30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A reflection of self
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...
Published on Nov. 2 2006 by Chris
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good, but it is ABRIDGED.
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,...
Published on April 22 2002 by Robert W.
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2.0 out of 5 stars My perspective on "The Artist's Way",
By A Customer
This review is from: The Artist's Way (Paperback)
This is purely my personal perspective on this book. What I ultimately found after working exercises, doing morning pages and the artist's dates suggested in the book was that I found myself in a state of preparation to become an artist.
I know how to do that already, that was part of the problem. I found myself getting bogged down creatively, to be honest; doing the exercises, thinking and talking to friends about this wonderful process that was going to change my life radically, rather than spending my time drawing, etc.
What I have come to believe is that art is in the doing, and not in the preparation to do. If I want to be a visual artist, I should draw and study art. If I want to write, I should write a lot and read many books. If I want to be a good musician, I should practice my instrument and listen to good music.
And if I don't want to, then I don't have to either. It just turns out that I am not a happy person if I am not creatively engaged in some pursuit.
And understand that the real reason to do that is for the love of the doing of it. I really don't think I have that many creative enemies that are out to keep me from reaching my true creative potiential. If I did, I feel confident that I could still sneak away from them and do my own creative work on my own time, in spite of them if I want to. This is the gift of having free will.
This all having been said, it this book may still be helpful for some people. I may come back to it someday, and give it another try, but for now I am using that time to play my guitar.
5.0 out of 5 stars An intensive self-examination course,
This review is from: The Artist's Way (Paperback)
This 229-page book is actually a course to free your creativity. The entire course is based upon the principle that the artist must have faith to be creative. It is the author's conviction that the Creator encourages creativity in all people.
The book is broken down into twelve weekly lessons. There are several miscellaneous sections. Each weekly lesson has tasks and exercises to be completed. Sidebars provide quotes and tidbits of information to uplift the soul. The divisions of the manual are as follow:
In the introduction, the author explains how she began teaching and eventually developed her seminars and lectures into a book.
Spiritual Electricity: The Basic Principles defines the ten spiritual principles, gives directions for using this course, and tells the reader what to expect from the course.
The Basic Tools introduces the two primary tools of the course: the morning pages and the artist date. The morning pages are three handwritten pages, penned in stream-of-consciousness, without looking back at the previous pages. The artist date is time set aside to be spent with your inner artist. There is even a creativity contract.
Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety deals with realizing what negative beliefs and hurts from the past are blocking or restricting your creativity and replacing them with positive affirmations.
Week 2: Recovering a Sense of Identity begins with a section called "Going Sane." It deals with the people you surround yourself with in life and how they exert negative influence over your creativity.
Week 3: Recovering a Sense of Power leaps right into anger management, shame, and dealing with criticism. It examines how most people are afraid that there is a God watching everything we do.
Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity is about learning to distinguish between the mask you wear for the public and your real inner feelings. There are exercises in learning what you really want from life and in sensory deprivation.
Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility begins with the following sentence: "One of the chief barriers to accepting God's generosity is our limited notion of what we are in fact able to accomplish." This lesson teaches us to break through those barriers.
Week 6: Recovering a Sense of Abundance will have you tossing out clothing and gathering rocks. It teaches us that there is abundance in our lives and that our creativity requires its own portion of luxury.
Week 7: Recovering a Sense of Connection covers jealousy, perfectionism, risk, and learning to listen to our inner artist.
Week 8: Recovering a Sense of Strength teaches us to turn loss into gain by metabolizing the pain into energy. There is an exercise to help the artist break out of the early patterning; to overcome the negativity of childhood.
Week 9: Recovering a Sense of Compassion deals with avoiding self-defeat and learning to logically deal with fears.
Week 10: Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection enlightens us about the spiritual demons we create to battle our creativity: workaholism, fame, competition, and drought.
Week 11: Recovering a Sense of Autonomy focuses on how to handle success, how to nurture the inner artist, and the connection between nurturing the inner artist and self-respect.
Week 12: Recovering a Sense of Faith reminds us of the pitfalls to our creativity and helps us learn to have faith.
The book ends with sections on questions and answers, creativity clusters, and forming a sacred circle.
Every artist should own a copy of this book and utilize it religiously! It is the kind of manual that can be used over and over again for continual growth. I highly recommend it and feel it is a vital tool for personal creative expansion.
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough but worth it.,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Artist's Way (Paperback)
We all have dreams that go unfulfilled, and it is usually because of laziness and giving into that unsavory side of ourselves that prefers to remain in the shadows than to bask in the sun.
This book drags you out into the sun in all its resplendent glory, and blinding light. I say drags because once you are out it is difficult to not climb back into the shade. This is not a program for the feinthearted, nor for those looking to become overnight sensations; however, it will open doors to your true being, and inner capabilities that will amaze you.
