The Artist's Way
  • Alternative view 1 of The Artist's Way
  • Alternative view 2 of The Artist's Way

The Artist's Way

4.4 73
by Julia Cameron
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"Without The Artist's Way, there would have been no Eat, Pray, Love.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Still as vital today—or perhaps

Overview

"Without The Artist's Way, there would have been no Eat, Pray, Love.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Still as vital today—or perhaps even more so—than it was when it was first published one decade ago, it is a powerfully provocative and inspiring work. In a new introduction to the book, Julia Cameron reflects upon the impact of The Artist’s Way and describes the work she has done during the last decade and the new insights into the creative process that she has gained. Updated and expanded, this anniversary edition reframes The Artist’s Way for a new century.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book has been around for a long time, and I hope it sticks around forever. It guides the reader through a fascinating (and fun) 12-week-long program of exercises and explorations that help loosen up one’s artistic self. It takes you on a journey that will cost you nothing (aside from the guidebook) and it brings much insight, gently helping you see what is holding you back, and showing you how to move forward. Three times in the last decade I've committed to doing The Artist's Way's program, and each time I've learned something important and surprising about myself and my work. Just to show how influential it's been to me—the first time I did the program, I had decided by end of it that I wanted to 1) travel to Italy and learn Italian, 2) Go to an Ashram in India, and 3) Return to Indonesia to study with the old medicine man I'd once met there. We all know what THAT decision led to. . . Without The Artist's Way, there would have been no Eat, Pray, Love.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert

THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron is not exclusively about writing—it is about discovering and developing the artist within whether a painter, poet, screenwriter or musician—but it is a lot about writing. If you have always wanted to pursue a creative dream, have always wanted to play and create with words or paints, this book will gently get you started and help you learn all kinds of paying-attention techniques; and that, after all, is what being an artist is all about. It’s about learning to pay attention.”
—Anne Lamott, Mademoiselle
 
“The premise of the book is that creativity and spirituality are the same thing, they come from the same place. And we were created to use this life to express our individuality, and that over the course of a lifetime that gets beaten out of us. [THE ARTIST’S WAY] helped me put aside my fear and not worry about whether the record would be commercial.”
—Grammy award-winning singer Kathy Mattea
 
“Julia Cameron brings creativity and spirituality together with the same kind of step-by-step wisdom that Edgar Cayce encouraged. The result is spiritual creativity as a consistent and nourishing part of daily life.”
—Venture Inward
 
“I never knew I was a visual artist until I read Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY.”
—Jannene Behl in Artist’s Magazine
 
“Julia Cameron’s landmark book THE ARTIST’S WAY helped me figure out who I really was as an adult, not so much as an artist but as a person. And award-winning journalist and poet, Cameron’s genius is that she doesn’t tell readers what they should do to achieve or who they should be—instead she creates a map for readers to start exploring these questions themselves.”
—Michael F. Melcher, Law Practice magazine
 
“This is not a self-help book in the normative sense. It is simply a powerful book that can challenge one to move into an entirely different state of personal expression and growth.”
—Nick Maddox, Deland Beacon
 
THE ARTIST’S WAY (with its companion volume THE ARTIST’S WAY MORNING PAGES JOURNAL) becomes a friend over time, not just a journal. Like a journal, it provokes spontaneous insights and solutions; beyond journaling, it establishes a process that is interactive and dynamic.”
—Theresa L. Crenshaw, M.D., San Diego Union-Tribune
 
 “If you really want to supercharge your writing, I recommend that you get a copy of Julia Cameron’s book THE ARTIST’S WAY. I’m not a big fan of self-help books, but this book has changed my life for the better and restored my previously lagging creativity.”
—Jeffrey Bairstow, Laser Focus World
 
“Working with the principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Cameron developed a three month program to recover creativity. THE ARTIST’S WAY shows how to tap into the higher power that connects human creativity and the creative energies of the universe.”
—Mike Gossie, Scottsdale Tribune
 
THE ARTIST’S WAY is the seminal book on the subject of creativity and an invaluable guide to living the artistic life. Still as vital today—or perhaps even more so—than it was when it was first published in 1992, it is a provocative and inspiring work. Updated and expanded, it reframes THE ARTIST’S WAY for a new century.”
—Branches of Light
 
“THE ARTIST’S WAY has sold over 3 million copies since its publication in 1992. Cameron still teaches it because there is sustained demand for its thoughtful, spiritual approach to unblocking and nurturing creativity. It is, dare we say, timeless.”
—Nancy Colasurdo, FOXBusiness

