Way back 6 years ago, approximately 5 months into starting College, one of my lovely teachers recommended The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron to my class. This made sense, because I attended a performing arts college comprised entirely of artists. What I didn’t know, however, was how much of an impact this book would continue to have on my life many years later.
I bought The Artist’s Way, and began reading it, not expecting any revelations. I knew that it was supposed to help you understand yourself as an artist, in hopes of unblocking any creativity you may be stifling. At the time, I wasn’t really struggling with creativity. Then, as the years went by, new challenges arose. I found myself turning to this book time and time again.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has given me guidance, courage and most of all, it has taught me how to fully understand the artist side of myself. It has made me realize that the emotions and struggles I face as an artist are valid and normal.
One of the things I like most about this book, are the questionnaires and actionable tasks that you can work through in order to gain clarity. I learned so much about how I personally feel about my career, and my relationships with my friends, family and money.
The Artist’s Way also helps you acknowledge what exactly might be blocking your creativity or causing procrastination.
For me specifically, I would have originally thought I didn’t have anything major holding me back. After reading this book, I see that beginning multiple projects and having too much on my plate is a coping mechanism. It means that I don’t have to put my whole heart into something and potentially fail at it. Being a workaholic isn’t helpful if you are spreading yourself so thin that you ultimately don’t get very far in anything. I am now paying more attention to how I am spending my time, rather than just being a busy-body to convince myself that I am progressing.
In addition to learning what you might need to work on, it also encourages artists to persevere through our challenges. Cameron fills the book with inspirational examples and motivational quotes from some of the most successful artists of all time. She reassures every creative that when we pursue our passion, we are living the way we are meant to.
The overall feeling of the book is definitely positive and uplifting.
My favourite part of The Artist’s Way was when she explains that having faith helps, but it is not enough. You must also put the work in. She says:
Pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can. – Pg 33 The Artist’s Way.
Another concept I learned from this book is the importance of prioritizing time with the artist side of yourself. Julia Cameron calls this “taking your artist on a date”. It essentially means going for a walk, or a coffee shop and allowing your mind to go to be creative. Often times, we don’t allow ourselves to spend time with our artist self because of excuses such as feeling it is unproductive, or that other people don’t approve of it.
Ultimately, I learned that it’s impossible to deny my creativity, and it will find a way back into my life. Being an artist is what I am meant to do. If I nurture that part of me, beautiful things might happen.
One disclaimer about The Artist’s Way that I should mention is that it does refer a lot to Spirituality. This aspect of the book didn’t bother me, as her school of thought resonated with me. I understand it may not be for everyone so I did want to note that in this review.
All in all, I do recommend this book if you consider yourself an artist of some kind. It will definitely reveal information about you that you weren’t aware of and ultimately make you a better creative. It reads as a 12 week program, but I didn’t follow her timeline, I just read it normally.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron can be found on Amazon if you’re interested, I will leave the link below. If you do purchase from this link, I’m an Amazon Affiliate and may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
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