Methods of The Artist's Way
One Long-Term Experience of the Methods
Several components of the book have stayed with me over the years. For instance, seven years ago I was particularly struck by the sections on “filling the well.” Cameron instructs readers to take a week off reading to force them to observe the world. I will still periodically take days or weeks off to give myself the opportunity to look around, listen to other people’s conversations, or interact with people I might not usually talk to. Her "morning pages," which refer to the habit of writing three pages first thing in the morning, had also stuck with me.
On the other hand, the weekly artist date had fallen by the wayside. As a working stiff, it had just seemed self-indulgent. Yet when I took an afternoon off to go to an art museum, I couldn't help but notice how good it felt to be there, just wandering around looking at art. I started remembering all the things I used to do to nurture my creativity that I don’t do anymore. The next day, I pulled The Artist’s Way off the shelf. I wanted to find out why I had stopped making time to be creative and how that related to my current block.
Impressions of The Artist's Way Seven Years Later
Overall, my perceptions of the book have not changed. If anything, I am less patient with the tone, which I find somewhat hokey, and with the profiles. However, if my critical mind has grown sharper in the intervening years, my ego has shrunk. I dove right into the exercises and almost immediately found myself thinking, “This is good. This is going to work again.” In my morning pages, I began reflecting on the reasons for my block, why I thought being creative was self-indulgent, who had told me that, and why. I started to think of myself as a creative person again — and to believe that as a creative person, I could devote time to creative activities without feeling guilty.
The great thing about a program like Cameron’s is that the reader doesn’t have to buy into all of it, or any of it, for it to work. Despite the subtitle, it's more like jogging than like a religion. Whether you believe in jogging or not, it will get you into shape if you do it every day. It’s just a fact. That’s the most powerful thing about The Artist’s Way. It may employ some New Age and self-help jargon, but it’s a practical, hands-on program to get you working creatively again. There is a good reason the book has become a classic in the genre: it works.