Praise for VEIN OF GOLD, the second volume in the ARTIST’S WAY trilogy
 
“For those seeking the wellspring of creativity, this book, like its predecessor, is a solid gold diving rod.”
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Library Journal
Cameron's book, now in its tenth edition and accompanied by several spin-offs and sequels, ignited a mini-industry in personal creativity. Her writing has affinities with Eastern spirituality but is eminently practical.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585421466
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/2002
Edition description:
Tenth Anniversary Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
21,857
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

ALSO BY JULIA CAMERON

NONFICTION

 

The Artist’s Way
The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal
The Artist’s Date Book (illustrated by Elizabeth Cameron)
The Vein of Gold
The Right to Write
God Is No Laughing Matter

 

Supplies: A Troubleshooting Guide for Creative Difficulties
(illustrated by Elizabeth Cameron)

 

God Is Dog Spelled Backwards
(illustrated by Elizabeth Cameron)

 

Heart Steps
Blessings
Transitions

 

Inspirations: Meditations from The Artist’s Way
The Writer’s Life: Insights from The Rightto Write
The Artist’s Way at Work (withMark Bryan and Catherine Allen)
Money Drunk, Money Sober (with Mark Bryan)

 

 

FICTION

 

Popcorn: Hollywood Stories

 

The Dark Room

 

PLAYS

Public Lives
The Animal in the Trees
Four Roses
Love in the DMZ
Avalon (a musical)
Bloodlines
The Medium at Large (a musical)
Tinseltown (a musical)
Normal, Nebraska (a musical)

 

 

POETRY

 

Prayers for the Little Ones
Prayers for the Nature Spirits
The Quiet Animal
This Earth (also an album with Tim Wheater)

 

 

FEATURE FILM

(as writer-director)

 

God’s Will

Most Tarcher/Putnam books are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums,
fund-raising, and educational needs. Special books or book excerpts also can be created to fit specific needs.
For details, write Putnam Special Markets,
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

 

Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam a member of
Penguin Putnam Inc.
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
www.penguinputnam.com

 

Copyright © 1992, 2002 by Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way is a registered trademark of Julia Cameron.

 

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Published simultaneously in Canada

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Cameron, Julia.

The artist’s way : a spiritual path to higher creativity / Julia Cameron. p. cm.

ISBN: 9781101156889

I. Creative ability—Problems, exercises, etc. 2. Self-actualization (Psychology)—Problems, exercises, etc. 3. Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.) I. Title.

BF408.C175 1992

153.3’5—dc20 92—5906

CIP

 

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

 

MY ARTIST’ S WAY GRATITUDE LIST

AT THIS POINT, WELL over a million people have contributed to The Artist’s Way. It is truly a movement. There are, however, people without whom its safety and growth could not have occurred. I wish to thank some of them here.

Jeremy Tarcher, for publishing my work, editing and caring for it so carefully with his characteristic brilliance and vision.

Joel Fotinos, for nurturing and guarding my body of work—husbanding not only my work but my deepest heart and truest dreams with clarity and strength.

Mark Bryan, my gratitude for fighting to protect and defend my body of work, for his innovative and visionary thinking and capacity to understand and forgive our frequently—and necessarily—divergent paths.

My daughter, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, for sharing her mother and bearing the dual pressures of second-generation fame and first-rate talent. My gratitude for being always the kind of artist and person for whom I want to write good and useful books. With admiration for her shrewdness, tenderness, and sheer creative “guts.”

Emma Lively, with gratitude for her visionary strength and her bold and daring conviction in her work both with my music and my books. A true friend, not only to my creativity but also to my dreams and desires. We met through The Artist’s Way and my musical Avalon, and have enjoyed combining our Artist’s Ways as musical collaborators over the last four years.

Susan Schulman, with gratitude for her long years of devotion and commitment to The Artist’s Way, with admiration for her vision and with humility for her courage throughout our parallel and difficult trials.

With gratitude to Pat Black and company, for holding a steady course as The Artist’s Way, and I myself, grew in fits and starts.

With gratitude to David Groff, for his fine writing and thinking.

To Johanna Tani, for her graceful and acute editing.

And to Sara Carder, for her deft and careful assistance above and beyond the call of duty—all three of these creative souls.

James Nave, for his loyalty and generosity as a long-term teaching partner.

And to Tim Wheater, a special thank-you for his musical brilliance and creative and teaching partnering through multiple years and projects.

