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.
Check back on my earlier posts for explanation of key terms which Cameron uses, including Morning Pages and Artist Date.
‘First choose what you would do. The how usually falls into place of itself.’
(Cameron, J., The Artist’s Way. London: Pan Books, 1995, p.66)
What’s involved? Week 3’s readings focus on the emotions of anger and shame, and how these can either be detrimental or helpful to the recovering artist. Synchronicity is a big part of this week, with the maxim ‘leap, and the net will appear’, i.e. go for your dreams and trust that the universe will help you to make them work. Around half of this week’s written tasks encourage you to look back to your childhood, while the other half ask you to think about the traits held by friends and people you admire.
How long does it take? I spent 10-15 minutes daily on my Morning Pages, and around 4 hours doing the readings and written tasks and exercise. I completed all of the tasks, though I didn’t do all of them as fully as I probably should have due to lack of time and – to be honest – enthusiasm, as some of the questions felt entirely irrelevant to my writing and creativity.
For this week’s Artist Date, I sat in my garden for an hour, enjoying the sunshine and dwelling on my surroundings with the help of an ice lolly and my trusty notepad.
Hardest part? I found it difficult to summon up the enthusiasm for all the writing tasks. I understand the point of the Morning Pages as an outpouring of thought and to get myself disciplined to writing daily no matter how I feel, and I am really beginning to enjoy and look forward to the prospect of my weekly Artist Date and the chance for a little quiet time to focus on the detail of my surroundings … but some of this week’s readings and tasks felt overly spiritual or completely irrelevant to my writing. I know, I know, it’s important to think about things like who your friends are and how you can build up a circle of supportive people around you, but right now some of it just feels a bit over the top. I’ll let you know how I feel in a few weeks time – maybe I’ll have changed my mind completely!
Week 3 overall? Despite my complaints, I’ve had another good week. I’m still not sure if the course is helping my writing, but it certainly is throwing up some interesting questions. This week I enjoyed thinking about the concept of ‘synchronicity’. I’ve had several wonderful opportunities coming my way recently (for example, a phone call from out of the blue asking me to write a piece for my local newspaper) and it’s nice to take a moment to realise that these things have only come about because I put myself out there in the first place. I committed to my writing, and now (I hope!) the universe is starting to send me nice things in return. I have leaped and the net has begun to appear.
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!