Artist’s Way: Starting Week One

I have started The Artist’s Way a number of times over the years, alone and in a group. I’ve never completed the first book and have only dabbled briefly in the subsequent two. I always feel like I’m not quite getting out of it what I want to. And yet, I always want to come back to it and in that urge must lie something, right? So I decided to take a different approach with it this time around. This time I’ll blog about the process and thoughts of going through the book. Though different than how the book was originally intended, it makes sense for me right now. So, here I am in Week One of the process (again).

Before Week One

The first section of The Artist’s Way book is all about the essential tools for the program. I’ve had mixed results with these in the past depending on where I was at in my life. But to refresh, here they are:

  • Morning Pages. You’re supposed to write three pages of longhand writing every morning. Sometimes I do this and sometimes I don’t, regardless of whether or not I’m currently in the AW process. Even when I’ve done it for months on end I’ve never felt like it was necessarily something I liked. I’ve been journalling for most of my life and sometimes a daily morning ritual works and sometimes it doesn’t give me anything. And I’m okay with that. I don’t believe that The Artist’s Way is intended to mandate certain requirements that I absolutely must use. If you were just starting the process for the first time I’d say you should try it and see how it works for you. As for me, my goal this time around is to journal daily, but not necessarily every morning … but I will try the morning thing once again to see how it feels.
  • Artist Dates. The idea here is that you schedule time with yourself each week to go do something inspiring. This one has been tough for me in the past but is now something that I regularly do anyway so keeping to it shouldn’t be an issue for me this time around. Spending time alone with myself embracing new things is a regular part of my life.
  • Daily walks. This one actually isn’t in The Artist’s Way but I know from Cameron’s subsequent books that it comes in later. It’s something I think is beneficial and don’t currently do so I’m going to add it to my experience of the process starting today.

Overview of Week One

Having started this program so many times, I’m really familiar with Week One! Here are the main ideas that are covered:

  • Shadow Artists. Many creative people don’t feel like they can really immerse themselves in their own creative urges so instead they do semi-creative things that support other people who are doing creative work. This is something I want to think about this week. On the one hand I am definitely doing creative things with writing, producing my own work, directing my own blogs, etc. But in other ways I think I do channel my own creativity into the easy-for-me river of writing when sometimes I think I’d prefer to also explore other forms of expression. So that’s something to think about.
  • Protecting the Artist Child Within. My main takeaway from this section is that sometimes creatives have a tendency to share their work too early. In talking it up they do many things that take away from the desire to create the art: making it seem bigger and more unmanageable that it really is, telling people who have negative things to say. This is definitely something I did a lot of when I was younger. And I still tend to do it in smaller ways although I’m more self-aware when it’s happening. Something to think about.
  • Core negative beliefs. This section talks about ridiculous things that we believe about ourselves. You start with a sentence like, “I can’t be a successful, prolific, creative artist because …” and fill in your honest beliefs that you objectively know aren’t true but seem to hold within anyway. I’ll be doing this exercise shortly.
  • Creative affirmations. I think affirmations are as hokey as the next person does. And yet, I think that they have value. We all say negative things to ourselves way too often so I think that it is only the smart thing to do to also say positive things. Part of this section is also learning to listen to the negative things that creep up when you say a positive thing so that you can better understand why the positive thing is hard for you to believe.

So that’s the gist of chapter one. It’s about learning to recognize your own creativity and give it tons and tons of support at this stage.

Some of My Favorite Affirmations

Here are some of the affirmations that I’ve gathered over the years (including during previous times of working through Artist’s Way!):

  • Creativity connects me to others; connection makes me more creativity.
  • Abundance abounds.
  • My creativity heals myself and others. (This is one from Julia Cameron that I’ve adopted for my own use.)
  • There is always a creative choice.
  • I am a creative.
  • All of the answers lie within.

Those are a few to start with. I’m sure I’ll add more. One of the things I try to do is to think of an affirmation each day that feels not only true but also helpful to the specific problems I’m encountering that day.

And off I go …

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  1. […] will be working with the practices of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way workbook series, which essentially says that creativity is a part of our nature and that it is safe […]