Gratitude also to Mauna Eichner and Claire Vaccaro, for their inspired and fastidious design work, remembering always that form follows function—to make my books embody that artist’s formula—“Beauty is truth, and truth is beauty.”

Gratitude always, too, to my sister and frequent collaborator, fine artist and cartoonist Libby Cameron, whose wit and whimsy allowed me to create additional tools to support The Artist’s Way. She well knows the truth that laughter is the best medicine, and helped me in administering creative first aid with a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. My deepest thanks for her inspired work on The Artist’s Date Book, Supplies, God Is Dog Spelled Backwards, and the upcoming How Not to Make Art—or anything else that really matters.

My gratitude to Sonia Choquette and Larry Lonergan, for their love and clarity of vision as I labored to bring into fruition large dreams from small seeds.

To Edmund Towle and Robert McDonald, for their creativity and chivalry as they both protected and inspired me to do all forms of my creative work.

Finally, I wish to thank those who have gone before me and shown me the path, most especially Julianna McCarthy, Max Showalter, John Newland, and all who hold a spiritual lantern to light our Artist’s Way with their artistry and generosity.

THIS SOURCEBOOK IS DEDICATED to Mark Bryan. Mark urged me to write it, helped shape it, and co-taught it. Without him it would not exist.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Introduction

 

WEEK 1 - Recovering a Sense of Safety

WEEK 2 - Recovering a Sense of Identity

WEEK 3 - Recovering a Sense of Power

WEEK 4 - Recovering a Sense of Integrity

WEEK 5 - Recovering a Sense of Possibility

WEEK 6 - Recovering a Sense of Abundance

WEEK 7 - Recovering a Sense of Connection

WEEK 8 - Recovering a Sense of Strength

WEEK 9 - Recovering a Sense of Compassion

WEEK 10 - Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection

WEEK 11 - Recovering a Sense of Autonomy

WEEK 12 - Recovering a Sense of Faith

 

EPILOGUE

The Artist’s Way Questions and Answers

Creative Clusters Guide

APPENDIX: TRAIL MIX

READING LIST

INDEX

About the Author

Excerpt from The Prosperous Heart

INTRODUCTION TO THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF THE ARTIST’S WAY

ART IS A SPIRITUAL transaction.

Artists are visionaries. We routinely practice a form of faith, seeing clearly and moving toward a creative goal that shimmers in the distance—often visible to us, but invisible to those around us. Difficult as it is to remember, it is our work that creates the market, not the market that creates our work. Art is an act of faith, and we practice practicing it. Sometimes we are called on pilgrimages on its behalf and, like many pilgrims, we doubt the call even as we answer it. But answer we do.

I am writing on a black lacquer Chinese desk that looks west across the Hudson River to America. I am on the far western shore of Manhattan, which is a country unto itself, and the one I am living in right now, working to cantilever musicals from page to stage. Manhattan is where the singers are. Not to mention Broadway. I am here because “art” brought me here. Obedient, I came.

Per capita, Manhattan may have a higher density of artists than anywhere else in America. In my Upper West Side neighborhood, cellos are as frequent and as ungainly as cows in Iowa. They are part of the landscape here. Writing at a typewriter, looking out across the lights, I too am something Manhattan knows very well. I write melody on a piano ten blocks from where Richard Rodgers, a gangly adolescent, climbed a short stoop to meet a short boy who became his longtime partner, Larry Hart. Together they dreamed through drought and flood.

My apartment is on Riverside Drive. At this narrow end of the island, Broadway is a scant block behind my back as I face west across the river, inky black now as the sun sets in colored ribbons above it. It is a wide river, not only dark, and on a windy day—and there are many—the water is choppy and white-capped. Cherry-red tugboats, as determined as beetles, push their prows into the waves, digging their way up and down the river, pushing long barges with their snouts. Manhattan is a seaport—and a landing for dreams.

Manhattan teems with dreamers. All artists dream, and we arrive here carrying those dreams. Not all of us are dressed in black, still smoking cigarettes and drinking hard liquor, still living out the tawdry romance of hard knocks in tiny walk-up flats filled with hope and roaches in neighborhoods so bad that the rats have moved on. No, just like the roaches, the artists are everywhere here, tenements to penthouses—my own building has not only me with my piano and typewriter but also an opera singer who trills in the inner canyons like a lark ascending. The neighborhood waiters are often—not always—actors, and the particularly pretty duck-footed neighborhood girls do dance, although you wouldn’t imagine their grace from their web-footed walks.

