During summer 2016, I am following the 12-week course prescribed in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way (London: Pan Books, 1995). The book focuses on ways to re-discover your creativity. Each week, I will be posting an update on my progress.
‘As blocked creatives, we focus not on our responsibilities to ourselves, but on our responsibilities to others. We tend to think such behaviour makes us good people. It doesn’t. It makes us frustrated people.’
(Cameron, J., The Artist’s Way. London: Pan Books, 1995, p.43)
What’s involved? Week 2’s readings and tasks focus on the way you split your time. What activities occupy most of your waking hours – and are they the activities you want to be spending time doing? For me, the most enjoyable exercise was the one named ‘Life Pie’, where you are asked to draw a pie chart containing segments such as Work and Play. Once you’ve marked each segment to show how fulfilled you feel in that area, you join the dots. Your aim is create some sort of circle, but mine looked rather squashed! This indicates that my work/play balance is not right, something which is raised in several of the other Week 2 tasks too.
How long does it take? I spent 10-15 minutes each day doing my Morning Pages, and 2 hours on one day doing my Artist Date (see Week 1’s post for explanation of these terms). I visited a local cemetery and spent the morning reading some of the stones, and then I sat in the sunshine and made some notes on my surroundings.
In addition, I spent around 3 hours over the course of the week reading the Week 2 chapter and doing the written tasks. There were several non-written tasks which focused on doing things you enjoy (I chose things like baking and reading), so I spent some additional time through the week doing these things when I could.
Hardest part? There are a lot of extra non-writing activities to try and do this week (as mentioned above). Although I found time to do most of these to some extent, I felt that this was at the expense of my own writing.
Week 2 overall? This has been an exceptionally positive week – and, indeed, I’ve been surprised at the number of times I used the word “positive” in my writing tasks and Morning Pages! It is useful and interesting to think about your work/life/play balance and where changes could be made. The Artist Date, in particular, showed me just how much inspiration there is to be found in the world if you can afford to spend a couple of hours simply sitting somewhere taking in your surroundings. This week, I have also been reflecting on the joys of having something to write and think about which is not on the computer (except for this blog part, of course!)
Do you want to rediscover your creative self too? If you’d like to join me as I complete Julia Cameron’s course The Artist’s Way, please post here or find me on Facebook (Kerrie McKinnel – Author) and let me know!