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The Artist’s Way: 12 Week Program Intro!

Julia Cameron's The Artist's Wayt 12 Week Program

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Like so many, I’ve been a huge fan of morning pages, a free journaling practice taught by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way.

“The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is a daily practice called Morning Pages.” Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.

Julia Cameron’s website

Writing daily morning pages, along with meditation, has done wonders for my mental health, clarity, and focus. My life is always hectic. I take care of the books and website for our family construction business, I do rental property management, I’m finishing a novel in hopes of self-publishing this year … which means I have to learn how to self-publish, LOL, and then there’s my dream of becoming a successful blogger/vlogger both here and at Joyful Miles.

Add to this my bouts of depression, anxiety, fear, and doubt, and there’s a lot going on in my head with swirling thoughts ricocheting back and forth like a drunk hummingbird.

Morning pages calm these chaotic thoughts by dumping them from my brain and onto paper. They help me purge conflicting thoughts, getting the crazy out of my system so I can better focus. I first blogged about this back in 2021 and this year, I’m taking things a step further by committing to writing them every single day in 2021.

Now. You’d think that someone who loves morning pages so much would have read Julia Cameron’s entire Artist’s Way, right?

Wrong.

I’ve made it to chapter three and I’ve never completed her full twelve-week program, no matter how badly I need it.

Why not?

Well, one reason is how daunting her weekly tasks seemed. I mean, here’s what’s expected from Week One alone:

  • Write three longhand morning pages in a spiral notebook or journal of similar size.
  • Go on an Artist Date, (more on that in a future post.)
  • Answer six intense questions that force you to dig deep.
  • Affirmations work.
  • A brisk twenty-minute walk.

I’m on board with some of them … especially the walk since I could use some more vitamin D, but the intense journaling work seems like it’d take a ton of time.

This leads me to my biggest reason for not taking on this challenge: I’m afraid of what I might discover if I dig too deeply into my past.

“Most of the time, when we are blocked in an area of our life, it is because we feel safer that way. We may not be happy, but at least we know what we are – unhappy. Much fear of our own creativity is the fear of the unknown.

Julia Cameron

That’s one serious truth, there.

And I have the feeling that those who know me best … and possibly the few people who are reading this blog … would say, girl, you really need this.

Lawd, yes I do.

I don’t want to spend another year not accomplishing my writing goals because of fear, doubt, and my other mind monsters. If the full program will help me break through my mental barriers, well, then … toss me a shovel, folks. I’m gonna start digging.

And turns out, I should have paid better attention when I first read her section on How to Use This Book for your Creative Recovery. She mentions how most probably won’t have time to complete all of the other tasks in any given week and for us to try to do about half.

“Pick those that appeal to you and those you strongly resist. Leave the more neutral ones for later. Just remember, in choosing, that we often resist what we most need.”

Julia Cameron

Well, okay then. Let’s do this, Julia!

“Leap, and the net will appear.”

I’m leaping, folks. And since my goal with this blog is to turn the focus on developing creative courage … both for myself and anyone else who might be struggling, I will be sharing weekly updates on Mondays.

Until then, have you read The Artist’s Way and/or completed any parts of the program? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!

Take care, and happy writing!

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Debra L Bowman January 18, 2021, 11:40 am

    This touched my memory for sure. I actually had a doctor recommend this book to me when I worked in Baltimore county and then an acupuncturist at the university. I seemed to be in a brain fog, procrastinating, work was not satisfying and just frustrated. I did about 50% of the exercises. Sometimes I did not journal to fulfill the tasks but made collages, drew pictures, sewed, finger painted, etc. Sometimes the journaling was too much. It was a very revealing process. After the reveal there are willful decisions that need to be made about the person I live with everyday, myself. It was scary because you really want to say what you want to hear not what is. Taking the leap to recognize the difficult was painful. It takes coursge. This all happened when I was trying to write my dissertation. There is also a workbook

  • Laura Bowers January 19, 2021, 9:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing your awesome input! That’s so interesting how both a doctor and an acupuncturist recommended the book …. they were thinking outside the box! And oh my gosh, yes, the journaling can be too much!! Last year, I would sometimes only do one or two pages if I were super busy, but so far this year, I’m forcing myself to do all three. It is super revealing but I’m already noticing a shift from being horribly negative to somewhat positive! Progress! 😉

    The exercises, though …. scary indeed!!! I’ve swept so much dirt under the rug that it’s like a big, bulging volcano, ready to explode, LOL! I’m inspired by your good results, though, and I love your idea of doing other activities to fulfill the tasks. I’ll keep that in mind!!

    And thanks so much for the Christmas card!! We haven’t been to the beach in a while now and I’ll be sure to call once Covid is under control so we can visit! My mom also wants me to tell you she said hello!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Laura Bowers January 19, 2021, 9:13 pm

    Oh, and I almost got the workbook, but resisted so far!! I kind of went a little crazy buying new journals and planners for the year, LOL!!

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