Hello, I’m Giorgia and I’m a recovering artist.
I’ve always loved writing. When I was little, I’d write short stories, keep a diary and even began a couple of novels.
At school, I’d always pick creative writing assignments. While my friends were happy to write about their latest summer vacation, I’d pen a story about my toys coming alive. My teacher loved it so much, she read it in front of the entire class!
Yet, I never seriously thought I could make it as a writer.
“There’s no money in writing,” my family said.
“Writing’s not a real job. You can’t pay the bills with it,” my friends agreed.
“Who do you think you are, Stephen King? You don’t have what it takes to make it big,” my Inner Mean Girl repeated over and over again in my head.
I listened to them. They knew better, right? But the more time I spent away from writing, the more depressed I got.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was my writing that gave my life a purpose. Without it, I was lost, like a leaf blowing in the wind.
I eventually found my way back to writing. I even turned it into my full time job (take that, dream doubters!). But it took me years of hard work, self-doubts, sweat, tears and more doubts.
Would it have been easier if someone had given me a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way? Probably.
Cameron wrote the book to help artists recover from fears and self-doubts so they can finally give their creative dreams a go and do the work they’re supposed to do.
Here’s Cameron’s prescription for recovering artists (hint: it really works):
1. The Morning Pages
I’ve already written about The Morning Pages here. They’re 3 pages of free flow writing you pen first thing in the morning.
The whole point of the exercise is to rid your brain of all the negative thoughts, random crap and nagging distractions that are always swirling through it, so you can get on with your day without worrying about them – they’re gone.
Now that stuff doesn’t weigh you down anymore, you’re less stressed, feel lighter and more positive and your creative juices start flowing like crazy.
I know The Morning Pages work for many people. Me? When I wake up in the morning, my mind is a blank slate. I kinda had to go looking for stuff to write and most of it was negative, so I quit.
But I still do a lot of journaling. I find these stream of consciousness exercises really helpful BUT I want to decide when and how to do them. I’m a rebel like that.
Related: Do The Morning Pages Really Work?
2. The Artist’s Date
The Artist’s Date is a weekly date with your muse. One day a week, you visit a museum, see a movie at the cinema, enroll in a new class or do any other activity that gets your creative juices flowing – just you and your muse.
I was a bit hesitant at first. Who wants to be the weirdo who goes to the movies alone?
Then, I realised The Artist’s Date was a great opportunity to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do but never got round to because I lacked a partner.
Like going to museums. Or West End shows. I adore the theatre, especially musicals. But whenever I ask a friend to come along, they always come up with all sorts of excuses.
Turns out, people don’t like it when someone bursts into song in the middle of a drama. Which sucks, because it’d make life so much funnier. 😉
But I’m disgressing. The point is that doing this stuff on my own has made me way more creative. If anything, now I have too much inspiration.
Cameron says The Morning Pages are the foundation of The Artist’s Way, but I’ve personally found The Artist’s Date way more useful. There’s nothing like doing what you love to reconnect you with your passion and purpose.
P.S. An Artist’s Date can be anything you want it to be. A trip down your fave stationary store, a walk by the beach or a visit to a new church to hear gospel music. Whatever inspires you.
3. Everything Else
Ok, lazy heading but there are just so many tips, exercises and affirmations here that it’s impossible to condense them all in a short blog post.
The exercises include many journaling prompts to help you reflect on what’s keeping you blocked, affirmations to reinforce your belief in your creative abilities and all kinds of weird things, like throwing out all the old clothes you don’t wear anymore, that may seem unrelated to creativity.
I encourage you to do as many as you can. It doesn’t matter how weird it sounds. Throw everything at it. You never know what works for you.
That’s right. We’re all different so just because a few exercises didn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean The Artist’s Way sucks. Try everything. Something will work.
As I said, not everything worked for me. I dropped The Morning Pages after a month. But by the end of the book, I had a newfound belief in my writing and more ideas for novels and articles than I could ever write in my lifetime.
This artist’s on her way. Will you join me?