The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, is a good book to read when you are blocked. Julia has been there. She gives you a daily assignment of writing “morning pages”. She gives you weekly tasks to explore the reasons for being blocked. She also asks you to go on an artist’s date with yourself once a week.
I read The Artist’s Way about 10 years ago. I was very excited about doing the assignments. In fact, I wanted to read the whole book in one sitting, but I forced myself to wait and read only one chapter a week.
Since then I have developed the habit of writing in my journal every day. Okay, almost every day. I think it is a great idea to get all your thoughts, concerns, wishes, worries on paper first thing in the morning. It is cathartic. You can get all the stuff that is bothering you off your mind and then go on with your day a little bit lighter. It is funny how sometimes you work out a problem when you write about it, or you see how you are making something out of nothing.
Some days my morning pages move from worrying or complaining to searching for answers. The writing becomes a communication between God, the Greatest Creator of all, and I. On those days I am compelled to write my prayers.
Writing the prayers down helps me to focus on what I really want. It takes me through a lot of soul searching. I write my prayers when something is really bothering me, when I feel like my life is out of control, or when I really need some direction for my creativity.
Sometimes I spend time writing down all the ways I am blessed. That gives my perspective of life a boost.
This past summer I ran across my copy of The Artist’s Way and I decided to read it again. Funny how things come in and out of your life. Synchronicity. Even though I had read the book before, it seemed as if I was reading the information for the first time. I had the same desire to sit down and read the whole book in one sitting. But, I reined myself in and read one chapter a week. I thoroughly enjoyed the book again.
One of the assignments I did 10 years ago was to write a letter of thanks to my mentor, who happened to be my grandmother. I was very close to my grandmother. She got me started painting. Grandma was an artist too. I could go on and on about how my grandmother influenced me as an artist but I won‘t.
So, I did the assignment, wrote her a letter explaining how much her support and encouragement meant to me as a person, as an artist, as her granddaughter. It took me a long time to write the letter. I got emotional. I cried. I wrote and rewrote my feelings.
Finally, I mailed that letter to my grandmother. It meant a lot to her. But, I think it may have meant more to me. It was an incredible feeling expressing my gratitude to my wonderful grandmother.
Grandma died 18 months ago. I am so glad I let her know how I felt about her. I think as artists we really have that need to express ourselves. We need to let our mentors, teachers, supporters, friends, and loved ones how much they mean to us.
I will definitely hang on to my copy of The Artist’s Way. I’m sure it still has a couple of good reads left in it. I plan on continuing my morning pages. The artist date is something I need to work on. I would suggest this book for all artists to read. Thanks Julia Cameron for an inspiring book.