The Artist’s Way ‘n’ stuff

Around this time of year in 2001, I picked up The Artist’s Way and undertook the 12 week creativity course and came out the other end feeling so much better about the stuff I was doing and what I wanted to be doing in the future. Apart from starting this blog, and probably obtaining my wonderful wacom tablet, I would say it has been the biggest turning point in my creative life. I had picked up the book a year or so before and thought it was a huge pile of tosh and put it aside (there is a lot of stuff in it which I found really difficult to get past, and would probably struggle with again) but then when I did finally come back to it some time later, I was at a real low point with my work (having been working in an isolated, unstructured, freelance way for a few months and feeling it was going no where) and it was the thing that forced me to do something about it.

For a while I was quite evangelical about the book – buying it (totally unsolicited) for my Dad and various friends, recommending it to every poor sucker who momentarily pondered their own creativity. I am sure I had that crazy-cult-gleem in my eye, the dried white foam in the corners of my mouth… etc. But I was that impressed. I kept writing the Morning Pages (perhaps the key component of the course – 3 pages of free-form, free-hand journal writing first thing every day) for years, until I had a baby I think, where the pages became too difficult to squeeze into a busy day. But they really worked – there’s something about repeating the same boring insecurities every day that finally makes you take stock and do something positive about it. Lots of good things changed for me because of these pages.

Over at Kat’s Paws there is an online group which has formed to undertake the Artist’s Way together. This is such a great idea. There is a lot of stuff in the book about working with others for encouragement and support, and isn’t this just the thing? Isn’t this the perfect way to kick-start some of those creative New Year’s Resolutions I have been reading about all over the web?

They have just started week one, but as I feel that life is in flux for me this year (again?? Eh!), I am almost tempted to join and revisit the course again. It is a big time commitment – and there is so much else on the boil at the moment, but I think I am going to take the book away with me down to the beach to have a flick through and a think about the whole idea anyway.

**An update to yesterday’s cookbook entry: Look at Jane’s kid’s amazing blue marshmallows – using the recipe from The River Cottage Family Cookbook! Brilliant!**

You may also like...

54 Responses

  1. Wow!! I got really excited to see this post, as I’m part of the group doing the Artist’s Way at Kat’s Paws. Too cool if you’d join in, but understandable if not. I’ve also done the Artist Way once before, solo, and doing it with an online group is a really great way to do it. It’s only day one and I’ve gotten support from the group.

  2. I’m doing the artist way right now!! It’s great but sometimes it’s so difficult to remember and answer some questions in the book. Sometimes is frightening but I continue.Thanks for the link!!

  3. There’s also a flickr group doing the “Artist’s Way” book…they just started Jan 1, so it’s not to late to join:

  4. great post, claire! i did the aw workshop with a local group of friends and it was an amazing journey. i still try to do morning pages, but only manage once a week or so. the book sits out where i can scoop it up and re-read passages and quotes from time to time. highly recommend it to anyone who wants a deeper connection with the creative stream.

  5. Funny this book has been something I was first excited about,and now, well, I haven’t written any morning pages for weeks…? Does it work? It is hard to keep yourself doing it when you don’t know what is going to happen, change or how it is going to effect you. thanks for sharing and I will check out Kat’s Paws!

  6. ooh. my partner did it years ago and still has that crazy gleam in his eye when he talks about it, too… I’ve got a copy or two at home and have bought it for a bunch of friends, but have yet to make it past chapter 3! Maybe now is the time to pull it of the shelf, dust it off, and start anew.

  7. I have had the same sort of ambivalence towards The Artist’s Way – I have loved it at times and at other times I can’t wait to put it away.I got very bored with morning pages but then when I look back they were the starting point to a whole heap of creative projects. I always need to keep in mind that it is only a starting point. Once inspired, it is just a bloody hard slog that gives birth to a wonderful creation, a sort of pig-headedness (if that is a word) that a lot of people don’t possess.

  8. Ahh yes, The Artist’s Way has been sitting on my bookshelf for over year now, wondering when I’m going to pick it up and complete the course.
    I’ve felt it look at me when I’ve been sitting on the couch watching a DVD or reading.

    I’m nearing the point where I make the commitment to try it again… and this time succeed in finishing. I haven’t heard anyone say that they finished it and nothing happened. I like the idea of an online community banding together. Very nice.

