The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has lived on my shelf for a while now, and I’ve promised myself for some time that I’d get to it. It’s kind of like a workbook with a program to follow, made up of 12 chapters for 12 weeks. Cameron must be doing something really right, because 2016 was the book’s 25 year anniversary, and it is still selling strong. And Goodreads calls it “the seminal work” on creativity.
The two keystones of the program are the Pages and the Date. Cameron’s original vision for morning pages was three pages hand-written, first thing in the morning. You can write anything, with no structure and no limits—you writing one morning could be complaining about a coworker, the next morning it could be your grocery list, the next an idea that just popped into your head. It isn’t mean to be Your Art, just a way to clear your mind. 750 Words stretches the definition a little, calling them daily pages, and that works better for me since I run in the morning and write in the evening. (If more than one of your habits recommends itself as your “first thing,” well, you can’t exactly have everything tie for first.) I do enjoy hand-writing, but I love the organization of doing everything on the computer. (Maybe it’s a generational thing.)
The other major component of the program is your Artist’s Date, which you do SOLO, just you and your inner artist. It can be an adventurous drive or a quiet walk, a visit to a store or a park or a museum; it can be anything you want that sparks your soul, but no one else is allowed to accompany. Of course, simple as it is, people (read: I) still have trouble. There are weekly writing exercises to help you stretch your wings and there are weekly Check-Ins to gauge and monitor where you’re at with it. The Check-In questions go something like this: 1. How many days this week did you do your pages? 2. Did you do your artist date? 3. Good stuff? 4. Bad stuff?
Here’s a quick run-down of how I’ve done with the first half of the book.
|Date Range||Week||Notes||Run||3 pts||750||Write||Date|
|Monday Jan 29 – Sunday Feb 4||Week 0||Gave myself a freebie week to ease into it||5 of 7||x||x||4 of 7||(n/a)|
|Monday Feb 5 – Sunday Feb 11||Week 1||got sick||2 of 7||x||x||2 of 7||Yes|
|Monday Feb 12 – Sunday Feb 18||Week 2||got new running shoes, started using 750 Words||5 of 7||x||7 of 7||7 of 7||No|
|Monday Feb 19 – Sunday Feb 25||Week 3||emotional writing||4 of 7||x||7 of 7||7 of 7||No|
|Monday Feb 26 – Sunday Mar 4||Week 4||Mar 1 started Blue & You Fitness Challenge||6 of 7||4 of 4||7 of 7||7 of 7||Yes|
|Monday Mar 5 – Sunday Mar 11||Week 5||I had a birthday!||6 of 7||7 of 7||6 of 7||7 of 7||Yes|
|Monday Mar 12 – Sunday Mar 18||Week 6||broke my writing streak bc I stayed out too late w friends||5 of 7||7 of 7||5 of 7||6 of 7||Yes|
|Monday Mar 19 – Sunday Mar 25||Week 0||fell off the habit, got discouraged, started up again||5 of 7||7 of 7||6 of 7||6 of 7||(n/a)|