Tuesday 18 June 2013

The Artist's Way


About five years ago I read a book called The Artist's Way:  A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.  A self-published book that went on to become one of the top 100 self-help books of all time, it talks about how to overcome writer's block and how to nurture our creativity.

Ms. Cameron recommends two strategies to achieve this goal:  first, write three pages of stream of consciousness daily, called the "morning pages".  There is no right or wrong way to do morning pages.  This is an attempt to rid the mind of the garbage lingering inside your mind:  frustration, guilt, anger, fear; your to-do list for today.  

Second, set and keep an artist's date with yourself once a week; go somewhere you feel alive to nurture your creativity like a trip to the zoo, art gallery, museum, bookstore; a walk in the woods; plant a garden; go cloud watching.  The artist's date is an attempt to "fire up the imagination".  Julia's book is not just for writers but also for painters, musicians, playwrights and actors.  Here are ten quotes from The Artist's Way.

1.  God is an artist.  So are we.  And we can cooperate with each other. Our creative dreams and longings do come from a divine source, not from the human ego.

2.  Leap and the net will appear.

3.  Serious art is born from serious play.

4.  Creativity -- like human life itself -- begins in darkness.

5.  The perfectionist writes, paints, creates with one eye on her audience.  Instead of enjoying the process, the perfectionist is constantly grading the results.

6.  Fear is what blocks an artist.  The fear of not being good enough.  The fear of not finishing.  The fear of failure and success.  The fear of beginning at all.

7.  A painting is never finished.  It simply stops in interesting places.  A book is never finished, but at a certain point you stop writing and go on to the next thing.  a film is never cut perfectly, but at a certain point you let go and call it done.  That is a normal part of creativity -- letting go.

8.  Creativity flourishes when we have a sense of safety and self-acceptance.  We must learn to place our inner artists with safe companions.  Toxic playmates can capsize our artist's growth.  Not surprisingly, the most poisonous playmates for us as recovering creatives are people whose creativity is still blocked.  Our recovery threatens them.

9.  Creativity occurs in the moment.  And in the moment we are timeless.

10.  The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.

Note:  Here is a link with 101 Artist's Dates:  http://theartistswayblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/101-artists-date-ideas/


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