I drank a cup of tea at Edgar’s Cafe this afternoon, the cafe named for Edgar Allan Poe, who lived down here and died farther uptown, all the way in the Bronx. I’ve looked up into Leonard Bernstein’s ground-floor windows at the Dakota, and gone a little numb each time I pass the arched entryway where John Lennon was shot. In this apartment, I am a scant block from Duke Ellington’s haunts, and there’s a street named after him too. Manhattan is a town full of ghosts. Creative power—and powers—course through its vertical canyons.

It was in Manhattan that I first began teaching the Artist’s Way. Like all artists—like all of us if we listen—I experience inspiration. I was “called” to teach and I answered that call somewhat grudgingly. What about my art? I wondered. I had not yet learned that we do tend to practice what we preach, that in unblocking others I would unblock myself, and that, like all artists, I would thrive more easily with some companionship, with kindred souls making kindred leaps of faith. Called to teach, I could not imagine the good teaching would bring to me and, through me, to others.

In 1978 I began teaching artists how to “unblock” and “get back on their feet” after a creative injury. I shared with them the tools I had learned through my own creative practice. I kept it all as easy and gentle as I could.

“Remember, there is a creative energy that wants to express itself through you”; “Don’t judge the work or yourself. You can sort it out later”; “Let God work through you,” I told them.

My tools were simple and my students were few. Both tools and number of students grew steadily and hugely for the next ten years. At the beginning and, for the most part, always, my students were chiefly blocked or injured artists—painters, poets, potters, writers, filmmakers, actors, and those who simply wished to be anything more creative in their personal lives or in any of the arts. I kept things simple because they really were. Creativity is like crabgrass—it springs back with the simplest bit of care. I taught people how to bring their creative spirit the simple nutrients and nurturance they needed to keep it fed. People responded by making books, films, paintings, photographs, and much, much more. Word of mouth spread and my classes were easy to fill.

In the meanwhile, I kept making my own art. I wrote plays. I wrote novels and movies. I did feature films, TV, and short stories. I wrote poetry, then performance art. From doing this work, I learned more creative tools, wrote more teaching essays, and, at the urging of my friend Mark Bryan, I got the essays assembled into teaching notes and then into a proper book.

Mark and I stood elbow to elbow, printing and assembling the simple book that I could send out to people needing help. We mailed it in this form to perhaps a thousand people, who in turn photocopied and passed it on to their friends. We began to hear amazing stories of recovery: painters painting, actors acting, directors directing, and people with no declared art who began doing the art form they had always wished to do. We heard tales of sudden breakthroughs and slow awakenings.

Jeremy P Tarcher, the noted creativity and human potential publisher, read an early draft of the work and decided to publish it. Meanwhile, I divided the book into a twelve-week course, each section dealing with some specific issue. This simple book was the distillate of twelve years of teaching and twenty years of making art in many forms. At first I called it Healing the Artist Within. Finally, after much thought, I decided to call it The Artist’s Way. It explained and explored creativity as a spiritual issue. I began to witness my own miracles.

I often traveled to teach, and at book signings and public venues people began to hand me CDs, books, videos, and letters conveying this thought: “I used your tools and made this, thank you so much.” My most frequent compliment was, “Your book changed my life,” and I heard it from artists of little fame and great fame, in backwaters and on the international frontlines. Using the tools, painters went from being blocked to winning large, juried exhibitions. Writers went from not writing to winning Emmy and Grammy awards for their work. I found myself humbled by the power of God, the Great Creator, to restore strength, vitality, and inspiration to individual creative paths, diverse and divergent. One woman, a blocked writer in her mid-fifties, became an award-winning playwright. A longtime sideman conceived and executed a bravura solo album. Long-harbored dreams bloomed everywhere the Great Creator turned a gardening hand. I received thank yous that properly belonged to God. I was a spiritual conduit for the central spiritual fact that the Great Creator loved other artists and actively helped those who opened themselves to their creativity.

Artist to artist, hand to hand, The Artist’s Way began to spread. I heard about groups in the Panama jungle, in the outback, and at that other heart of darkness, The New York Times. Druid groups, Sufi groups, and Buddhist groups all found common ground in its simple creative precepts. The Artist’s Way reached the Internet, forming groups or, as I call them, “clusters” that were like large melon patches sending feeders and tendrils out to form now a group in England, now in Germany, now a Swiss Jungian contingent. Like life itself, The Artist’s Way, which began to be called a “movement,” did indeed move onward tenaciously, and even voraciously. Artists helping other artists proliferated. Works of art blossomed and careers took off and steadied, surrounded by supportive friends. I was a willing witness.

