Week 4 – The Artist’s Way

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.

‘People frequently believe the creative life is grounded in fantasy. The more difficult truth is that creativity is grounded in reality, in particular, the focused, the well observed.’

(Cameron, J., The Artist’s Way. London: Pan Books, 1995, p.82)

Week 4

What’s involved? Week 4 is about introspection, and giving yourself quiet time to reflect on what you motivates and inspires you. Several of this week’s tasks ask you to make a physical change in your life, whether it’s getting rid of a piece of clothing that makes you feel rubbish about yourself, or giving thought to the environment you work and create within.

How long does it take? The usual 10-15 minutes per day on Morning Pages, plus around 2 hours to do the readings and written tasks. There are a number of non-written tasks this week which could theoretically take as much time as you are able to invest in them. I missed my Artist Date this week (a lack of time combined with a lack of focus, to be honest).

A big part of this week is the Reading Deprivation task. The idea is to avoid too much noise and incoming information, i.e. books, TV and social media (this last one is my addition to the list, since Cameron’s book was written long before Facebook and email became a daily obsession for millions of people around the world.) Although I didn’t do too well at this task overall, it did make me more conscious of how I was spending my time, and I did make an effort to put down the book/TV remote/laptop and spend time doing something hands-on instead.

Here are a few things which I did this week instead of reading etc: gardening (see photo evidence, above!), touching up paintwork around the house, playing with my son in the garden with his paddling pool and trike, constructing a new-baby gift for a relation, and tidying up my “to read” bookcase so that I could plan my summer reading.

Hardest part? I was suffering from an overall lack of focus this week! This was a personal thing, rather than a reflection on the course, but it did affect my ability to concentrate and make time for some of the practical tasks and the Artist Date.

Week 4 overall? I’ve enjoyed having more of a mixture of practical and written tasks this week and, although I didn’t do too well at the Reading Deprivation in practice, I loved the idea. Even in the limited amount of time which I spent adhering to it, I found it beneficial – and I have actually put pen to paper and WRITTEN on several occasions this week! This is big for me, as I haven’t felt all that inspired to write for a few months now. It’s been great seeing the words flowing for a change, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

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!

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