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October 09, 2017

The Artist's Way / Books for Writers



NOTE: I will be giving away a paperback copy of this book in my October 24th newsletter. Are you subscribed? Make sure you are so you have a chance to enter. Sign Up Here


If you’re not a spiritual person, there are things about this book that you may not like, but there are also things that you’ll benefit from. NOTE: There are mixed reviews. Much of the book I didn’t connect with, but many techniques I found to be smart and clever.



One of these techniques is morning pages. Julia Cameron encourages you to wake up each morning, and before you do anything (even have the first cup of coffee), write 3 pages of whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense or be descriptive. “Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included.” Even if all you write about are your problems, get it down, because that negativity is lowering your creativity.

Julia discusses our censor. This is where out critic is, and Julie says, “always remember that your censor’s negative options are not the truth.” She prompts us to find a cartoon image of our censor (perhaps the shark from JAWS), put an X through it, and post it where we write.

“Just making the censor into the nasty, clever little character that it is begins to pry loose some of its power over you and your creativity.”

And two pieces of advice that rang true to me: 

“Judging your early artistic efforts is artistic abuse.”

“…you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself the permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, overtime, a very good one.”

This book is also a 12-week course “to becoming and discovering your creative self.” Julia walks you through tasks to help you get to know yourself and your dreams, and she pushes you to meet those dreams by taking easy steps. Some of these may seem silly, but I’ve always enjoyed self-help books. I couldn’t do all of the lessons because I got the book from the library, but I did create wish lists.




QUESTIONS: What image would you use for your censor?


52 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting exercise she suggests. I'm spiritual in that I have a relationship with God so I might enjoy it.

Lidy said...

I'd fallen off but I usedto make it a habit to write 100-200 new words to a story before getting out of bed in the morning.

Carrie-Anne said...

I was spiritual long before I was religious. Many people who aren't involved with organized religion are deeply spiritual, just as many people deeply involved with organized religion aren't always so spiritual.

Pat Hatt said...

Not spiritual, but it makes sense. We all have to produce the crap so we learn and grow and it becomes less crappy haha

Chrys Fey said...

I understand that. In terms of this book, the author references God, so that's why I say "spiritual" and also because it's in the book's title..,

Unknown said...

I've heard of this book. I'm not spiritual and it's a great fit for me but I've heard it's helped a lot of writers.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I find I enjoy Morning Pages at different times in my life. When it starts to feel too much like homework, I know it's time to stop for a bit. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Can I have my morning cup of coffee first? Otherwise it might take me two hours to write three pages.

sage said...

I have read many books that have workshops, and have found much to appreciate from them, but have not been one to do the workshops. I do consider myself a spiritual person and I often write when I first get up (often recording dreams).

nashvillecats2 said...

This was interesting to read Chrys....what's going on outside my poetry world.

Yvonne.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

LOL. I guess my scary censor would be a picture of a spider or stink bug. I remember when all beginning writers were advised to read this book.

Chrys Fey said...

She had a lot of interesting exercises in this book.

Chrys Fey said...

That would be a very good routine to get in to.

Chrys Fey said...

That is the process for sure.

Chrys Fey said...

I can imagine it's helped countless writers. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It definitely shouldn't feel like homework. That's what journaling ends up feeling for me if I try to do it each day.

Chrys Fey said...

She says even before coffee. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Sometimes I skip the exercises. Unless it's an easy one.

Chrys Fey said...

I wonder what is going on inside your poetry world. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I still haven't figured out what my scary censor is.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I could get up early, but must, must have coffee first. Otherwise no words would come out, says a true coffee addict. Sounds like a great book!

Liz A. said...

Sounds like a book I'll have to check out. My inner censor... I'll have to think on that. Something will come to me. But, I could not write first thing in the morning. I have a hard enough time getting out of bed to get to work on time as it is.

Juneta key said...

I know a lot of people really like and recommend that book. I did enjoy reading but like you I did not really connect with it.

I connect more with The Author's Mindset by Joanna Penn and The Art of War (not the old book by same title but different author which is a good read) BUT James Scott Bell book by same title. Also his book The Mental Game for Writers.

I do think The Artist Way is worth a read especially if you have never read at least once. There are some good techniques in it as you stated. She clever with writing that makes a enjoyable read.

I like self help books too almost as much as love writing craft books but not quite. LOL>

Kelly Steel said...

I think I'll get this book as I've never read it before.

Jay Noel said...

I'm a spiritual person, so I'd check it out for sure.

Our own censor = ego. It thrives on fooling us on what's REAL.

sherry fundin said...

Looks like she has some great advice.
sherry @ fundinmental

Lisa Thomson said...

I borrowed this book from a friend many years ago. I really enjoyed it and found it extremely valuable. I don't know why I didn't buy my own copy? Thanks for the review, Chrys!

Magic Love Crow said...

I like what you shared about this book!

Tyrean Martinson said...

My censor is a scarily formidable, spike-heeled woman in a tight red dress holding a barbed red pen. Picturing my censor this way helps me realize that I'm a casual person for a reason and my writing suits me, not ... her.

Elizabeth said...

Sounds interesting, and I like the spiritual aspect. It's fun with books present activities to connect readers to the concepts.

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about timely. Allow yourself to be a beginner. That's me. I'm getting ready to submit my first piece to the anthology and I'm so afraid. It's the first time I'm sending something to be judged by true, accomplished writers and it's scary! But we all need to start somewhere, huh?

Elsie

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I've heard of this book but have not read it. Maybe it's time I did. My censor is always at work. Would like to ignore it Not sure who/what the censor is. Thanks for the info.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm not a morning person, so I think I'd struggle with this, too.

Chrys Fey said...

I hate getting out of bed, too.

Chrys Fey said...

Those are two books I'll have to check out sometime. I enjoy self-help and writing books, too.

Chrys Fey said...

Let me know what you think of it.

Chrys Fey said...

Right indeed.

Chrys Fey said...

She does. Different advice. :)

Chrys Fey said...

This would be a good one to own, especially because of the exercises.

Jacqui Murray said...

You stopped me at 'before your first cup of coffee'. Is that even possible? Hmm...

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I love the artistic abuse idea. I can criticize myself into a fetal position when my brain is feeling evil...like a little droll troll.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks!

Chrys Fey said...

I love that!

Chrys Fey said...

I think you'd like this book. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Good luck with your submission!!!

Chrys Fey said...

Maybe if you know what it looks like, I'll be able to find a way to ignore it. :)

Chrys Fey said...

An artist's brain can be especially evil.

Chrys Fey said...

I don't know. I've never tried it. lol

H.R. Bennett said...

If there is one good piece of advice here, and one I fight with every day day, it's that last one. It's easy to hate your own work into non-completion.

Toi Thomas said...

I struggle with reading self-help books, whether spiritual or not (and I have a relationship wiht God), but I migh be willing to give this one a try. I think I'm just waiting for someone to write an amazing self-help or how-to book, disguised as a fairytale or mystery novel.

Chrys Fey said...

It is a lot easier. Something we all have to work on, huh?

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad that you might give this one a try. There's a self-help book out there for everyone, even for those who usually don't like them. :)