A hundred thousand people bought and used the book. Then two hundred, then a million, then more. We heard of, and occasionally helped initiate, The Artist’s Way’s use in hospitals, prisons, universities, human-potential centers, and often among therapists, doctors, AIDS groups, and battered women’s programs, not to mention fine-arts studios, theological programs, and music conservatories, and, of course, always passed hand to hand, mouth to mouth, heart to heart, artist to artist, as a form of first aid and gentle resuscitation. Like a miraculous garden, The Artist’s Way continued to grow, grow, and grow. It is still growing. Just this morning I received in the mail a newly published book and a thank-you. To date, The Artist’s Way appears in nearly twenty languages and has been taught or recommended everywhere from The New York Times to the Smithsonian, from Esalen to elite music studios at Juilliard. Like AA, Artist’s Way clusters have often gathered in church basements and healing centers, as well as in a thatched hut in Central America, and in a python-surrounded shack in Australia. Did I mention that many therapists run facilitated groups? They do. People “heal” because creativity is healthy—and practicing it, they find their greater selves. And we are all greater than we can conceive.

I wanted The Artist’s Way to be free and, like the twelve-step movement, largely leaderless and self-taught, growing through simplicity and lack of control, performing its expansion through an easy-does-it series of natural, call it seasonal, self-evolving checks and balances. “It will guard and guide and fix itself from abuses,” ran my approach.

As we passed the million mark, I feared for the necessary time and privacy to make my own art—without which personal experience I could not continue to help others. How could I write a teaching book if I had no fresh insights as to what to teach? Inch by inch, I retreated to the solitude of my personal creative laboratory—the still, quiet place within myself where I could make art and learn from the making of it. Every piece of art I made taught me what to teach. Every year I worked taught me that creativity was open-ended. There was no upper limit, although some growth was slow. Faith was the required ingredient.

I began to write dispatches, short, pointed books aimed at disarming the real and present dangers of trying to make a sane and gentle creative life. I wrote The Right to Write, Supplies, and other, more homely and gentle guides such as The Artist’s Date Book, The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal, and my prayer books aimed at creating a sense of safety and well-being for those who tread the creative path in this world. I wished for people good cheer and good companions. Although art was a spiritual path, it could best be trod with fellow pilgrims. People listened.

Meanwhile, Artist’s Way books were mandatory on certain tour buses in the music scene, included as savvy set decor on films, mailed off to and from grandmothers blooming brightly in their sturdy dotage, and served as a bridge for many successful artists to change creative habitats and genres.

As for myself, a novel, a short-story collection, and three plays found firm footing amid my publishing seventeen books and continuing, carefully, to both make art and teach. My students won prizes, and so did I. Utne Reader chose The Artist’s Way as a masterpiece, the poetry album I made with Tim Wheater was selected for best original score, and my teaching books continued to appear on bestseller and editor’s choice lists throughout America and the world. Is it any wonder I often felt dazed and confused, overwhelmed by the velocity of people and events? It is one of the ironies of a celebrated writer’s life that our natural inclination to sit alone behind a desk becomes more and more difficult to pursue. My own morning pages were an invaluable, continuing source of guidance. I was told both to seek solitude and to reach for the companionship of other artists who believed, as I did, that we were always led both by the Great Creator and by those who have gone before us, treading their Artist’s Way and loving the same art forms we do. Higher powers stand ready to help us if we ask. We must remain ready to ask, open-minded enough to be led, and willing to believe despite our bouts of disbelief. Creativity is an act of faith, and we must be faithful to that faith, willing to share it to help others, and to be helped in return.

Outside my window, out over the Hudson, a very large bird is soaring. I have seen this bird for days now, sailing, sailing on the fierce winds that are the slipstream around this island. It is too large to be a hawk. It is not shaped like a gull. The Hudson Valley is full of eagles, higher up. I cannot believe this is one, but it seems to know exactly what it is: eagle. It doesn’t tell its name. It wears it. Maybe, as artists, we are such birds, mistaken by ourselves and others for something else, riding the current of our dreams, hunting in the canyons of commerce for something we have seen from higher up. For artists, a wing and a prayer is routine operating procedure. We must trust our process, look beyond “results.”

Artists throughout the centuries have spoken of “inspiration,” confiding that God spoke to them or angels did. In our age, such notions of art as a spiritual experience are seldom mentioned. And yet, the central experience of creativity is mystical. Opening our souls to what must be made, we meet our Maker.

