In 2008, a friend introduced me to a book called, The Artist’s Way. At the time, I was 24, 2 years out of art school and in the throws of working my first corporate job in the creative industry. The adjustment from college to career had been just that, an adjustment, but I was beginning to feel ok about it all. I was slowly settling into my career.
But if I was being honest with myself, it had started to feel just like that…settling. A little voice in me started to nag:
“Shouldn’t I be doing something bigger? Something more meaningful? More fulfilling? Something I feel passionate about? What happened to my love for making art and taking pictures? What do I do with all the creative ideas I have swarming around in my head?”
And this is where The Artist’s Way found me.
Sidenote: Gawwwd, being in your 20's is such a nightmare. You could not pay me to do that decade again.
The book is a 12-week personal development course for creative folks developed by Julia Cameron. If you’re an artist (or aspiring artist) who’s found yourself in a funk, a block, or any sort of setback, this book is designed to guide you out of it and help you find your creative flow—and it’s especially excellent for my fellow Type-A, structure-loving friends.
A group of a few close friends and I committed to working through the program together back in ’08, but never ended up completing it. I honestly can’t remember how many chapters in we got, or why we even stopped, but whatever the reason, it just wasn’t the right time for me and The Artist’s Way. I filed it away for a time when I was ready to come back to it.
At the close of 2015 when I was setting my goals for the upcoming year (I make a ‘Top 10’ list every year), that little nagging voice from years ago came back and told me loud and clear that it was about time I started making sh** again. I had been majorly neglecting my creative side for far too long and the build-up was starting to feel palpable.
That’s when I remembered The Artist’s Way. Ah-ha! It finally felt like the right time for me to come back to it—so I did.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working my way through the book (at my own pace, slow and steady). I’ve been diligently writing my “Morning Pages”, taking myself on weekly “Artist Dates”, completing all the self-reflective tasks that are assigned each week, and working on creative projects purely for fun, with no agenda or final product in mind (which is new to me…and totally awesome).
I’m not sure what exactly will come out of this besides funny watercolors and calligraphy experiments, but if my morning pages (daily stream-of-consciousness writing) hold any clues, it might end up with me opening an Etsy shop or applying to get my MFA—two things I did not see coming.
Whatever happens, I’m going with it. And even if nothing concrete comes to fruition, I’m just having a good time over here making things and that’s fine by me.
“Unused talent exerts downward pressure on the spirit”
*An excellent quote from a less-than-excellent book that I read recently called, "Quicksand" by Steve Toltz.