Practicing Creativity with The Artist’s Way

I’m launching down the path of Julia Cameron’s, “The Artist’s Way.” Care to join me in this practice of creativity?

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

When Facebook included a profile question about religion (does it still? was it too inflammatory?), my answer was simultaneously irreverent and deeply venerating. My answer was “alchemy,” a reference to the international best-selling book, The Alchemist, by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho.

The book harmonized familiar Christian philosophies with myth, a hero’s journey and a love story. It opened me to new possibilities in ways I’m still discerning. Most notably, the idea of the personal legend stirred something deep within me. 

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
-Paulo Coelho 

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

To pursue one’s personal legend, the hero of the story (each of us in our own lives/stories) must learn the language of the world, look for omens and signs. I’ve long believed everything happens for a reason and in its due time, but The Alchemist encourages more active observation of the events as they unfold.

When my friend and fellow creative, Erin Kelly, asked me recently if I had read The Artist’s Way, I felt a nudge from the universe. I’ve known about this book for years and had shelved it up high on a someday shelf. I’d never made the leap to reading the book and putting the free-form writing into motion. Until now. I could feel the conspiring of the universe. This was the time to start this path. 

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

The timing for developing this habit could not have been more perfectly orchestrated. Social distancing has given me room to care for myself, has stripped away “normal” obligations and the excuses I could have made. 

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

What is The Artist’s Way?

The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity.” Author and creative, Julia Cameron guides the reader through exercises and affirmations to release the inner critic and let the inner creative emerge. Anyone can be a creative. She deems creation as a channel for the divine (or whatever you choose to call your higher power). 

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

Morning Pages & The Artist’s Date

Cameron’s method suggests two commitments: the morning pages, a daily practice of writing three stream-of-consciousness pages, and the artist’s date, a “once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you.” Both practices begin with a contract. 

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

The power of a contract with myself really struck me. How often do I commit to others? How often do I sign my name to someone’s else’s endeavor yet feel sheepish carving a dedicated time for myself? Signing a contract with myself endowed me with sincerity, seriousness and optimism. I will do this even if it makes me feel slightly uncomfortable at the beginning because I signed a commitment. 

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

After penning my name, I wandered around my home looking at the collections I have honed. I looked for objects of beauty and inspiration, for the tools I use to add ritual to my life, and I offered them up like a sacrament to my creative practice…

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

My favorite flowers picked from the quiet grounds of my alma mater. Aged post cards of favorite places, exchanged between a soldier and his wife, photographed before I was even born. A pen made by a father and a daughter. Rose water and rose nectar. Tea and buttery biscuits. The cork from my cookbook cover and one-year anniversary. A good luck elephant from a trip to India. A “Q” from my collection – the letter I proudly bear as a badge of uniqueness. 

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

At a time when it’s easy to feel bored or turn to distraction, the insight from this quote felt like a mirror held in front of me:

Boredom is just ‘What’s the use?’ in disguise. And ‘What’s the use?’ is fear, and fear means you are secretly in despair. So put your fears on the page. Put anything on the page. Put three pages of it on the page.

-Julia Cameron

Practicing Creativity with The Artist's Way // www.WithTheGrains.com

So I here I go! Contract signed and a new practice in the works. Perhaps this post will be the alchemic nudge you have been needing, and perhaps you’ll join me. Perhaps you’re a morning pages veteran, in which case, what artist dates have you taken? What have you learned? What part of you emerged?

Sincerely,

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. First, I scrolled through and the pictures of the trinkets captivated me. They way they were thoughtfully, intricately placed, I can tell they were special and had significant value. Then, I actually started reading the whole blog piece….I actually went to Amazon and purchased the book. Also, I finally got your cookbook (one day, I’m coming for a signing). I think that it’s going to give me the insight I crave to finish a project that’s been in the works for too long. A project that I’ve been told wasn’t worth it, that I’ve told myself wasn’t worth it either. No MORE!!! I will commit to myself! I owe ME that much!

    Once again, a great read! Thank you for all your inspiring thoughts, captivating photos and way of speaking to us creative folks unknowingly!

    1. Oh I love this so much!! Above all, it really warms my heart to see you committing to yourself, your voice and the project that speaks inside you. Second of all, thank you for buying my book baby. I hope it serves you well, through inspiration and nourishment, and I look forward to signing it one day. Lastly, I’m glad you’ll be on this artistic journey with me! wooohoo! Even though we are separated by distance, the power of collective intention and accountability is so strong. Keep me posted on how the book works through you. Thanks for making these posts living conversations! <3

  2. May I use your beautiful photography and link to your blog? I am preparing materials to lead a free online session of the Artist’s Way and this blog and your photos are so enchanting! If you need more info from be before you decide, I can happily answer questions and send you a link to the online classroom – it’s in a mighty network. However it all unfolds, please know that you made my day today! I aspire to this kind of visual artistry! i also love the Alchemist. 🙂

    1. Hi Stephanie, I’m so glad the post made you day. That makes my day to hear. 🙂
      Perhaps you could tell me a little more information about the platform – you can email me at quelcy@quelcy.com
      Largely, I am happy to share photos as long as they are properly and visibly credited/linked.

      Cheers,

      Quelcy

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