Artists toil in cells all over Manhattan. We have a monk’s devotion to our work—and, like monks, some of us will be visited by visions and others will toil out our days knowing glory only at a distance, kneeling in the chapel but never receiving the visitation of a Tony, an Oscar, a National Book Award. And yet the still, small voice may speak as loud in us as in any.

So we pray. Fame will come to some. Honor will visit all who work. As artists, we experience the fact that “God is in the details.” Making our art, we make artful lives. Making our art, we meet firsthand the hand of our Creator.

INTRODUCTION

WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME what I do, I usually answer, “I’m a writer-director and I teach these creativity workshops.”

The last one interests them.

“How can you teach creativity?” they want to know. Defiance fights with curiosity on their faces.

“I can’t,” I tell them. “I teach people to let themselves be creative.”

“Oh. You mean we’re all creative?” Now disbelief and hope battle it out.

“Yes.”

“You really believe that?”

“Yes.”

“So what do you do?”

This book is what I do. For a decade now, I have taught a spiritual workshop aimed at freeing people’s creativity. I have taught artists and nonartists, painters and filmmakers and homemakers and lawyers—anyone interested in living more creatively through practicing an art; even more broadly, anyone interested in practicing the art of creative living. While using, teaching, and sharing tools I have found, devised, divined, and been handed, I have seen blocks dissolved and lives transformed by the simple process of engaging the Great Creator in discovering and recovering our creative powers.

“The Great Creator? That sounds like some Native American god. That sounds too Christian, too New Age, too...” Stupid? Simple-minded? Threatening? ... I know. Think of it as an exercise in open-mindedness. Just think, “Okay, Great Creator, whatever that is,” and keep reading. Allow yourself to experiment with the idea there might be a Great Creator and you might get some kind of use from it in freeing your own creativity.

Because The Artist’s Way is, in essence, a spiritual path, initiated and practiced through creativity, this book uses the word God. This may be volatile for some of you—conjuring old, unworkable, unpleasant, or simply unbelievable ideas about God as you were raised to understand “him.” Please be open-minded.

 

The primary imagination I hold to be the Living Power.

SAMUEL TAYLOR
COLERIDGE

 

Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny.

PAUL TILLICH

 

I myself do nothing. The
Holy Spirit accomplishes all
through me.

WILLIAM BLAKE

 

Remind yourself that to succeed in this course, no god concept is necessary. In fact, many of our commonly held god concepts get in the way. Do not allow semantics to become one more block for you.

When the word God is used in these pages, you may substitute the thought good orderly direction or flow. What we are talking about is a creative energy. God is useful shorthand for many of us, but so is Goddess, Mind, Universe, Source, and Higher Power.... The point is not what you name it. The point is that you try using it. For many of us, thinking of it as a form of spiritual electricity has been a very useful jumping-off place.

By the simple, scientific approach of experimentation and observation, a workable connection with the flow of good orderly direction can easily be established. It is not the intent of these pages to engage in explaining, debating, or defining that flow. You do not need to understand electricity to use it.

Do not call it God unless that is comfortable for you. There seems to be no need to name it unless that name is a useful shorthand for what you experience. Do not pretend to believe when you do not. If you remain forever an atheist, agnostic—so be it. You will still be able to experience an altered life through working with these principles.

I have worked artist-to-artist with potters, photographers, poets, screenwriters, dancers, novelists, actors, directors—and with those who knew only what they dreamed to be or who only dreamed of being somehow more creative. I have seen blocked painters paint, broken poets speak in tongues, halt and lame and maimed writers racing through final drafts. I have come to not only believe but know:

No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity. One fifty-year-old student who “always wanted to write” used these tools and emerged as a prize-winning playwright. A judge used these tools to fulfill his lifelong dreams of sculpting. Not all students become full-time artists as a result of the course. In fact, many full-time artists report that they have become more creatively rounded into full-time people.

