“The Artist’s Way” is one of these books that had a real positive impact on my life and still does, years after reading it. I was handed this book back in 2011 thanks to my colleague Julie who was stuck in her life but found the will and motivation to create her creative art in Photoshop after reading it.
Back then, we were a bunch of girlfriends, working as graphic designers in a overcrowded open space in the Parisian suburb. We were all definitely in what I like to call a “gray phase”: these never ending winter weeks where your energy is too low, your hair don’t shine and you spend your lunch breaks eating soggy sandwiches, ranting through your scarf about your constant frustrations.
“Here, read this ! this will give you a kick in the butt …”
Julie passed that book to Manu, then Manu passed it on to Alex and Alex passed it on to me…. In a matter of a few weeks, the whole gang had read the book and it really had boosted up our creativity level (and mood). The exercices were simple and fun to do. There are tons of easy tips to apply to your everyday life and help you dig into that mind of yours!
Off we go for a colorful summary!
“The Artist’s Way” is a book that provides a 12 week program to overcome our blockers, bad habits and inhibitions. A program to set our “creative selves” free and keep our “rational selves” lowkey.
Ex-wife of director Martin Scorsese, Julia Cameron has been teaching the Art of Creativity for more than 30 years.
During her creative workshops, she teaches people that it is ok to be creative or in other words, she helps them on how to become creative through different exercices. Give yourself one hour a day for 12 weeks to perform written exercises and games that will help you clarify and organize what you really want out of your creativity.
Needless to say that the author is quite a spiritual character. Throughout the book, you won’t get away from her quirky personality and references to a “Creative God”. Good timing! I just finished the amazing “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and she is talking about the same guy ! well, the same “vibe”/ “energy”… I deeply believe in it and I love listening to/reading people who share the same theory. It brings a little bit of magic in your everyday life and I need that.
For the most down-to-earth among us, Julia Cameron is not asking you to believe in God to perform the exercises described in her book, but to be open minded on the fact that there is a powerful creative process in the Universe and once you let go, the Universe aligns to help you out in your creative quest.
Summary of “The Artist’s Way” in 10 illustrated takeaways
What this book brought me
All through the book, the author points out the importance of the 3 page morning routine. Since 2011, I was more or less diligent with that exercise but for the last past 6 months, I put on paper what goes through my mind every morning while sipping on my coffee. I bought a box with a lock to be sure to keep all my journals within my secret garden. Nobody is allowed to read them. It’s between “Up There” and me.
This is through these morning pages that I learned to know myself, forge my identity and realize what matters or not in my life. This is also through writing that I have nailed down my issues … When I realize I keep ranting about the same issue over and over again, it forces me to ask myself the right questions and step back. Naturally, I put in place concrete actions that lead to a solution and it all realigns itself, just like magic.
Back then, thanks to the morning pages, I realized that I was secretly dreaming of quitting my job, Paris, my comfort zone… to return to live in Montreal, enjoy my twenties, take drum lessons, swing dance, have roommates… I needed to move far away to have my own thing going, cut the cord, keep my distance to prove that I could make it on my own. Just one year and see what happens.
After putting my dream down on paper, I gathered up all necessary documents to renew my Canadian passport, just in case I had the courage to leave. Then, few weeks later, I bumped into a high school friend at Gare de Lyon in Paris:
“Hey Adrien! What are you up to these days?
– I’m a developer! I just moved to Montreal!”
We ended up in a small bar up in Montmartre and it turned into a mystical conversation:
“But Elo, if you are so miserable in Paris and only bad things happen to you, it might be a sign. You’re young, free and you don’t have anything holding you back here ! You can stay at my place as long as you need, come to Montreal.”
I don’t really recall what happened next as it was a bit out of my control, I was on cloud 9: I quit my job, sold all I could and 2 months later, I was sitting on Adrien’s couch in Montreal.
3 weeks later, I found roommates in a the Plateau District and here I was, taking drum lessons to join a Rock Band at my new job so I could make some friends: HR rep at vocals, 2 developers at lead guitar and bass and a project manager at rhythm guitar.
Long story short, I now know how to play Franz Ferdinand on the drums and ended up marrying the project manager. Boom.
5 years later, I was writing my morning pages when I realized that the Montreal winter wasn’t compatible with my vitamin D intake. I was gluing pictures of Santa Monica, Venice and the ocean in my journal to feel better… I wanted us to live under the sun to spend more time outside.
5 months later, Damien got a job offer in California. This stuff is magic !
On the creative front, I was endlessly postponing my idea of a blog as I didn’t know what to focus on: I wanted to talk about so many things, it didn’t make any sense at all.
My mind was all over the place when I started listing what I wanted to do in my morning pages. Little by little, I started sorting things out. Took me a while but now, you are reading this blog.
You understood by now that this book had a real impact in my life. I pamper him like a holy book. Writing, is my meditation, my prayer to the Universe, my quirky secret moment.
I strongly encourage you to write down your daily 3 pages (start on weekdays, doesn’t matter if it’s morning or night time, as long as you keep some time to do it during your day) and allow yourself some me time to think about your creative project(s).
Ideas to “fill up your well”
Here is a sneak peak if what I do to nurture my artistic ecosystem:
- Go to the movies
- Have a coffee on a terrasse while reading a book
- Spend some time in Art materials stores
- Scan through Deco magazines at the Library
- Wander at the Marina
- Dip my feet in the ocean
- Create boards on Pinterest
- Go to museums
- Squat the library
- Ride my electric scooter
To go further on this topic
You might also like:
– The book « Big Magic » by Elizabeth Gilbert
– “Success, failure and the drive to keep creating” Ted talk video by Elizabeth Gilbert
Take care !
🔮 Élodie 🌟