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The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity By Julai Cameron Book summary

'Fascinating . . . I really love this . . . Three times in the last decade I've committed to doing The Artist's Way's program, and each time I've learned something important and surprising about myself and my work . . . Without The Artist's Way, there would have been no Eat, Pray, Love.' - Elizabeth Gilbert The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. The Artist's Way will demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. From Alicia Keys to Elizabeth Gilbert, Patricia Cornwell to Pete Townshend and Russell Brand, The Artist's Way has helped thousands of people around the world to discover their inner artist. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the tools you need to enable you to fulfil your dreams.

Review

A fascinating (and fun) 12 week-long program of exercises and explorations to help you loosen up your artistic self . . . I really love this thing . . . Three times in the last decade I've committed to doing The Artist's Way's program, and each time I've learned something important and surprising about myself and my work . . . Without The Artist's Way, there would have been no Eat, Pray, Love. -- Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a book that addresses a delicate and complex subject. For those who will use it, it is a valuable tool to get in touch with their own creativity. -- Martin Scorsese

A practical, spiritual, nurturing book . . . I feel this is a special book and I wish I'd found it sooner . . . A bestselling timeless classic -- Russell Brand

The Artist's Way is not exclusively about writing; it is about discovering and developing the artist within, whether a painter, poet, screenwriter, or musician but it is a lot about writing. If you have always wanted to pursue a creative dream, have always wanted to play and create with words or paints, this book will gently get you started. -- Annie Lamott

I absolutely love this book . . . It’s a really good starting point to discover what lights you up. It could be anything. It could be gardening; it could be ice skating; it could be writing poems. -- Emma Gannon, author of Sunday Times bestseller The Multi-Hyphen Method and Ctrl Alt Delete

From the Back Cover

Have you ever longed to be able to draw or paint, write or compose music? The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self-confidence and productivity. This much-loved classic guide, now with a new foreword from the author, will demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. From Alicia Keys to Elizabeth Gilbert, Patricia Cornwell to Pete Townshend and Russell Brand, The Artist's Way has helped thousands of people around the world to discover their inner artist. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the tools you need to enable you to fulfil your dreams. 'I love it. A practical, spiritual, nurturing book' Russell Brand

About the Author

Julia Cameron is an active artist who teaches internationally. A poet, playwright, fiction writer and essayist, she has extensive credits in film, television and theatre, and is an award-winning journalist. Her groundbreaking books on creativity have become international bestsellers.


INTRODUCTION

WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME what I do, I usually answer, “I’m a writer-director and I teach these creativity workshops.”

The last one interests them.

“How can you teach creativity?” they want to know.Defiance fights with curiosity on their faces.

“I can’t,” I tell them. “I teach people to let themselves be creative.”

“Oh. You mean we’re all creative?” Now disbelief and hope battle it out.

“Yes.”

“You really believe that?”

“Yes.”“

"So what do you do?”

This book is what I do. For a decade now, I have taught as spiritual workshop aimed at freeing people’s creativity. I have taught artists and nonartists, painters and filmmakers and homemakers and lawyers—anyone interested in living more creatively through practicing an art; even more broadly anyone interested in practicing the art of creative living. While using, teaching, and sharing tools I have found, devised, divined, and been handed, I have seen blocks dissolved and lives transformed by the simple process of engaging the Great Creator in discovering and recovering our creative powers.

What to Expect

Many of us wish we were more creative. Many of us sense we are more creative, but unable to effectively tap that creativity. Our dreams elude us. Our lives feel somehow flat. Often, we have great ideas, wonderful dreams, but are unable to actualize them for ourselves. Sometimes we havespecific creative longings we would love to be able to fulfill—learning to play the piano, painting, taking an acting class, or writing. Sometimes our goal is more diffuse. We hunger for what might be called creative living—an expanded sense of creativity in our business lives, in sharing with our children, our spouse, our friends.

THE MORNING PAGES

In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the morning pages. You will do the pages daily through all the weeks of the course and, I hope, much longer. I have been doing them for a decade now. I have students who have worked with them nearly that long and who would no more abandon them than breathing.

CREATIVITY CONTRACT

When I am teaching the Artist’s Way, I require students to make a contract with themselves, committing to the work of the course. Can you give yourself that gift? Say yes by means of some small ceremony. Buy a nice notebook for your pages; hire your babysitter ahead of time for the weekly artist dates. Read the contract on the preceding page.Amend it, if you like; then sign and date it. Come back to it when you need encouragement to go on.

DETECTIVE WORK, AN EXERCISE

Many blocked people are actually very powerful and creative personalities who have been made to feel guilty about their own strengths and gifts. Without being acknowledged, they are often used as batteries by their families and friends, who feel free to both use their creative energies and disparage them. When these blocked artists strive to break free of their dysfunctional systems, they are often urged to be sensible when such advice is not appropriate for them. Made to feel guilty for their talents, they often hide their own light under a bushel for fear of hurting others. Instead, they hurt themselves.

