During summer 2016, I have been 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 have been posting an update on my progress; you can find previous posts by searching under the category, The Artist’s Way.
Check back on my earlier posts for explanation of key terms which Cameron uses, including Morning Pages and Artist Date.
‘Mulling on the page is an artless art form. It is fooling around. It is doodling. It is the way that ideas slowly take shape and form until they are ready to see the light.’
(Cameron, J., The Artist’s Way. London: Pan Books, 1995, p.195)
Well done – it’s the final week!
What’s involved? Week 12’s reading and tasks focus on the creative self going forward. What fears and negative beliefs are you still holding on to? Who do you trust to help you as you go forward? And, most importantly, who can you pass the book on to next?
How long does it take? I spent around 2 hours doing the reading and tasks, but I did skip several of the more practical and time-consuming tasks – my schedule has filled up as I’ve entered the final days of my MLitt portfolio, so that has come as top priority this week. My Morning Pages also slipped (due to a combination of tiredness and an unwell toddler), but I managed to keep them up for 5 days out of 7, and as usual I found them extremely useful for planning my day and mulling over ideas.
My Artist Date didn’t happen, but I did make time for a few mini-Artist Dates including dancing, reading, quiet time in the garden, and 5 minutes (yes, 5 whole minutes!) in a cafe by myself after my husband took our toddler off for a walk around the shops. And I even got to finish my cup of tea!
Hardest part? Well, you’ve been keeping up with me for 12 weeks now, so if I didn’t say something related to tiredness or childcare then you wouldn’t believe me!
Week 12 overall? As the weeks have gone on, I’ve realised just how much I (and you) can get from this course, and in many ways this week’s reading highlighted the important bits: mulling on the page (Morning Pages); doing a mixture of creative hobbies as a form on enjoyment, inspiration, and time for yourself (Artist Dates); and, understanding and accepting that creativity isn’t about money or a “grown-up” career – it’s something we do because, as humans, we have to. Whether you write, paint, make pottery, or dance when no one’s looking, you’re creative.
The most important lesson which I’m taking away from this course is the importance of treating myself as a valuable object. When I look after myself and make time to be alone (whether it’s for hobbies, relaxation, or just quiet time), then my creative self will feel nurtured and ready to create to the best of my abilities.
If it’s not fun, then it’s not worth it.
A Final Note
I reach the end of this course with a mixture of excitement and sadness. I will genuinely miss the weekly readings and tasks, but I know I will come back to the book again in the future. Perhaps it will be my annual summer task, to begin again and reinforce the principles of self-worth and enjoyment.
I finish on a high knowing that – in one week’s time – I will have submitted my MLitt portfolio, which is my final and biggest piece of work on this course. The Artist’s Way has been an invaluable read in these last few months, not least because it has given me a different focus and change of pace at a time when I could quite easily have spent every waking second staring at a laptop trying to edit. It’s given me a reason to sit in the garden and read, a reason to pick up a pen and notepad again, a reason to buy jelly and ice cream!
I believe my creativity has been positively affected by completing this course, the most notable being that I have stumbled across many good ideas and moments of inspiration during my Morning Pages and Artist Dates, that I may or may not have reached otherwise.
Finally, thank you for reading my posts over the last 12 weeks. I hope you’ve enjoyed keeping up with my progress, and that you’ll continue to follow my blog as I go forward into my writing career. If you’ve been inspired by my blogs and would like to complete Julia Cameron’s course, the book which I’ve been reading and quoting from, The Artist’s Way (London: Pan Books, 1995), can be found on Amazon’s website and other book retailers. If you do follow the course, please let me know how you get on! You can post here or find me on Facebook (Kerrie McKinnel – Author).
Until next summer … !