Now on my 12th and final chapter following The Artist’s Way, I have ANOTHER confession.
It’s taken me many more than 12 weeks to get to this point.
My process got stalled around week 8 when life sent me on a wild roller coaster ride with almost every minute of every day scheduled. However, in spite of having very little uncommitted time through December, I still squeezed in 30-40 minutes a day for Morning Pages, and threw in few a Artist Dates along the way as well.
Determined to finished what I started, I picked up The Artist’s Way (TAW) again in January, starting where I left off before the holidays with chapter 8. Now with experience under my belt, I realized that I wanted to savor each chapter’s suggested tasks and not rush through them just to check them off my list. So I decided to give myself 14 days to complete each chapter, rather than the suggested 7. MUCH more sane and doable.
Now that I’m days from the finish line,
I’m reflecting on all the profound changes I’ve experienced as a result of this process, from clarifying why I create, to how I go about the creation process. What’s most surprised me is how TAW has helped me heal parts of myself that I didn’t realize needed healing, in spite of working with the most talented therapists for the past 30 years. I could write volumes about all I’ve learned, but the
This process has opened my heart to what I really want from my art, AND my life, and how I want to move forward with it all. Sounds rather lofty, but all true.
11 favorite tasks from The Artist’s Way
In case you have never experienced (or finished) TAW, I want to share the tasks that had the most profound and lingering affects on my healing process. If one of these resonates or makes you read it twice, maybe its a sign that it is meant for you as well.
- Morning Pages – Writing three pages for 126 consecutive days (so far) has been a total game changer. Imagine having the undivided attention of your best friend for 40 minutes every morning, where you feel totally held, supported and loved. This is the tip of the iceberg of what this process has given me.
- Artist Dates – This is a once-weekly solo play date to fill my creative well, opening me to insight, inspiration and signs along the way. I’ve gone on many Artist’s Dates since October, and every one of them felt like a gift of self love. My favorites included going to the North Carolina Museum of Art, both for a gourmet lunch and walk around the grounds, exploring the Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C. during a day gig trip, and shopping at the Scrape Exchange for mixed media supplies (I bought three huge bags of supplies for $23!).
- Reread all I wrote in my Morning Pages. Although it took a ton of time (I read 21 pages a day, or 7 days of entries, until I was done), it was worth it to remember all the healing, insights and actions I’ve taken since I started this process in October 2019. This also reinforced the commitments I had made to myself all along the process.
- Identified destructive habits and excuses that could be affecting my art practice. Surprisingly, the most destructive habit had nothing to do with art. I am amazed at how many cobwebs I brought to the surface, clearing the way for more creative energy in the studio.
- Created a 100 day challenge to create art at least one hour every day. This was the result of identifying destructive habits above. I’ll be writing more about this miracle worker of an experiment in a future post.
- Set up 7 “bottom lines” to support my art practice. For instance, number one on my list is “art making comes BEFORE any chores (emails, return calls, wash clothes, etc). Such a simple change helps me to create art when I’m at my best (right after morning pages and breakfast), rather than using “too many to-do’s” as an excuse for not finding time for daily art making.
- Listed what I most enjoy doing, in addition to art. This list of 25 activities made me realize how infrequently I did these things, and motivated me to incorporate more of these activities into my life. Bonus – got fuel for future Artist Dates.
- Wrote the ideal vision of my life as an artist. This began with “I create art that I deeply connect to, and that others connect to as well. I am a prolific artist, creating a new collection every 3-4 months. I teach 3-4 art workshops a year, one in Europe” and continued from there. I keep this vision in my journal to remind me where I dream of going (or some place even better!).
- Created a list of “Happiness Touchstones”, things that remind me to be happy, no matter what. I listed 20+ things that could trigger a happiness reaction, from a single fully opened rose, to drinking my favorite tea out of my Bubba mug, to wearing cozy handmade slippers (knitted by me). As a result, I now buy myself a dozen roses from Whole Foods (only $10) when I travel, and keep a single fresh rose in my home studio.
- Time travel writing exercise. I wrote a letter to me from my future 80-year-old self, and a letter to me from my former 8-year-old year old self. Both were truth telling eye openers and totally worth the time to write.
- Wrote a list of 7 ways to nurture myself over the next 6 months once this process is over. This resulted in me committing to Morning Pages and Artist Dates for the long haul as my favorite forms of self care, as well as lighting a candle as I begin my daily art making and buying myself a rose each week. Ahhh… I feel loved just thinking about how I’m going to nurture myself!
Now that I’m almost done with the 12 weeks, I don’t want it to end.
Of course I’ll never be “done” growing, questioning and expanding my artistic voice. And lucky for the forever seeker in me, this process doesn’t have to end when I finish The Artist’s Way because this book is part of a 3-part series by Julia Cameron, with each book expanding on the one before it. I’ve already bought the 2nd book in the series, Walking in this world, and am looking forward to continuing my journey with Julia Cameron as my sacred guide.
For those of you who have started and/or finished The Artist’s Way, please let us know about your experience in the comments below.
What is your greatest learning from this process so far?
Did you continue the process with the other books in this series?
What is your greatest advice to someone considering taking TAW journey?