1. My favorite childhood toy was ...

2. My favorite childhood game was ...

3. The best movie I ever saw as a kid was ...

4. I don’t do it much but I enjoy ...

5. If I could lighten up a little, I’d let myself ...

6. If it weren’t too late, I’d ...

7. My favorite musical instrument is ...

8. The amount of money I spend on treating myself to entertainment each month is ...

9. If I weren’t so stingy with my artist, I’d buy him/ her...

10. Taking time out for myself is ...

11. I am afraid that if I start dreaming ...

SUCCESS

Creativity is a spiritual practice. It is not something that can be perfected, finished, and set aside. It is my experience that we reach plateaus of creative attainment only to have a certain restlessness set in. Yes, we are successful. Yes, we have made it, but ...In other words, just when we get there, there disappears.Dissatisfied with our accomplishments, however lofty, we are once again confronted with our creative self and its hungers. The questions we have just laid to rest now rear their heads again: what are we going to do ... now?

SURVIVAL

ONE OF THE MOST difficult tasks an artist must face is a primal one: artistic survival. All artists must learn the art of surviving loss: loss of hope, loss of face, loss of money, loss of self-belief. In addition to our many gains, we inevitably suffer these losses in an artistic career. They are the hazards of the road and, in many ways, its signposts. Artistic losses can be turned into artistic gains and strengths—but not in the isolation of the beleaguered artist’s brain.As mental-health experts are quick to point out, in order to move through loss and beyond it, we must acknowledge it and share it. Because artistic losses are seldom openly acknowledged or mourned, they become artistic scar tissue that blocks artistic growth. Deemed too painful, too silly, too humiliating to share and so to heal, they become, instead, secret losses.

THE IVORY POWER

It has been my perilous privilege over the past decade to undertaketeaching forays into the groves of academia. It is my experience as a visiting artist that many academics are themselves artistic beings who are deeply frustrated by their inability to create. Skilled in intellectual discourse, distanced by that intellectual skill from their own creative urgings,they often find the creativity of their charges deeply disturbing. Creativity cannot be comfortably quantified in intellectual terms. By its very nature, creativity eschews such containment. In a university where the intellectual life is built upon the art of criticizing—on deconstructing a creative work—the art of creation itself, the art of creative construction, meets with scanty support, understanding, ora approval To be blunt, most academics know how to take Something apart, but not how to assemble it.

AGE AND TIME: PRODUCT AND PROCESS

QUESTION: Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I learn to play the piano?

ANSWER: The same age you will be if you don’t.

“I’m too old for that” ranks with “I don’t have money for

it” as a Great Block Lie we use to prevent furthere exploration “I’m too old” is something we tell ourselves to save ourselves from the emotional cost of the ego deflation involved in being a beginner.

ENTHUSIASM

“It must take so much discipline to be an artist,” we are often told by well-meaning people who are not artists but wish they were. What a temptation. What a seduction.They’re inviting us to preen before an admiring audience, to act out the image that is so heroic and Spartan—and false.As artists, grounding our self-image in military discipline is dangerous. In the short run, discipline may work, but it will work only for a while. By its very nature, discipline is rooted in self-admiration. (Think of discipline as a battery, useful but short-lived.) We admire ourselves for being so wonderful. The discipline itself, not the creative outflow, becomes the point.

SPECIAL INTEREST

These Books Are Intended as Special Help on Issues that Frequently Block Creativity.Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Care and maintenance of a sane and sober lifestyle for alcoholic and nonalcoholic alike. Inspirational guide. Alcoholics Anonymous. Came to Believe. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1973. Useful and touching book about embryonic faith. The Augustine Fellowship. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Boston: The Augustine Fellowship, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Fellowship-Wide Services, 1986. One of the best books on addiction. The chapters on withdrawal and building partnership should be required reading.

Review From Good Reads

Annie rated (5/5). Another book that has changed my life! (See also: I have started this book many times and not finished my 12-week (or more) commitment, but this time, when I got to the point where I wanted to give up, I kept on going, and let me tell you where I am now, as a result of this:


I pitched my memoir to agents in February.
I am taking acting lessons.
I have started wearing clothes I like every single day!
I am planting a garden.
I have taken up knitting.
I am taking ballet classes.
I am treating myself to massages, manicures, and trips.
I write every single day.
I have started working on my memoir again after a long withdrawal period, post-graduation.
I am having more fun and playing!
I am discovering myself.

If you are interested in doing this, please feel free to contact me. I am going through the book again, and I would love to work it with other people!"

Gayle Pitman rated  (5/5).

"I was introduced to The Artist's Way back in 2005 when I took a college class on creativity. If I hadn't signed up for that class, I'm sure I would have never picked up this book. I expected The Artist's Way to be full of fluffy, New-Agey platitudes, and I approached it with cynicism and skepticism. However, I kept an open mind. I read each chapter thoroughly. I did the morning pages every day and an artist's date once a week. I did a handful of the exercises at the end of each chapter. And my life changed.

The morning pages resulted in an award-winning nonfiction book, a series of children's picture book manuscripts, and the willingness to embark upon another, more challenging nonfiction book writing project. The artist's dates renewed my childlike love for the fiber arts, and I began creating beautiful handwork projects. I learned to surf. I joined a writing group. Most importantly, even more important than the concrete examples of creativity that have resulted, I was given a set of tools for life - tools that enable me to challenge that critical voice in my head, and to trust my instincts.

I can't say enough about this book. It came into my life during a difficult time, and it has dovetailed beautifully with recovery in other areas in my life"


Have a good time readers. 


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