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Is it Time for the 'The Artist's Way'? - 3 Reasons it's Time, 3 Reasons it's Not

The Artist Way. Yep, I finally did it. Have you??

I never heard about this until only a few months ago. None of y’all told me about this!?

I love how when I mention it, people instantly have this knowing nod… and then I either hear “Oh, I did that years ago!” or “Oooooooh, I still have that book on my shelf, maybe I need to pull it out and finally read it.”

Well, my friends, let’s see if it’s time for this creative journey for the first time, a second time, or maybe leave it alone! Here are three reasons why and three reasons why not to do The Artist Way.

If you have no idea what this whole 'The Artist Way' thing is, stick around, this section is written for you!

If you already know about it… skip until you see an open book on a sunny day.

A quick intro: 

The Artist Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self by Julie Cameron is a book and 12-week exploration in building a creative spark to ignite a creative practice. Cameron has dedicated her life to her own creative endeavors and finding ways to support creative after creative to find their voice and commitment to make their dreams a reality. In her own words 

“No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity.” 

On the inside cover of the book is also says “... a life-changing book.” It sounds dramatic, I may have drank the Kool-Aid here, but in my experience, this statement is true. (

The specifics …

  • 12 chapters and 12 weeks of guided, self-lead coursework

  • Every week includes (if done the traditional way, this is not the only way!)

    • A chapter of reading (10-15 pages of fast reading)

    • Activities to try are outlined in each chapter (activities range from 5 min-hours depending on your interest)

    • Weekly artist date (You'll have to read the book for this one)

    • Daily morning pages/journal and free writing

  • This challenge and course is designed for everyone, whether an artist or not!

I’m going to be honest. I did this challenge at an opportune time for me. I was craving change and was at a zero for feeling creative. I had nothing to lose. Because of my experience, I’m going to share my bias up front, I do recommend this book. I have already returned to this book and resource since finisheing the 12 week course and I know I will be doing this process again in my lifetime. For me, this was a game-changer and I’m so grateful for the time and energy I invested in it, I got tenfold in return.

With that, Enough about me! 

What about you?! Is this your moment for The Artist Way? Let’s find out!

Three Reasons to:

  1. Are ya ready for a wealth of resources and tools??  This book is PACKED with twelve entire weeks of content, activities, and exercises to support you. It really is a “choose your own adventure” resource. No two people will have the exact same activities, makes, or outcomes. Every single person will have a unique experience, the only way to know yours is to do it. (Or do it again! The second time WILL be different than the first). Each chaper includes the focus or theme of the week followed by an outline of potential activities to choose from. Some of the activities can be done swiftly, within 5 minutes of finishing the chapter, others take more time. The great thing is, between the thought challenging writing and exercises to choose from in each chapter, there is a plethora of options that really give you the power to choose what feels intriguing and perfect for you! 

  2. Are you everyone???  Because this is for EVERYONE. Julia Cameron is clear upfront. This book is written for everyone, because everyone is a creative in their own way. All people are creatives AND no matter your income, amount of time, or relationship with the arts world, this challenge is open to you, as long as you are dedicated, curious and ready to invest in you. I appreciate how Julia truly sees the richness in each person exploring their creative life. She is a constant cheerleader throughout this process pushing forward and calling you forward to be the epic creative that you already are. It’s encouraging and this encouragement is open for anyone willing to receive it.

  3. How open are you to shifts and changes, and maybe in a big way??  Honestly, if you are answering ‘YES!!!!’ to this question, stop reading and click the link already to get your book and start!! You are already ready, just go!! USE THIS IS YOUR SIGN!!!! If you’re wavering or still discerning, this process is full of reflective and challenging exercises. Be ready to be pushed, experience discomfort, and know that this growth is being curated to challenge parts of you that don’t serve you anymore, or that deserve some extra love. This book felt like it wanted every reader to feel empowered, emboldened, and ready to do anything. It holds space for vulnerability and bucketloads of gumption. If you are ready for that kind of energy, let’s go! 

