One of my goals during my ‘unplanned year’ was to go through The Artist’s Way program. I have now done it (and loved it!), so today I’ll share my experience. In case you haven’t heard of it before, The Artist’s Way is a best-selling book that aims to help you “discover and recover your creative self.” It helps you figure out what barriers are in the way of your creativity, and gives you inspiration on how to break through them using a self-led 12 week program.
The book (link here) has 12 chapters and it’s suggested that you read 1 chapter each week. In addition to the weekly reading and reflections, you are invited to do Morning Pages every day, and take yourself on an Artist’s Date each week.
This is how I would describe what those things are…
Morning Pages = free flow writing, no censorship, fill 3 pages every day, not to be edited or read by anyone else
Artist’s Dates = a block of time set aside to take your “inner artist” on a play date, supposed to do it alone, meant to open you up to insight and inspiration
Examples of my Artist’s Dates:
- Write a letter to yourself 10 years from now
- Go to an art museum you’ve never been to before
- Listen to Classical Music for a whole morning just to enjoy it
- Bake something comforting that fills place with amazing smell!
- Take yourself to a movie
My Main Takeaways:
- Fill the Bucket – In other words, balance the in and out. Creating stuff requires major output, so we must also intentionally “input” by seeking things out that will inspire us.
- Clear the Gunk – Morning Pages are effective in doing this because we have so much self censorship; it is so valuable to just write, write, write. It helps you make realizations about your values, patterns and themes of thinking. After I cleared it all out each day, it was as if then something creative could come through. My rate of blogging was much higher during this time too.
- Be a Channel for Creativity – It’s the notion that the work is to open yourself enough that you receive creativity, instead of thinking of it as being something you have to pull from inside yourself. Such a feeling of relief in this reframing.
- To Create is Human Nature – And yet, how much emotional baggage is often tied to creativity, as well as fear and limiting perfectionism, to the point that many people decide they simply aren’t and even don’t want to be creative.
Look for Synchronicity and it Will Appear – In other words, when you put out a wish into the universe, and then something occurs to assist you (like a meaningful coincidence). For example, I started thinking about acting lessons, and then stumbled upon a wonderful acting school on my street that I had never noticed before. Not only that, but the class that had space in it was at the exact time I had written down would work for me in my Morning Pages.
I thought it was a really worthwhile program and it reshaped how I think about my own creativity. It also helped me see some limiting “creating” beliefs I’ve been holding onto. Here are some other tangible “outcomes” for those of you who are thinking, “yeah, but like… what were the results?”
Meditation Altar – This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time, but the program pushed me to actually do it. It took 3o minutes to make, and I’m appreciative of it every day.
Affirmations – Part of the program is to write out this phrase and repeat it to yourself every day, “Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.” I resisted the idea of this statement at first, but now I have embraced it. I have also incorporated affirmations into my morning routine because I think they are truly impactful.
Week of Dates – Near the end of the program, the instructions were to “Plan one lovely, nurturing thing for yourself each day this week – Binge!” This was actually quite difficult but felt AMAZING. (Ex: I bought myself: flowers, coconut oil French soap, a delicious “coco caramel” herbal tea, made myself a nice bath with epsom salts and essential oils, ordered delivery just for me, gave myself permission to read for as long as I wanted, and took myself to a movie – all for $40.)
More Creative Living – I signed up for acting classes, I danced a lot more, I wrote a lot more.
- Big Realizations – In addition to my own creative healing, the program also helped me get explicitly clear about what kind of work I want to do, where I want to live, what I want my days/weeks/months to look like, which helped me and Greg make some big and exciting decisions.
I would definitely recommend doing The Artist’s Way if you would like some more play and creativity in your life! Thanks for reading and happy creating!