Good luck to all of you and remember to treat this like the serious program it is, and don't fluff it off. If the dates that she has planned bother you, then change them to fit your perspective, but never dismiss them. As much as it seems that the book is more foofy than substance, let yourself wander a bit. You'll be amazed what you'll start to find.
Remember, you only get one chance at this life, make the best of it and become a great artist!
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my life,
This review is from: The Artist's Way (Paperback)
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Release your creativity,
There are only two books I recommend artists of any kind to read, Natalie Goldberd "Writing Down the Bones", and this book by Julia Cameron. I have read more how-to creativity/writing/journaling/artist books than my poor shelves can hold. I stopped buying them after this book.
I'm an avid journal keeper, it helps me free my mind. There are times, however, when my mind wants to remain locked. This book, complete with freeing exercises, changed all that. I keep the morning pages every day now and have little trouble with my creativity. This book was a god-send to a generation who finally realized that all things in life require some creativity and that unlocking it is the key to a healthy, fullfilled, and well-lived life.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I also recommend the companion "Morning Pages Journal", but only if you aren't sure where to begin. If you are certain you can pick up a blank notebook and begin following the advice she gives, then the journal isn't really necessary.
This is the book that every artist and journaler needs.
4.0 out of 5 stars good but superficial,
This book is good to get people started. But it's not good enough to keep you going. That's because to create, you need to do two things that I don't see at all addressed here:
1. face the pain of living. Everyone has some sorrow in life, and the creative process, which makes you look at life unflinchingly, forces you to face the pain you've had. Most people don't want to hear this, which is probably why it's not here, except in a superficial way. Remembering the insulting things your teacher said to you in the seventh grade is a start, but it's not going to get you anywhere. I noticed that discussion of trauma, such as rape, incest, and other tragedies like severe childhood illness or the impact of a death in the family, are conspicuously avoided. This is absurd because the research shows that creativity and trauma are linked. Although we all have not had equal types of trauma in our lives, in my opinion, to face one you have to face the other. But this message doesn't fit with her happy message of 'just do your morning pages and artist dates and unleash your creativity'.
2. face the terror of bringing something new into being. Creating means taking your idea and translating it from the vision in your head to the material world. This can be fun, and exciting, but if you're on to a source of real power in terms of a creative vision, it's terrifying. Because you're leaving the place of safety, where everyone else is, and going off to your own place and - who knows when or if you'll be back, or even how you can reintegrate into society once you get back. The creative process can be quite frightening. It's like every horror movie where the people start in a nice, safe, secure world, then they have to leave it.
People don't want to hear these things, so they are not here. But their absence detracts from the book. What's here is a nice, warm, reassuring book that gives people a great start at exploring the creative world, but won't take them the distance in my opinion.
think about it - why are so many African-Americans so incredibly creative? Because they have faced the pain of life in a way that many whites have not. This does not in any way justify the oppression they endured for hundreds of years. But their strengh in dealing with it gives them a source of power. A good book on writing is "remembered rapture" by bell hooks.
5.0 out of 5 stars It is not perfect, but it is a very good book,
Having read previous reviews on this book and having dabbled with creativity on and off most of my life, finally, I decided to take the plunge and see if this book could change my life.
WELL? DOES IT WORK, DOES IT CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
Has it? Well Yes and no.
I'm not putting out massive works of art or prose, nor am I comfortable with even the pencil sketches I do. However, I am doing them again. I've had fits and starts of drawing, but this book does help you put that into perspective. You are a beginner and it is okay for your work to look like a beginners. Simple concept. Hard to internalize.
What I did find and others who use this program can probably confirm is that it helps get situations out in the open. Family stuff. When you do the morning pages, you ramble. You put down all that trash you are thinking and then you find you work to clean it up. You know all the stuff your kids, your spouse, your co-workers do, that really tick you off. You find you start to address that. Kind of a neat by-product.
MORNING PAGES ARE NOT SO BAD:
My first take on this, is dedicate a half an hour of my precious and sparse sleeping time.....? What are you nuts? Then I tried it. You have a clarity (and a drowsiness) in the AM, that is unmatchable any other time. Also, if you are like me get a whole lot less interruptions. I did the morning pages from 5:15 till 6:00 AM weekdays and after I got up on weekends. Weekends, sometimes I didn't get to them until afternoon. But, each day (except for 1 day in 12 weeks) they were religiously done.
Guess what? I'm hooked. I'm continuing and you might too. Consider this as a book (a life), you are writing, you are directing. What a concept!
MORNING PAGES LENGTH:
With the Artist's way book, I bought the journal. These 3 pages were the size of 8-1/2 X 11 pages. 3 pages do not take you 1/2 hour but more like 45 minutes to an hour. Get ready for that. It seems like a lot some days and not enough on others. You don't need a special book to do this in either. I bought a spiral notebook to pick up where the journal left off, when it was full. The journal is nice though as it has passages from the book on each page.
