on November 2, 2006
I read and began working my way through this book a few years ago. Before I go on, let me first say I am somewhat of a skeptic. I think we all are to some degree though or we wouldn't need things like brand names to reassure us in our everyday lives.
It was no coincidence that my creativity began to transform like a tidal wave at the time I was working through this book. In fact, I had been supressing it so much through daily distractions that it was too much for me to handle at the time. My creativity has since reached a nice medium and I finally feel ready to bring this book back into the process.
I decided to read the other reviews for fun. I am not at all suprised that their is a lot of cynicism. Everything has an equal opposite, that is a fundamental law of nature. People are entitled to their opinions and there is no specific thing in this world that appeals to everyone.
I just find it ironic that one of the biggest stabs at this book is "well I shouldn't have to do exercises to be creative, I should be spending my time being creative instead." That point has some validity to it, but if that was the case than why did they turn to a book about creativity in the first place. Even the greatest artists cannot be inspired all the time and lose their path through life from time to time. On top of that, if you compare the art and architecture of the Roman times and music of the past to today, you can see a pattern of things becoming more and more formulated. We need inspiration at this point in evolution.
The other thing is people say 'where are the authors creditials? What else has she done?' If you took piano lessons from a recommended teacher, would you base their teaching skills on whether they have taught anyone famous before? That is why we have teachers.
It all comes down to one thing. This book will bring out your inner self if used properly and if you are cynical and negative, you will probably return here to make a point of it. If you are open and creative you may very well begin to channel that energy the way you need to.
on May 24, 2002
I purchased this book about 3 years ago. I have read it continously the past 3 years. I have given it as gifts to numerous friends and family. I am not a professional artist by any means...I sell electronic components/widgets. For years I knew I wanted to get in touch with my "creative" side, but couldn't find the how to's or make the "time"..sorry excuses. Well, this book came into my life and I started following Ms. Cameron's exercises...A whole new world opened up for me. I started noticing simple things, like birds! Flowers blooming, sunlight reflecting on the pond down the street from where I live. And I followed her MUST DO instructions of keeping a Morning Journal. One must write LONG HAND 3 pages of stream of consciousness ramblings. You can write anything..it isn't an exercise in creative writing. It is a ritual of clearing your self out so you can allow NEW stuff to enter into your creative soul.
I recommend this book very highly to EVERYONE!
Artist, salesperson, auto mechanic, mother, teenager..everyone can benefit from this easy and enjoyable book to read.
on March 4, 2006
I really enjoyed this book, I have it for years, and I keep going back to it. If there is a time when I am too distracted with my life, and I feel that I am no longer in touch with my inner self, I start to read this book again, and do some of the exercises, and it truly helps. I think when one becomes very overloaded with work and family affairs, it is natural that one can become less creative. Reading this book and doing the exercises recommended, I found that I felt more concentrated in my work, and better all round. It is definatly a book that I recommend to anyone that could use some help in living for themselves as well as for everyone else.
on September 14, 2003
Believe it or not, there is an artist in every person. Not necessarily to become a best seller or an Oscar winner. To discover the artist embedded in each of us, this book is a more must. I am not paid to write this piece. In this confusing world, there is the need to anchor ourselves to what we really want and need. The book has a way of bringing to the fore issues that we prefer to sweep under the carpet of poltical correctness, thereby enslaving our lives, and releasing us from our self induced incarceration.
It volunteers a holistic approach to charting a new course in life. It is never too late to make amends.
on December 18, 2002
I bought this book maybe 11 years ago. I'm drawn to books of this nature and I like journaling and introspection. But I don't think I've ever had the results I got from following this program.
In a nutshell, she asks that you write 3 pages longhand every morning, and take yourself out for something special once every week (artist dates). There are also weekly writing exercises and projects to do: "List 5 things you are not allowed to do. Now, do those things on paper: act it out, paint it, collage it, dance it", or, "If you had 5 other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?", or, "List 5 favorite foods from your childhood. Buy yourself one of them this week".
It's a lot to keep track of, (especially the morning pages when you hate waking up in the mornings). But, it really did something. The combination of all these things made a difference in my life. At the time I did this program, I was completely lost. I had just moved to Bryce Canyon, Utah to get away from everybody I knew and to "find myself" (blech--hate that expression). I was all alone, working in the lodge, hiking, and reading. Then, I started playing piano again, which I hadn't tinkered with in years. There was a rec room in the employee dorms where I practiced. Then, someone heard me and asked if I wanted to play in the dining room, for tips. I did! When I got back to Vegas, I started taking lessons again. Then, I started teaching piano myself. I also began trying out for plays in community theater, something I hadn't done since elementary school. I ended up going back to school and getting a teaching license. I'm now a first grade teacher for the school district, and I love my job. I also perform sketch comedy and improv comedy, and I still play piano.