Three Reasons Not to: 

  1. Is consistency and dedication possible with your time right now?  Yes, you can do this book at your own pace and speed. You can pick up the book any day, thumb to a random page, and find an activity for that afternoon. While this book can be helpful for a little entertainment and one-off activities, this book rewards those willing to be dedicated and consistent in whatever way that looks for you. I did the traditional timeline outlined in the book. This consisted of reading the weekly chapter, choosing a few activities listed, doing an artist's date (between 30 min to 4 hours), and then doing daily morning pages (15 min). This challenge could easily be edited, some examples? 

    1. One week’s activities could be done in a month. Turn the weekly to-do list into a monthly to-do list. You’re busy, I get it, if this edit makes it possible for you to do this, great!

    2. Only choose two out of the four formats to use through the whole challenge. So, choosing morning pages and reading the chapters OR artist dates and choosing 2-4 of the weekly activities to do weekly. Honestly, even if you just choose one of these formats, like the artist date over X amount of weeks, or just trying morning pages and reading the weekly chapters, that will still support you and facilitate growth.

I think the core questions are: What time can you dedicate to this? And how can you make it consistent? As long as you are committed then go for it! If now is a difficult time to commit, have consistency, and one additional thing on the to-do list, even if it is to support you, adds stress?Then now is not the time, and that’s OKAY!

  1. How do you feel about religion??? And some outdated "isms"? There are some worldviews that might not align with your worldviews in this work, primarily religion. Specifically, if a Christian-centered or Westernized take on religion isn’t a natural fit or grounding space for you, it may not be as easy to ignore and experience the process in an affirming way. If you are ok with skipping a few parts and editing out, great! Do it! The author says that her approach leans more Christian and to insert whatever religious or spiritual beliefs of your own whenever she references 'God'. Later on in the book her Christian perspectives become heavier and harder to edit out and be open to other interpretations. For some, this can easily be a turn-off and not worth engaging. For others skipping a sentence, paragraph, or page or two is fine. There are also some dominant culture "isms" in some of the activities, from classism, racism, and ableism. For anyone that navigates the world and regularly experiences the harm of these "isms" these few comments, while brief, can have an annoying and discouraging outcome. Trust what you think is best. Not in the mood for editing out unconscious bias? Yeah, let’s not do this now. If you have editing powers and are willing to use them to try it out… let’s give it a go and go from there. On a personal note, if I would have read a review with this persoective while deciding to do 'The Artist Way' I may have decided not to do it or whould have been a little more sceptical starting it. It's important to name that resources like this should not be thrown out or cancled because of singular narratives or potentially harmful perspectives, but can allow for more awareness of how present harmful 'isms' can be even when they may feel invisble or not the intent of the author.

  1. Be honest, are you genuinely open to change and being pushed right now? Several times the author pushes and encourages you to do the thing you roll your eyes at or dismiss as being absurd, stupid or something you know won't serve you. And the author isn't just pushing you for fun, there may genuinely be something in trying the activities you want to dimiss. Those activities may be exactly what you need to try on and see what new perspectives pop up. Also, this work can be a little personal, and by a little, I mean you may be diving head-first into some uncomfortable part of who you are. Stuff will come up, especially in the morning pages. If you’re not ready for things to bubble up and maybe face some part of yourself you’ve been trying to ignore or sidestep, this isn’t that process. Be honest, what do YOU need right now? We have seasons in our life where we are ready for new starts, and inspiration, and are craving big change… AND there are times in our life when we need to sit still, be present, and let certainty bring us comfort. This book is for the former. If you need things to stay the same and stabilty is a need at the moment, respect that… and when you are ready and open to change, THAT will be the time to ponder 'The Artist Way'.

So, What do you think?! Is it time? Are you ready to dive into your first go of 'The Artist Way'? Is it time to do it again? Is now the time to wait? And maybe come back when it feels like the time?

I'm curous what you're thinking... What are you thinking?


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