I wanted to do a mini-review of Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way," a guide for people seeking to break through creative blocks and achieve their artistic goals. Cameron is a prolific author, playwright, screenwriter, and filmmaker who has published more than 40 books. She also happens to live in Santa Fe.
The book is structured as a 12-week course, with each week focusing on a particular theme and set of exercises. I often recommend this book to clients who are looking for ways to foster creativity in their lives.
“Morning pages” are a key concept. This means doing three pages of longhand stream-of-consciousness writing first thing every morning. This helps you access deeper thoughts and feelings, process emotions, and identify limiting beliefs and where they came from. I sometimes recommend this exercise to clients to undam built up feelings and gain insight into problems.
Cameron also recommends using affirmations, positive statements meant to counteract negative self-talk. She suggests writing a list of affirmations and repeating them daily. To me, this tracks with a strengths-based approach in therapy where we identify and harness the power of a client’s inner resources and abilities.
“Artist dates” are important activity supporting Cameron’s idea of creative recovery. Your homework is to plan an activity just for yourself once a week, something that gets your inner artist/inner child excited. This can be a great source of positive energy and inspiration.
Cameron's approach is grounded in the belief that creativity is a spiritual practice that requires courage, self-awareness, and perseverance. By confronting and processing limiting beliefs, you can free up your creative energy and tap into your full creative potential. I believe this approach complements and can be deepened by therapy.