  9. my husband is a writer and started this book last fall and loved it! he encouraged me to take a look at it, which i have not yet. thank you for the link to the online group, maybe its time to start up!

  10. says:

    Hi, this is a round about way to ask how I submit my Month of softies guys. Please email me. J

  11. i am doing the artists way right now…but i am an actor so i apply it to that. my lecturer gave me it. it is magical i love it. i also love your work by the way it is fantastic and inspires me every day.

  12. I started doing the Artist’s Way in May with two friends, we meet for lunch and encouragement every week. It is an inspiring book, as long as one is ready for it! I think the online group is a great idea too.

  13. Thanks for the great links & book. It sounds like something I need to do and what better time than in the beginning of a new year!

  14. Busted!!! I had been being very lax with morning pages lately, in fact I had chosen to skip this morning and I came to your site and here you are….I just finished my 3 pages and I feel GOOD! ;)…..The Book has been important in mine and my husbands life for years also..

  15. I bought that book for my husband back in 2001 after you first posted about it. He also found it very helpful and inspiring. I think I’m going to dust his copy off and push it in his direction again.

  16. It is a wonderful book. I had the same life changing experience, only it was with a different book, “Simple Abundance”.

  17. hi there loobylu! a bunch of people mentioned that they found the aw group through you, so i thought i’d stop over and say hello!! it would be lovely to have you doing it along with us. πŸ™‚

  18. says:

    I did the Artist’s Way about 6 months ago and found it a great way into a more creative life. Really difficult to do morning pages had to get up at 4.30am in the end as my oldest kept waking up and wanting attention. Thanks for the reminder.

  19. Hi! I bought this book several years ago but put it down as I wasn’t ready. i just moved house this year and re-gifted it to someone who was very appreciative. But now I’m wishing I still had it! πŸ™‚

  20. I’m part of Kat’s AW group and I’m positively THRILLED to see the excitement about there about this venture. I think she has hit on a FABULOUS idea here…and I agree, what better way to start a new year! πŸ™‚

  21. My mother bought me this book about 10 year ago. I too felt it to be a huge pile of tosh and promptly turfed it into the nearest Sally-Ann bin.
    I am curious, after all this time, too see how I would feel about it now?

  22. Ooh, I’m starting college in a few weeks, studying art/design. I just purchased this book from eBay after reading your post. Hope it’s as great as it sounds!

  23. Great book, glad you brought it up, I was considering reading it again myself the other day, now I better huh! I find the MP’s great when you can’t discuss certain issues, nice to see that your big P is joining the fun, nice site too btw. Hope you have a great time at the beach! Ness

  24. thanks for this inspiring post– i bought the 12-week coursebook an embarassingly long time ago as well, and kind of dive into it & find the most brilliant bits now and again, but haven’t yet embarked as i *should*. have often wondered if it would mean more self-exploration than i could handle (?) and am expecting new baby in a week… don’t imagine i’ll be able to embark on the journey for a year or so… anyway– i’m glad to see the link to Kat’s Paws, i’ll head over & take a peek.

  25. my mother just gave me this book and it’s been set aside. Your comments have given me a bit of a push to go and dust the thing off and read it!

  26. I have continued doing Morning Pages since 2002, since i first read The Artist’s Way, which was heavily reccomended by the lovely Loobylu. Thanks Claire! I have since repeated the book twice over, and I think it is time to do it once again. Just what I need for the new year. xx

  27. I gave this book to my honey-man for Christmas – he’s creative, yet loves to follow instructions = right up his alley

  28. says:

    I must try this again. It was a book in college (about 10 years ago), but I don’t remember ever actually using it. I picked it up about a year ago with renewed thoughts of trying. I did week one in September and lost interest (although I did make some marble magnets). Seems like maybe it’s time to start again…thank you for the post. I find it tough because I do nothing creative (nor think of myself as remotely creative), but it may be worth a try!

  29. I liked the book too, though I didn’t actually “do” it properly. But I’m commenting because I want to tell you that I love the little burgeoning belly in your illustration.

  30. how sublimely serendipitous!
    just YESTERDAY i started reading my copy of the Artist’s Way AND i bought my first wacom tablet. they are both fabulous!


    it is amazing to read of your journey with both in hand.

    yesterday, after a full day in the studio, i was feeling a little off kilter. i dragged myself away and on to my beanbag, and lay down with my dog. just reading the introduction of the artist’s way shifted something for me.

    equally as scrummy are julia cameron’s little books of affirmations called “heart blessings” and “transformations”

    blessings to you!

