The Artist’s Way

artists-way-coverThe Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity

by Julia Cameron

Almost every artist I know seems to have heard of this book. None of them, as far I know, have finished it. It’s not meant to be read cover to cover (I did it anyway)… The end of each chapter is more of a workbook with exercises. Activities later, I read it all first.

I’m glad I did. For all those that start and never finish, it’s a shame to miss out on the wisdom from the later chapters.

Reading this book requires an open mind. There are concepts, language, and activities I can almost guarantee don’t fit in with how you think about the way you — or the universe — works. That’s part of the value in this book: it stretches you past what you know. Even if you don’t believe any of it, it’s worth it for the mental exercise.

  • Exercise your ability to silence your inner critic.
  • The well of creativity must be replenished often. It may be drained when things are going well. Perhaps because things are going well.
  • It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time.
  • Do not let your self-doubt turn into self-sabotage.
  • Avoid crazy makers at all costs.
  • Doubts can sabotage you unless you explore them fully.
  • Skepticism is the enemy of creativity.
  • The key to healing is awareness of the present moment.
  • Anger is not the enemy, is to be listened to and learned from. It is a compass that points us in the direction we must go.
  • The antidote for criticism is self-love and self-praise.
  • Rather than convincing ourselves that criticism doesn’t matter or doesn’t hurt, we should admit that it does; but also tell ourselves that we can heal from it.
  • In order to have self-expression you must have a self to express. To work on your art, work on your life.
  • Before you let go you need to know what you’re holding onto.
  • The speed at which you’re traveling down your path is only apparent based on how hard you hit an obstacle.
  • Reduce inflow to a minimum and be rewarded with increased outflow.
  • Perfectionism is not actually about doing your best. It’s about telling yourself that nothing you do will ever be good enough.
  • Jealousy is just a mask for something you want but are afraid you can’t have.
  • Turn loss into opportunity, pain into energy.
  • When fantasizing about pursuing our art work full-time, we often fail to pursue it part-time… or at all.
  • Artists often prefer anxiety over disciplined action towards their goal. But drama belongs in your art, not in your actions.
  • Big questions will not yield small answers.
  • Big changes occur in tiny increments.
  • Being blocked is not the same as being lazy. Thinking you’re lazy makes you more blocked. Being blocked is about fear, and the cure for fear is love.
  • The prospect of being happy as an artist is threatening to those who are used to getting what they want by being unhappy.
  • Trying to be productive may get in the way of being creative.
  • The most important thing artist can have is a friend that believes in them.