Books: Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”, as reviewed by Victoria Anisman-Reiner

Are you looking for a way to reconnect with your creativity? Do you consider yourself an aspiring writer, painter, or musician, but find yourself blocked on the very work that you most want to be doing? Do you feel like you could be an artist, if only you had more time, more energy, and more clarity? If so, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron could be exactly the tool you need to help you reclaim your creative life.

Spirituality meets psychology in this beautiful and heartfelt guide to creativity. The Artist’s Way won’t teach you to sing, knit, write, or sculpt—but if the inspiration is in you, it will fan the flames higher and help you to identify and dispel the blocks that interfere with your artistic process.

Composed of twelve weeks of thought-provoking exercises and tasks, this book is a rich resource for those who are willing to dive in and devote a bit of time to opening doors and windows in their creative potential. Cameron begins with the premise that creativity is innate to each of us. She goes on from there with an expansive approach to cutting loose limiting beliefs and self-sabotage.

“Many of us wish we were more creative. Many of us sense that we are more creative, but unable to effectively tap that creativity. …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.”
—Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

As someone who always had an interest in writing, even when I wasn’t doing much of it, I knew people who raved about The Artist’s Way as one of those books that “will change your life”. What I didn’t appreciate until I immersed myself in its pages was the revolutionary impact that this book could have on my own writing and my creative process.

I didn’t love doing the daily practice of “morning pages”—three pages of free-form writing done first thing in the morning, while the mind is still waking up and getting ready for the day—but I found the weekly “artist dates” a lot of fun, once I got used to the concept.

Designed to “fill the well” or “stock the pond”, artist dates are meant to be solitary inspiration adventures that feed images and ideas to the creative mind. They’re also a chance to unwind and relax rather than turning the artistic process entirely into serious work. “Spending time alone with your artist child [self] is essential to self-nurturing,” Cameron says, though it’s a creative need that’s easy to overlook.

For many people, the most challenging aspect of The Artist’s Way is sticking with it, and that’s why it’s often done in a group, with weekly meetings to maintain momentum. Personally, I found the forced “reading deprivation” of week 4 the most difficult part of the program, like an intensive cleanse for the mind—but I fully admit that I’m addicted to the written word! Withdrawal from all the clutter that filled my head (thanks to constant online browsing and book reading) wasn’t pretty, but was certainly educational: I’ve never had such mental clarity as I did by the end of that week.

The Artist’s Way presents unique challenges and insights to everyone who does it, offering a variety of approaches to explore your own creative process and blocks. Whether you’re a professional or amateur artist, or you have creative dreams of any kind that have so far gone unfulfilled, The Artist’s Way can help you bring your inner creator into the light and shed the fears that have been holding you back.

Victoria headshotVictoria Anisman-Reiner Victoria Anisman-Reiner is a freelance writer who specializes in copywriting for holistic health professionals. With a background in natural health that began in early childhood, she has trained in Energy Medicine, EFT, dowsing, and is a certified clinical aromatherapist and a certified practitioner of EDxTM energy psychology. Today, Victoria works from her home office in Toronto to help therapists and wellness practitioners communicate the heart and soul of their work and promote their services. Her website is TheNaturalWriter.com.

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