I recommend The Artist Way?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is maybe.
As I mentioned before The Artist Way is not for everyone. I am the kind of person who has an issue with being consistent with any project I tackle. I usually have powerful starts but I have problems with keeping that pace as the weeks pass by. This is why I simply did Morning Pages for an entire month to make sure that The Artist Way was something I could handle.
If you struggle with being consistent with your projects, buy a cheap composition book in the 99 cents store and just start doing your Morning Pages. Every morning take the time to fill up your pages. Talk about your dreams, list three things you are grateful for and then maybe talk about the things that pop up in your mind. If you can do that for a month, buy the book. You'll see how much better your Morning Pages get with some guidance.
If your issue is not having anyone to remind you to do your tasks, then make yourself accountable by posting up your journey on social media. I have been keeping myself accountable by using Twitter. Whenever I do something related to my journey with The Artist's Way, I tweet about it. Another way is to do The Artist Way with a friend. Just make sure you keep your Artist's Dates separate.
If you happen to get The Artist's Way, let me know how your journey is going or send me a tweet at carprincessii, I'd love to have more people along with me for the ride.