Through my own experience—and that of countless others that I have shared—I have come to believe that creativity is our true nature, that blocks are an unnatural thwarting of a process at once as normal and as miraculous as the blossoming of a flower at the end of a slender green stem. I have found this process of making spiritual contact to be both simple and straightforward.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron is not exclusively about writing—it is about discovering and developing the artist within whether a painter, poet, screenwriter or musician—but it is a lot about writing. If you have always wanted to pursue a creative dream, have always wanted to play and create with words or paints, this book will gently get you started and help you learn all kinds of paying-attention techniques; and that, after all, is what being an artist is all about. It’s about learning to pay attention.”
—Anne Lamott, Mademoiselle
 
“The premise of the book is that creativity and spirituality are the same thing, they come from the same place. And we were created to use this life to express our individuality, and that over the course of a lifetime that gets beaten out of us. [THE ARTIST’S WAY] helped me put aside my fear and not worry about whether the record would be commercial.”
—Grammy award-winning singer Kathy Mattea
 
“Julia Cameron brings creativity and spirituality together with the same kind of step-by-step wisdom that Edgar Cayce encouraged. The result is spiritual creativity as a consistent and nourishing part of daily life.”
—Venture Inward
 
“I never knew I was a visual artist until I read Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY.”
—Jannene Behl in Artist’s Magazine
 
“Julia Cameron’s landmark book THE ARTIST’S WAY helped me figure out who I really was as an adult, not so much as an artist but as a person. And award-winning journalist and poet, Cameron’s genius is that she doesn’t tell readers what they should do to achieve or who they should be—instead she creates a map for readers to start exploring these questions themselves.”
—Michael F. Melcher, Law Practice magazine
 
“This is not a self-help book in the normative sense. It is simply a powerful book that can challenge one to move into an entirely different state of personal expression and growth.”
—Nick Maddox, Deland Beacon
 
THE ARTIST’S WAY (with its companion volume THE ARTIST’S WAY MORNING PAGES JOURNAL) becomes a friend over time, not just a journal. Like a journal, it provokes spontaneous insights and solutions; beyond journaling, it establishes a process that is interactive and dynamic.”
—Theresa L. Crenshaw, M.D., San Diego Union-Tribune
 
 “If you really want to supercharge your writing, I recommend that you get a copy of Julia Cameron’s book THE ARTIST’S WAY. I’m not a big fan of self-help books, but this book has changed my life for the better and restored my previously lagging creativity.”
—Jeffrey Bairstow, Laser Focus World
 
“Working with the principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Cameron developed a three month program to recover creativity. THE ARTIST’S WAY shows how to tap into the higher power that connects human creativity and the creative energies of the universe.”
—Mike Gossie, Scottsdale Tribune
 
THE ARTIST’S WAY is the seminal book on the subject of creativity and an invaluable guide to living the artistic life. Still as vital today—or perhaps even more so—than it was when it was first published in 1992, it is a provocative and inspiring work. Updated and expanded, it reframes THE ARTIST’S WAY for a new century.”
—Branches of Light
 
“THE ARTIST’S WAY has sold over 3 million copies since its publication in 1992. Cameron still teaches it because there is sustained demand for its thoughtful, spiritual approach to unblocking and nurturing creativity. It is, dare we say, timeless.”
—Nancy Colasurdo, FOXBusiness

Praise for VEIN OF GOLD, the second volume in the ARTIST’S WAY trilogy
 
“For those seeking the wellspring of creativity, this book, like its predecessor, is a solid gold diving rod.”
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

 

