I first heard of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron somewhere around 2007. Several musician friends said this book was a profound, life-changing experience.
They weren’t kidding. My life profoundly changed… for about two and a half chapters, and then I got distracted.
I’ve tried reading it many times since then. Same thing happens. It’s not the book, it’s me. I can tell the book has many great lessons, so why can’t I get through it?
“Just remember, in choosing, that we often resist what we most need.”
Ok, Julia. I get it.
Julia makes you sign a contract. I avoided that at first, but eventually gave in and signed it to see if it would work…
Nope. Then I thought… “Maybe if I add cupcake sticky flags to each chapter, I will be motivated to read on!”
Nope. hehe! This week I decided to try one last time. From the beginning. I opened the book and was greeted by an old casualty…
I started reading words that by now feel familiar, and I remembered just how much this book (at times a bit new agey) has to teach.
One of my favorite quotes–that I’ve outlined 4 times during separate readthroughs– is the following:
“Very often audacity, not talent, makes one person an artist and another a shadow artist–hiding in the shadows, afraid to step out and expose the dream to the light…”
I relate to this completely. I see songwriters around me write, write, and write album, after album, after album… Because they are not afraid. They have the courage to continuously create while some of us sit and think about creating.
Julia’s first step to “recovery” is to write Morning Pages every day immediately after you wake up. Before checking the news or phone, write three pages of longhand. A stream of consciousness.
I don’t know what it is this time around, but the amount of things that have surfaced in these morning pages over the last 3 days have been eye-opening. The process feels like letting your brain take a soothing shower. It scrubs away all the muck and gives you a fresh start for the day.
“Morning Pages map our own interior. […] It is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, without being moved to constructive action. The pages lead us out of despair and into undreamed of solutions.”
I’m hoping that by posting about the book on the blog, I will remain committed to finishing it once and for all.
If not for me, for the tiny fly that gave it’s life!
Thanks for reading,
Pretty sure my “morning pages” would be just various permutations of “No no no no I don’t wanna, please let me sleep please please”September 6, 2018 at 9:03 am
Hahahahaha! Yes! And then after several days or weeks, you may get tired of always feeling this way and maybe go to sleep a bit earlier? I thiiiiink that’s how it’s supposed to help you shift things in your life.September 9, 2018 at 4:50 pm
I found this particular blog entry really well written (probably my favorite so far). Your message universally connects with almost anyone who struggles with some form of fear. It resonates with me, not on a musical level, but more of a social/personal level. The idea of stepping out from the shadows is scary for anyone. Why step out when you’re content and comfortable in the shadows? But with little steps, i.e., writing down your thoughts in the morning, you eventually find yourself out of the shadows. And at some point, you realize you’re outside of your comfort zone, and it’s actually not that bad. So, you continue to find more strength and courage until you have unlocked your full potential. And I think that’s what overcoming your fear is about. It’s not about eradicating the fear–it’ll always be there, but that’s okay and only human–It’s about coping with the fear, but also simultaneously reaching the highest peak of what you are supposed to be and do. And in the end, you will always remember those little steps you took out of the shadows; therefore, having a much greater appreciation for what you’ve accomplished and who you’ve become. So, even if a little bug that has to sacrifice itself to demonstrate a more significant message and life lesson for you to take these little steps, then the bug has not died in vain. 😛 But I am too always here cheering you on, and encouraging you to find your way out of the shadows. Keep up the morning writings! <3September 11, 2018 at 2:00 am
ChandaTheBestPanda. Thank you for the beautiful feedback. I’m glad you liked this post and that it resonated with you. <3 I agree completely, it's all about learning to cope with fear and continuing to move forward! It's a relief to know that this bug has not died in vain! hahaha!September 13, 2018 at 1:25 pm
The audacity comment you highlighted (4 times!) also really hit me. Thanks for sharing this blog post!
I just finished the Artist’s Way, and came across your post during research for my own blog post about the course. I have to ask, did you manage to finish it?! Would love to know!
JohnApril 1, 2023 at 12:09 pm