The Artist’s Way and Me (and J)

Julianne and I have been working our way through The Artist’s Way. It’s a book about unlocking your creative self. There are some good and less good parts of the book so far. I won’t review the whole book here, as we are only in week 3 of a 12 week process, but I did want to get some preliminary thoughts down on both the book, and what it has (or has not) done for me so far.

First…..the book is nice and easy to read. It’s written, I’d almost say, conversationally. It definitely is not a sciencey book, but it’s also not over the top like I feel some self-help books are. The first edition of the book came out something like 25 years ago, but it doesn’t seem dated to me at all so far. I’m going to start with my two biggest issues with the book (so far) and then jump into the good stuff.

The biggest issue I have with the book is that it bills itself as spiritual, but is really more Godly than spiritual. As an atheist (or agnostic), it can be a bit too much GOD for me at times. Fortunately, Julianne took the time to re-write the part we are supposed to read every day, and made it much more universal in nature. If you own the book, and want a copy of the new language, contact me and we’ll figure something out.

The next biggest issue I have is that I feel, and I could be reading this wrong, but I feel that the author thinks everyone has the same experience as her and her other readers. Maybe I’m just in a different place, but I don’t feel that I am surrounded by people that are blocking me. I don’t have any enablers or really negative people. I’m not surrounded by anyone that wants to make the world all about themselves, and to keep it chaotic. But, at least so far in the book, I get the feeling that is a big part of what I should be working on.

Those are the two places I have issues, but neither has gotten in the way of me finding the book helpful so far. The book asks you to write three handwritten morning pages first thing every day. This sounds tedious, but I don’t find it so at all. At first the thoughts were random, stream of consciousness about the silliness of the process.

Then they changed to be about some insights I was having about my past and creativity. These insights were helpful in breaking some minor bonds holding me back. Eventually the book also suggests some topics to include in the morning pages, and I have found those to be helpful. Lastly, I have practiced writing fiction in my morning pages. Mostly I’ve tried to write better beginnings to books, things that will catch a reader and want them to read more. I’m confident this will help my fiction writing.

The next big thing you do every week, not every day. Take yourself on an artist’s date. By yourself. Do something artistic, or go to a concert, but mostly do something. The first week I went to the dollar tree store, bought some things I can convert to role playing terrain, and also bought some things I could make into a nice flower arrangement for Julianne’s desk.

Finally, every week you have tasks you need to do. I’ll say that some of them are more valuable than others, at least for me. You aren’t expected to do all the tasks, which is good, because a: I have a terrible memory for the past and b: I don’t have, as I said above, a lot of people in my way.

What I’ve learned is that mostly I have me in my way. Now, part of that is some things from my past, that I need to work through. But mostly it is me, and how intentionally I live my life (or not). Today, for example, I’m writing this blog as an intentional moment, a moment that likely would not have happened only 2 weeks into The Artist’s Way.

I’ll post more on the book, and what I’m learning as I go. But so far, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to be more creative. I think I’d recommend it to anyone wanting a more intentional life in general, but we’ll see about that in the coming weeks.

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