I found that some of the timing of the artist dates were bad. I'm sure most others will run into this as well. I did this book through the Thanksgiving, Christmas holiday. Artist's dates were often dropped and sometimes one did double-duty. However, these can be very simple. You have to make them what is important to you and that is the point of the book. It makes you feel special. I think all of us wait for others to make us feel special. Most of us could wait a very long time. Little do we realize, we have to set the standard. Make ourselves feel special. Because we are. We have to appeal to the artist within us. It can be simple or extravagant. One thing I like is pens with a 1.0mm tip. They use ink like crazy, but what a wonderful broad stroke they make on the paper. That is one of my "perks".
In the past years you've no doubt heard of people coming out of therapy accusing their parents of abuse. Many of these people were suggested into this practice by psychologists looking for a quick solution to some of their patient's psychoses. What I didn't care for in the book, is that some of the tasks appeared to be excercising these same demons. Trying to find devils in the details of past "creative blocks". Some times these blocks are cumulative and not one earth-shattering event. Like water on a rock. Sometimes the people around you were highly supportive, etc. etc.
We all have a mix of that. I felt however, that this negative aspect was overemphasized. A person sensitive to these suggestions could walk away very convinced that there was a horrible trauma they just can't quite remember.
WEEK OFF OF READING TRULY IS IMPOSSIBLE IN SOME PEOPLE'S LIVES:
One week was supposed to be one free from reading. I used it as a media free week (Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, books and non-work email) and not from work related reading. If I neglected the reading in my job, I would have over 300 emails, very job related languishing in my in-box. I also would not be doing my job in writing specifications. Not possible in my job and not realistic in many others I'm sure. I think the author should just emphasize the noise factor or suggest doing this type of exercise on vacation.
In summary this book and its tasks were excellent and I can't recommend it highly enough. I'm going on to her book on Work creativity next, then the Right to Write and the Vein of Gold.
KEEP UP THE MORNING PAGES AND CHANGE THE WORLD - ONE PERSON AT A TIME!
5.0 out of 5 stars If you buy one book this year...,
This is the one to buy.
This book was given to me for Christmas. It couldn't have come at a better time. I was struggling with some fundamental things: "who am I," and "who did I really want to be?"
This book, while painful at times, helped (and is still helping) me to be reborn. It helped me to dig up things from my past that were blocking my creativity that I didn't even remember...until I did the excercises. And now that I've dealt with those issues, I can truly become the person I was supposed to be. People that I've known for years have said that I look so much more at peace with myself and so relaxed. I attribute it to this book (Thanks Ms. Cameron!!!!!!)
I recommend this book to anyone -- not just creatives -- who are searching for the meaning of their life. As you go through the book, you will find that you see everything differently, even your relationships with people you've known for years. It's that powerful of a tool, if you let it work for you.
(My advice to people who find this book not useful: you need it the most! If you find a section of this book that won't help you, then you're denying something major in your life and you need to work through it.)
This book is better than hypnosis or psychotherapy! Read it now!!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Self-help without trimmings,
Julia Cameron has written a book that, as a writer, I didn't think I really needed. I was a little concerned at the word "spiritual" and potential religious interpretations, but had to buy the book for school anyway, so I did.
I was delighted to find a guide that actually worked. If you get this book for no other reason than the "Morning Pages" discussed in the first pages of the book, then get it. The book resembles a sort of 12-step program. In fact it is 12 chapters long and outlines and discusses ways to help you draw from and replenish your "creative well".
The excercises are straightforward and make sense. Ms Cameron doesn't waste time wandering off on meaningless tangents. As I've mentioned, I was surprised because I didn't think my "creative well" was particularly dry. However, once I started using this book (and becoming a believer in the methods described therein), I've been overflowing with ideas.
The book is spiritual without being religious, so if you're worried about a religious excercise, fear not! I am happy to report that this is not one of these "you need to find God to help you" books at all. It's a pleasant and useful book that can and does help you look a little deeper inside yourself. You'll be quite amazed at what you find.
4.0 out of 5 stars WE ARE ALL "ARTISTS" WITH OUR OWN UNIQUE ABILITIES!,
You do not need to be an artist in the sense of a gifted painter, sculptor, writer, musician, etc. to enjoy this book. We are all artists in that each of us designs, creates and shapes our own future. We make the choices that will determine where our paths will lead. The only limitations we have are those we place on ourselves.
Julia Cameron makes the journey a little smoother by helping us rid ourselves of life's negative emotions - fear, jealousy, guilt, limited beliefs, etc. While the book makes interesting and insightful reading, I think it is important to be committed to completing all the exercises for maximum benefit. The author does touch on spirituality and makes reference to God in several instances; however, whatever your own personal beliefs, the reader can easily adapt the material written here to any spiritual belief, regardless of what "Higher Power" you believe in.
Two other books which I highly recommend are "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise L. Hay, and "What's Next: Women Redefining Their Dreams in the Prime of Life", by Rena Pederson. Both are excellent books.
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The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron (Paperback - March 4 2002)
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