A few of my reviews on the Book of the Week

Initial Review of The Artist’s Way

 So today I got on an airplane to visit my friend Jen in San Francisco. While on the plane, I started reading the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which is my book of the week. I first heard about this book three or four years ago in a graduate class taught by Marilyn DeLong, which was about untended consequences in design. So I knew the concepts that this book proposed before I sat down and read it…and I have even tried some of these concepts based on my knowledge. Unfortunately, none of them stuck. Now, having read the first 33 pages of the book, I know why. Julia Cameron lays out two things that you have to do to help unleash your inner creativity…morning pages and the artist date. I have tried both without much success….here is why: I was uncommitted. I did them because I knew about them, had them explained to me, but I was praying for a miracle. That these two concepts would simply fix my creativity. Now that I am actually reading the book, I am realizing that the only way to do these, is to read the book and be committed. 

Some of the concepts she has thrown out, definitely hit home. I think that you will find that it does too if you read it. So I am proposing the following: I am going to finish reading the book and try the experiment of doing morning pages and the artist date and report of what happens with me on the blog! How does that sound? I hope being the guinea pig will convince me (and you) that there are new avenues of creativity to be found. 

So what are morning pages and the artist date? I am a little hesitant to tell you because I’m afraid you’ll do what I did…do them and not really be committed. But here they are so I can talk about some of the things she says in the book. Morning pages are three pages of stream-of-conscious writing when you first wake up in the morning. This is NOT a journal. It is a forum for getting all the “gunk” out of your head to leave you open for the rest of the day. Julia Cameron has a number of other caveats about how to do the morning pages, but for the purpose of my review, I think this definition works (again, you should read the book to get everything Julia Cameron says). The second tool she proposes are artist dates. You are suppose to dedicate a block of time (1 or 2 hours) to take your self on a date and do something that you really want to do or that would nurture you. Now, I don’t know about you, but this is VERY hard for me. Sure, 1 or 2 hours should be easy to come by during the week…but somehow those hours are never there.  When there are kids, jobs, and cleaning to do, when is there time to ever take time for yourself? The sad part is, we with everything going crazy in our lives, probably need to take ourselves on a date the most. Agreed? Julia Cameron makes the argument that if you where in a relationship that you wanted to save, you would go to therapy, find a mediator, and try to save it. Why wouldn’t you do the same for yourself (and your creativity)?

So, I will start morning pages (I’ll find a beautifully designed book to make it more motivating) and I’ll set a time next week to do the artist date. Julia Cameron suggests 12 weeks of this. She says she’s been doing it for a decade. It helped her be more creative, perhaps I just need to give it a go if I want the same result? Man, I am so commit-a-phobic! I’ll report on the rest of the book ASAP and let you know what happens. If anyone wants to do this with me (always more motivating), please feel free to comment on this post and I’ll keep updates on this project going so you can post as well.