Thursday, September 9, 2010
The Artist’s Way
Another book that every aspiring and published writer should have on their shelf is "The Artist's Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity", by Julia Cameron. Julia gently but firmly walks you through the trials, tribulation and elation of being a writer. There is no tip-toeing around the inner struggle every artist faces, Julia dives right in with the first chapter "Recovering a Sense of Safety" where she gently guides you through the negative voices in your head and teaches you to find your ally within.
This is a book that you have to dedicate 12 weeks to. Each week starts with a new phase of recovery (Identity, Safety, Possibility etc.) and she works you through the specific exercises and tasks for the week. Most important Julia has you write three pages every morning. Three pages that are whatever you want to write, three pages that no one will read and you won't go back and read. I admit that I found this hard at first, and I still have a little difficulty following this practice – but the time spent is well worth the rewards. Julia cautions several times, not to go back and read your morning pages.
Here are a few items that Julia has in her lessons that I highlighted as meaningful to me:
"Leap and the net will appear"
"Remember that your Censor's negative opinions are not the truth"
"Logic brain is our Censor…let artist brain play"
"Your enemy within: Core Negative Beliefs"
"We often choose to ignore the dream and blame our continued misery on God"
I realized that in looking back at the comments I highlighted I had been going through an inner struggle. Do I become selfish and dedicate myself to my dream? Do I put aside my job, my family, and my pets to write? I have come so far since those first few days – I now work part time, I pet sit and dog walk for extra money, I have a nook in my room that my family knows is my "DO NOT DISTURB" area. My family pitches in and helps with cooking, cleaning (as they should have been doing anyway). I would say that I am a much happier person!
If you are suffering from self-doubt, writers block, want to understand what makes a writer/artist tick or you just want to become a better writer you really need to pick up a copy of this book. Dedicate twelve weeks to positive thoughts and dreams, you'll be amazed!