Journey through “The Artist’s Way” – 3rd time’s the charm

True confession – I’ve attempted to follow The Artist’s Way 12-week course for “recovering your creative self” two previous times, and never got past week one. Then I read an article about another artist’s journey through this process (who also couldn’t finish it previously), and suddenly I was inspired to give it another more try.

What’s different this time around?

I’m at a strange crossroads with the art I create, and how (and if) I want to share it with the world. I still believe that art is the way for the Universe to speak through me, and that its the way I’m meant to serve.  However, after 20+ years of following my passion for art, I’m suddenly not sure where I want this path to take me next.

Frankly, I feel a bit stuck.

So three weeks ago I jumped into week one of The Artist’s Way for a third time, and instantly felt like I’d come home to myself.  It was as if this entire course had been created specifically for this time in my life.


I quickly committed to completing “morning pages” every day for the 12-week program, which are 3+ pages of long-hand, stream-of-consciousness writing about anything on my mind. Although I’ve journaled off and on since I was 16, I often didn’t give myself the focused time to get the most from this process.  Yet this time, I was all-in from day one. It didn’t take long until extraordinary information started pouring onto the pages about what potentially could be blocking my creativity, and surprisingly,

much of it had nothing to do with creating art.

The other foundational piece of the program is to take myself (alone) on a self-nurturing “artist date” once a week. This can be as simple as a long country walk, a solitary excursion to the beach to watch a sunrise, or hanging out in a gallery. The purpose of this play date is to fill my creative well, opening myself to insight, inspiration and signs along the way.  To make sure I actually did this (its so easy to pretend I don’t have the time), I blocked 3+ hours for an artist date each week for the next 3 months.

Now on my 3rd week of artist’s dates, the following is what I’ve done so far:

        Week 1 – walked around a beautiful urban lake in the middle of Charlotte that I hadn’t seen in 15 years, picking up leaves that I sketched on a park bench;

        Week 2 – toured the Renwick and Horschorn Museums in Washington D.C. while traveling for my part time day gig, a totally inspiring experience;

        Week 3 – explored a new neighborhood on a lake near my home and checked out the latest exhibit at one of my favorite Charlotte galleries..

Each week I also have the option of completing many additional tasks for the purpose of exploring and healing my inner artist. For instance during week two, I listed 20+ things I enjoyed doing, and then committed to doing a couple of the activities that I hadn’t done in a long while (read a good novel and meandered through a museum).  I also enjoyed listing 10 tiny changes I dream of making, and committed to doing at least one of those during week two (1. arranged to display my art in a local retail space for the holiday; and 2. ten “girls push ups” each day).

My favorite task for week three was to identify habits that might interfere with self-nurturing and could cause shame.

It didn’t take long to realize that I have a self-destructive, unconscious habit of indulging in angry resentful thoughts about my ex-husband, even though I am very happy with my second husband and the new life we’ve created together.  I have already devoted at least 3 days of morning pages to exploring why I chose to entertain such negative thoughts. Then I committed to catching myself mid-thought and replacing those thoughts with the image of me hugging my inner child.  Now on day 7 of this new healthy habit, I can see how this simple act has the potential of busting my blocked creativity wide open.

Now I’m excited to see what week 4 will teach me.

I would deeply appreciate if you would follow along as I chronicle my journey through The Artist’s Way.  Knowing that someone in the world (you!) is witnessing what I’m up to will propel me forward as I move deeper into the process.

Want to join me on The Artist’s Way? I would truly love to travel this road alongside you.

Have you already taken this road before me?  Please share in the comments, either here or on Instagram, how this process supported your creative healing and opening.



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13 thoughts on “Journey through “The Artist’s Way” – 3rd time’s the charm”

  1. Great post, and really helps explain the process, which is fascinating! Always an inspiration. Thank you for this and keep going, show us the way!

    • Kitty,
      Thank you my dear friend for being my cheer leader as I go deeper into figuring this all out. Love that you are in my life. Do you know its been 3 years since we met? Amazing!
      Love you,

  2. A friend gave me “The Artist’s Way” @ 20 years ago, when I was feeling blocked in my acting career. Seemed uncomfortably ‘new-agey’ to me. But, I figured ‘what the heck, I can do anything for 12 weeks.’ Life-changing! I became an award-winning playwright. Now have international fans and friends as a result of writing. Met and worked with one of my actor idols. So many unforeseen blessings! I’ve always struggled with the Artist’s Date and drift away from morning pages periodically. Always go back to the pages when I start to feel stuck. I recommend the process to friends all the time and often give the book as a gift. Hang in there with it!

    • Elaine,
      Thank you so very much for sharing how your journey through The Artist’s Way” changed your life. This really does give me a gentle push to keep going even though I see no immediate change in my art life. However, I’m experiencing many changes in other parts of my life, so I’m excited to see what else is going to happen as I continue to open up to myself. So cool that you became a playwright as a result of this process. Just curious – did you also go through the next book “Vein of Gold”? Someone else just suggested that after I finish these 12 weeks.

      Thanks a million times over for sharing your story. It was a true gift.

    • I’ve had this book on my bookcase two different times, and barely opened it either. Let me know how the process works for you.

  3. It’s your old friend, Pam Jackson!❤️❤️❤️So excited for your new journey as I make headway into knowing me on my new journey! Lots to tell in an email or on the phone, maybe. Very happy for you!! Looking forward to enjoying your “new” art! I was there at the beginning of the amazingly creative YOU!!!

    • Oh my dear friend,
      What a treat to reconnect. What new journey are you on? Want to hear all about it. Lets find a time to chat by phone sometime next week? You free at night by any chance? I’m teaching in Raleigh during the day, but am free after 5pm. Could also talk between 3-6pm on Thursday. Thanks so much for reconnecting us.
      Big hugs, Catherine (aka Cathy!)

  4. Hello, there! This caught my eye since I have started The Artist’s Way two times previously and didn’t get very far! My sister-in-law, who is very ‘artsy’, recommended it years ago. As we melt head into the winter season (we had snow 2 times this week so it’s coming early!), it seems like a good time to try this again. Plus, now that I’m retired, I have more time I could devote. Sooo…you’ve inspired me to pull the book off my shelf again! You experience in the first week sounds transformative, even if you can’t see the results very clearly now. I look forward to following your journey and getting started (again) on my own! Vicki

    • Vicki,

      I’m so glad that you are joining me for the journey through The Artist’s Way. Thank you for following my journey, and I look forward to hearing about your as well.

      My best to you,

  5. Catherine,

    To answer your question, I own and have read “The Vein of Gold,” “Walking in this World,” and “The Right to Write,” as well as “The Artist’s Way.” All good books. All advocate the same tools–morning pages and artist’s dates–as the first. There are some new thoughts and enlightening expansions on the original in the subsequent books. I have not found any of them to have made such a drastic difference to me–but, to be fair, I also have not committed myself to the exercises in the same way I did with the original.

    Other books I’ve found useful: “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp, “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield


    • Elaine,

      I deeply appreciate you sharing your experience with “The Artist’s Way” and the books Julia wrote afterwards. I’m not sure that I”ll go past TAW, but its interesting to read about your experience with them. Thank you for sharing additional books along this line as well – I plan to look into them.

      My best to you, Cat

  6. Hola Catherin, desde Argentina empecé a seguir tu bello y maravilloso arte! He terminado las 5 clases que generosamente nos regalaste!
    Yo también estoy en proceso de abrazar con todo mi corazón mi arte y estoy leyendo el Camino del Artista!
    Gracias, gracias, gracias!!!


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