  31. I was given The Artists’ Way as a gift years ago. I started it, but didn’t finish. I think it’s time I dusted it off and get it done this time.

  32. Claire, q.
    What’s your waccom tablet’s specs?

    Gosh. I have toget one of those. BOOK AND TABLET!

  33. thankyou for posting this, and with such good timing. i’m at the point right now where i need to decide whether to go to art school, but the pressure has meant that i’ve lost all my creativity anyway. i’ll definately be looking for this book πŸ™‚

  34. says:

    How strange.. I visit your Blog when I get a chance and only discovered it by chance last year. I bought the Artist way a couple Of years ago and started but found it a struggle to finish but have been really motivated the last few months re: my creative life and then a couple of days ago a old boyfriend sent me a copy and I got excited by it all over again and found my old copy and gave it to my current partner!!!I have to say your site has inspired me greatly and I have started selling my toys it feels great πŸ™‚

  35. I also did The Artist’s Way back in 2001, finished the whole book and (almost) all the exercises with the help of a group of friends. It also changed my life and the way I approached creativity, but I too feel the sort of uncomfortable ickiness of feeling like I’m being too…New Age-y in my recommendation of the book. I’m glad I’m not the only one!
    I love your blog, by the way. I’ve lurked for awhile and I’m finally emerging. Yay!

  36. just wanted to say hello…love your blog, love your artwork, and thanks for the link to kat’s aw group! it couldn’t have come at a better time for me πŸ™‚

  37. I would like to recommend another fantastic book. Any artist or aspiring artist needs to read it:
    “The War of Art” by

    It’s about the “RESISTANCE” we feel that often prevents us from making art. It’s a kick in the arse, beautifully and simply written. It helps you identify WHY you’re not making your art, or writing that great novel. I give it to all my artist friends. He describes the various and insidious forms that RESISTANCE takes to keep us from working. Highly recommended–it’s changed my life, because I work now despite ‘resistance’.

  38. I swear I did not read Roz’ comment here before my last post—small world, eh?!

  39. Come on, come join us! Please:) Please:)

  40. says:

    Thanks for the book recommendationi need to let my creative juices flow again
    I know they are in there somewhere!!!

  41. I have gone and ordered the book sounds just like the thing I need. Thanks alot.

  42. Every January I consider opening my copy of The Artist’s Way. Last night I read Chapter One. This is the third time I have travelled through the book since I bought it in 2001. Life changing stuff! Thanks for the inspiration Claire. x

  43. says:

    Hallo,I left a message not so long ago to say thanks for such a great site and that one day I might be brave enough to start my own blog. Well I have! Like a few others I have been reading, you have been instrumental in inspiring me,,,,Thankyou

  44. It’s amazing to me that you are a proactive artist, keeping yourself challenged while keeping up with life’s daily demands. I’m checking out the book now, but I do have reservations about being able to the program with two small kids, I may have to hold off a bit longer!

  45. i bought the book around Christmas (as in the grand tradition of artist wayers i was urged by a friend to start it) and i wish i had more time to devote to it. i’m completely overwhelmed with life and need to get my act in gear. literally. πŸ˜‰ love your blog btw.

  46. just the perfect book for me right now ;)Suffering from creative block πŸ™‚

  47. I started that book a while back, but, like you, there were a number of things I couldn’t really get into. Maybe I need to give it a second try…. Thanks!

  48. I started that book a while back, but, like you, there were a number of things I couldn’t really get into. Maybe I need to give it a second try…. Thanks!

  49. I’m so glad I happened upon your post. I did the artists way back in 2000-2001 too, by myself, and it had a huge impact on me. I’ve been thinking I want to try it again but with other people. This could be just the push I needed!

  50. You should SO join our group over at Kat’s Paws…it is an incredibly supportive group of women. Have fun at the beach!

  51. Hee Hee. Your illustration captures how I feel about it too. I just started it.

  52. I just love your drawings and you look so cute with that bump!

  53. I will look into this book, thank you for the suggestion. I truly love your work. My sister just stopped pumping her breastmilk and we laughed hysterically at the image you had published of the woman sitting with her husband on the couch squeaking away hehe