Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Artist's Way: Permission to be a Beginner

Remember that in order to recover as an artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one.

When I make this point in teaching, I am met by instant defensive hostility: "But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?"

Yes... the same age you will be if you don't.
So let's start.
~ Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

At a New Year's Eve party last night, a friend of mine casually mentioned that she had picked up The Artist's Way and thought of me! This is the third time that the book has entered my awareness in the last six weeks—a sure sign that I'm supposed to do something with it.

The Artist's Way has been around for years. I received it as a graduation gift 20 years ago but at the time, my artist was in deep hibernation. Like, really deep! Like, the book may as well have been written in a foreign language! And, I have to admit that I've never finished it all the way through but realize now that many of my own practices as well as those that I've prescribed for others who I've coached were inspired by this book.

If the book intimidates you, I'm thinking of boiling it down to it's essentials here and see if that works better for you.

What a perfect way to kick off 2015! 12 weeks of nurturing creativity! Who's in? If this feels like just the right thing for you and you want a little accountability, join me. This is my accountability!!! ;P

I'll do weekly check-in's on Mondays—for Chapter 1 on January 26 ( give you time to decide/get book/get acclimated etc. to join the fun.)

Bare Essentials for Chapter 1:
1. Morning Pages: This used to be killer for me. Now, it's not. For a) I use my Moleskin journals which are 3.5 x 5.5! :)

If all you do is fill 3 pages every day with all the reasons why you feel wobbly and inadequate as an artist, it has served it's purpose. For reals. This a great place to contain your Inner Critic.

2. Artist's Date: If you need ideas, click the link. But simply and most importantly, spend at least 2-3 hours 1x weekly doing something you absolutely love, that brings you joy, that fills up your creative well.

3. If you have the book, pick any one of the tasks Julia describes for Chapter 1. If you don't have the book, do this one that has worked really well for me and my artist friends:

A Day in Your Dream Life
If you could do/be anything, what would it be and what does a regular day of that life look like. Paint the picture for yourself, use descriptive words! ;) What time do you wake up? And what time do you go to bed? What's the first thing you do? Where are you? What do you do for most of the day? Describe how it feels to live this way. Describe how you are in this life.

You can add a comment below—what you did for your artist's date. If you feel like sharing your dream life you can or simply write "done" if you've completed your tasks or "2" for number of hours you spent nurturing your artist child.

Happy New Year!
Until soon....


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, H! It's going to be fun! Promise!

  2. I started and made it through chapter one back in September . . . then things got crazy and I've been slacking. I believe it's time to drag out the book and journal again and get going with it. Especially since it's sitting right here beside my favorite chair. Thanks for the nudge. ;)