I can't attest that each and every one of these things is directly due to the Artist's Way program, but being in Utah following those steps sure felt like a turning point for me. I actually wrote Julia Cameron a thank-you letter. Now, there are newsgroups and bulleting boards on the internet where you can do the program with other people and talk to them about your progress. I'm a loner so that approach wouldn't work for me, but I think it's good for certain people.
Anyway, I highly recommend this book, if you think you can make the commitment to follow her suggestions.
on August 11, 2002
Julia Cameron's book was so inspiring and encouraging. This book is for anyone who wants to recover their creativity. I learned that everyone's creative. She changed my beliefs of what's possible for me as an artist. She made a connection between spirituality and creativity which I had never previously considered. She helped to keep me from becoming a bocked writer with her artist's dates and with filling the well. Though it may seem silly the artist date is like a play date for yourself and Julia Cameron explains that as you take images out of your "well" you must keep "filling the well" with new images or the well will dry up. If the well dries up you can become a blocked artist. The artist recovery course is a total of twelve weeks. She shows the reader how to deal with rejection and disappointment. She has a few quotes on the suject such as one quoted by Blake Edwards, "...he concluded that creativity, not time, would best heal his creative wounds." She also offered a great piece of advice. When struck by loss or rejection as an artist instead of saying why me or what's the point, ask "what next?" The rough translation is,and I quote, "Don't let the bastards get you down." One of my favorite things about the book is that throughout the entire book she has inspiring and encouraging quotes on the sidelines of the pages. I loved reading them all. There's too much information to sum up the book up well in a review. You have to read the book, but one of my favorite questions she had was this one:
Question: "Do you know how old I'll be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?"
Answer: "...the same age you will be if you don't."
on September 26, 2003
I felt like I hit the jackpot when I found this book. I signed up for a 12-week course based on The Artist's Way, and got a lot more than I'd bargained for. Julia Cameron is a muse for this generation. In this astonishingly honest, insightful book she inspires the reader to step outside one's self-imposed box and literally reach for the stars. This is a life affirming book that generously provides a step-by-step method of "..harnassing universality and making it flow through your eyes." Forget chicken soup, this is creme brulee for the soul.
No matter what your occupation or avocation, you can benefit from The Artist's Way.
on April 22, 2002
This is not an unabridged reading of the Artist's Way Book. It is an author read abridgement and Julia Cameron herself opens the audiobook discussing the abridgement process she and her friends went through to boil the book down for this audiobook.
The material covered here is good and insightful, and that's why it still merits three stars. It's worth listening to, but you deserve to know what you're getting.
on April 1, 2011
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is a classic. The author describes its essence when she says: "In 1978 I began teaching artists how to "unblock" and "get back on their feet" after a creative injury. I shared with them the tools I had learned through my own creative practice. I kept it all as easy and gentle as I could." I love the way she describes being inspired to begin teaching the Artist's Way because I believe it describes how each of us receives the gift of "inspiration". She says: "Like all artists - like all of us if we listen - I experience inspiration. I was "called" to teach and I answered that call somewhat grudgingly."
My favourite exercises from this book are the Morning Pages and the weekly Artist's Date. However, I love the entire 12 week program. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is at a time in their life where they are looking to reenergize themselves from a creative or any other perspective.
The book is full of fabulous quotes. Some of my favourites include:
"The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention." Julia Cameron
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin
"If I allow myself to be bullied and cowed by other people's urges for me to be more normal or more nice, I sell myself out. They may like me better, feel more comfortable with my more conventional appearance or behaviour, but I will hate myself." Julia Camerson
"Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before." Joseph Campbell
"You're either losing your mind - or gaining your soul. Life is meant to be an artist date. That's why we were created." Julia Cameron
on November 22, 2003
Not that already there are not terrific reviews! But for an old guy whose been writing a long time and read most of Stephen King "On Writing", Ann Lamott's "Bird By Bird", Natalie Goldberg "On Writing the Bones", THIS ONE is TOPS! When one of my daughters showed me hers and we compared it with Ann Lamott and Others...I was totally convinced!
These suggested 12 weeks of "Recovering: Identity, Power, Faith, Strength, Integrity, Compassion, Etc. were enough to twist both arms into a Newness of Beginning! When I saw her list of Basic Principles with, "Creativity is the natural order of Life, just as Life is pure energy; As we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the Creator's Creativity within us..."
All of her listing of 10 Basic Principles were clearly pictured by one to four creators on each page, such as Louis Armstrong, Brahms, Einstein, Duke Ellington, Erik Fromm, Paulding, Picasso, Pasteur, Tolstoy and recently Kristin Stendhal! From Musicians to Artists to Psycho-Scientists to Theologians! Wherever one fits in there is still more room for creativity. Only one superb example:
When we answer this 'call' to creativity, "we set in motion the principle that C. G. Jung dubbed 'synchronicity' as he loosely defined is a fortuitous intermeshing of events!" Great wording, right? When I get over into that great Not-Yet-Life, I'm going to check this all out with the Duke, Jung, Tolstoy, Johannes Brahms, et all!
Retired Chaplain Fred W. Hood