I’m guessing that most readers of this blog are probably well-acquainted with Julia Cameron. She’s the author of The Artist’s Way, subtitled A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I don’t think anyone can deny that art is a spiritual experience and that some sort of divinity lies behind our creative process.
I can’t count the number of times The Artist’s Way has been recommended to me by friends. For a long time the book languished on my “must read someday” list. Finally, “someday” got here. I located the book through our inter-library loan program, and after a short wait, I was notified that it was ready to pick up.
Eagerly I hurried off to the library, and as soon as I got home I opened the book and began reading. Before I’d finished the introduction, I’d already found the book on Amazon and ordered it for myself. This book, I realized at once, was one I wanted in my personal library.
Here’s a bit from the marketing blurb:
Since its first publication, The Artist’s Way phenomena has inspired…millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron’s novel approach guides readers in uncovering problem areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery.
My plan is to work slowly through the book and fully enjoy the focus on spirituality as a part of creativity.
I know many of you have already read this book — now available in its 25th anniversary edition. You may also know that a companion workbook is available.
But, did you know that there are two sequels to The Artist’s Way?
In 2003, Walking in This World was released.
In this long-awaited sequel to the international bestseller The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron presents the next step in her course of discovering and recovering the creative self.
Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity picks up where Julia Cameron’s bestselling book on the creative process, The Artist’s Way, left off to present readers with a second course—Part Two in an amazing journey toward discovering our human potential. Full of valuable new strategies and techniques for breaking through difficult creative ground, this is the “intermediate level” of the Artist’s Way program.
It will be a while before I’m ready for the second book, but I’m excited just knowing that it’s out there, waiting for me.
And, there’s more. In 2009, Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance was published as the third book in the series.
It addresses those times when the wells of inspiration seem to have run dry, tackling problems such as:
- Making the decision to begin a new project
- Persevering when a new approach to your art does not bear immediate fruit
- Staying focused when other parts of your life threaten to distract you from your art
- Finding possibilities for artistic inspiration in the most unlikely places
I’m enjoying The Artist’s Way more than I expected to. I think one of the reasons why I’d never read it before was the insistent focus on getting unstuck or breaking through blocks to find our creativity. I’ve never had a problem finding mine. As a creative individual I learned long, long ago that there’s no reason to get stuck. Ideas and inspirations are everywhere around us, and the quickest way around any pitfall is to just keep going.
The areas where I’m weakest involve the technical aspects of visual art, the skills required, and the knowledge needed. These aren’t emotional or spiritual blocks — but my attitudes toward art certainly do cause problems for me. I think The Artist’s Way will help me deal with my self-doubts and those discouraging feelings that come along with them.
But Julia Cameron and her ideas aren’t for everyone. Some readers have said they just can’t connect to her teachings. Creativity is a highly individual quality, and what works for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.
Even so, I think The Artist’s Way series is worth checking out. If you’re hesitant, do as I did and check the book — or books — out through your local library. You’ll have time to browse through the ideas and suggestions, and you’ll be able to discover whether or not her approach to creativity is something that will be useful for you.
So, which of these books have you already read? What were your experiences with them? Which books are you adding to your “want to read” list?