Get unblocked: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

On my birthday last fall, a casual conversation with a co-worker about writing and my new AlphaSmart Neo resulted in a surprising gift from her a couple of hours later. A writer herself, she was so excited about my foray into writing that she went to Barnes & Noble on her lunch break and bought me two books, one of which would change my life.

The first was Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg. It was good, but it felt a bit like a stream of consciousness, devotional, New Age book that didn’t quite resonate with me.

The second book—The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron—rocked my world.

Everyone has a spiritual journey. I am a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ, but I had only recently begun to feel God’s presence again after a very, very long drought. This book came at just the right time. I have always known God as my Creator, but to make the leap from God being my Creator to God creating through me—to be a channel of his work—was mind blowing. It was such a simple concept, and perhaps an obvious one to some, but one that had not penetrated my consciousness. It made me understand that the ache I had been feeling to write was a calling.

In her book, Julia Cameron provided a list of affirmations, several of which just clicked in my brain:

“I am a channel for God’s creativity, and my work comes to good.”

“My dreams come from God and God has the power to accomplish them.”

“Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.”

“As I create and listen, I will be led.”

“I am willing to be of service through my creativity.”

Cameron’s book encourages the reader to write morning pages: every morning, write three pages, without fail. Doing so using her tasks and writing prompts resulted in helping to unblock my creativity. This, along with prayer, helped me get past my fears and gave me the freedom to ignore my inner critic.

She is realistic in her encouragement. She says many artists don’t produce because they expect the first attempt to be perfect. She reminds us that most of us will create junk at first. We can’t create masterpieces without first creating dribble, practicing, refining, working hard, and arriving at a work of art. It’s not instantaneous. It takes a lot of work.

Morning pages also resulted in the idea for my first novel. The idea was conceived in my morning pages, birthed last November during NaNoWriMo, and is currently being reared from childhood to adulthood. It has a long way to go. I’ve edited it as far as I can take it, and it is now with my first reader.

I’m enjoying this phase in the process where I am full of hope. I haven’t yet been rejected by an agent or a publisher. That day will come, I’m sure. And I will learn from it and only get better. But for now I will enjoy this time.

Write to me.

Have you read The Artist’s Way? I would love to hear how it changed your life.

Are you a blocked writer? Have you always wanted to write but don’t know where to start? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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