Meet the Author

Award-winning writer Julia Cameron is the author of seventeen books, fiction and nonfiction, including The Artist's Way, The Vein of Gold, and The Right to Write, her bestselling works on the creative process. A novelist, playwright, songwriter and poet, she has extensive credits in theater, film, and television.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Artist's Way 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dreams: Our fond hopes and aspirations. Dreams are born of crisis. Dreams are born of chance. Dreams are born of choice. The early to mid 1990's was an awful time for me an my family. Picture one bad thing crashing in on top of the other. 'Why God'?, I cried, more in despair,then anger. I was heartbroken. THE ARTIST'S WAY is a guide on the journey to recapture and nourish the things of our youth; spontaneity, joy, adventurousness, and creativity. 'In a sense,' writes author Julia Cameron, ' our lives become our work of art.' If Cameron is correct,then I had allowed my work to reflect a life filled with 'crazymakers,' 'dream killers,' and codependece. I had lost sight of precious priorities. The atrophy of success had dulled my sense of possibility. Using her own life illustrations, Julia Cameron presents a progression of exercises for a twelve week program to reclaim 'the creative self.' I recommend 'reading deprivation.' ('For most blocked creatives reading is an addiction. We gobble the words of others rather than digest our own thoughts and feelings, rather than cook up something of our own.') I also recommend affirmations.(Put them in writing.) Cameron calls THE ARTIST'S WAY her spiritual journey,'a pilgrimage home to the self.' It is for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On Christmas of 1994 my husband gave me this book by my request. I began The Artist's Way the next day and threw myself into the program lock, stock and barrel. Now, all these years later, I can honestly say that this book was among one of my major influences in life. I not only became more aware of my creativity, I learned to be aware of times when I let it go lax, so that I can reclaim it. There is never anything like the first time you go through the 12 weeks. I tried to recreate the experience, but it is never as powerful. I advise anyone doing this to do ALL the steps. Do not skip things like reading deprivation and the money issues because otherwise you will miss something you need to understand the larger process. TAW has brought many wonderful things to my life, not the least gave me the courage to begin college at the age of 43. Now I am an English teacher and I love my career. One of the things colleagues always say is that I am creative. It is a direct result of living the principles of this book. It is never too late to find the creative life. Don't just BUY this book -- take it for all its worth!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome! I re-connected with thoughts and dreams I'd either forgotten or never knew I had. The 'as a kid' exercise ( pg. 125) helps dredge up some of those thoughts and dreams. In the exercise, you complete several sentences. For example, 'As a kid, I missed the chance to . . .' or 'As a kid, I lacked . . .' or 'As a kid, I dreamed of being . . . .' I discovered that I thought extreme snowboarding, jai alai, and poker are fun things I'd never do (page 87). One of my favorite exercises was to list 20 things for 'If I didn't have to do it perfectly, I would try. . .' Tango lessons. Surfing. Flower arranging. Wearing a kimono. Writing a verse play. This book asks you to make lots of lists--which I liked. From the 'five people you admire' to 'five favorite childhood foods' (pages 76-77). Ovaltine rocks!!! And so does this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had been artistically dead for 7 years. This book found ME. From the first page to the last I felt that it was written just for me. I am not an easy sell when it come s to 'self-help'at all but this book saved my life and I am experiencing successes that I could not have dreamed of earlier. If you are an artist or want to understand yourself better, this book will help you.
Richard_Szponder More than 1 year ago
The Artist's Way is a profound exploration into creative recovery. Never before have I found a book that is so aligned with my own person value system, and never before has book so immensely impacted my life in a positive way. In The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron has developed a life-changing 12-week course in discovering the meaning of life. I've always known that my creativity is the life force that drives me, but I have never understood why I was so intensely blocked. From the first few pages of The Artist's Way, I knew I had stumbled into a course that was going to take me deeper into discovering things about myself that I had never previously understood. Fundamental to success in the course are two foundational elements: The Morning Pages and Artist Dates. The Morning Pages are three hand-written daily journal pages written first things in the morning, a stream-of-consciousness purging of problems, fears, concerns, hopes, dreams, and anything else that consumes the mind. The Artist Date is a weekly excursion to be taken alone with the intention of refilling the mind with new ideas and revitalization after a week of creative effort. Cameron's approach to creativity is rooted in spirituality, and her concepts are dependent upon acceptance of some higher power, who she refers to as The Great Creator. According to Cameron, everyone has access to the creative flow of the universe, and being creative is inherent in our nature. Understanding the root causes of blocked creativity (fear, upbringing, society, stereotypes, misperceptions) is the first step in becoming unblocked. Over the course of 12-weeks, Cameron forces her readers into some of their darkest places, uncovering and acknowledging demons that have molded them into the fearful and doubtful individuals they are today. Through a series of therapeutic writing exercises and other activities, these issues are dealt with head-on. Cameron explores the concept of the Censor, the inner voice that tells us we are not talented, original, or worthy of a creative life. The Artist's Way teaches its readers how to recognize and silence those debilitating thoughts. As I proceeded through the 12-weeks of the course, I found myself astonished at how accurately my own creative recovery reflected the stages in the book. From week to week, I was amazed at how Cameron's essays seemed to speak directly to the exact point at which I had arrived in my own creative recovery. Prior to this course, I felt that I had no time to accomplish anything. Having finished the course, I find myself rising early and writing every morning and ending each day by painting. I have learned to love and appreciate the process of creating without focusing on the end product of my work. Additionally, finding satisfaction in my own creativity has had a profound physical impact as well. I've lost weight, am exercising more, and enjoying life more than ever. This is the best book I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love The Artist’s Way and decided to buy this edition and read it again on my Nook. There are typos on every page, sometimes more than two are three. The word “are” appears as “arc” 75% of the time, which is incredibly distracting and annoying. Three or four words run together several times on a page. Many times the letter “e” in any word appears as “c”, forcing me to re-read a sentence to make any sense of. "Teach" is "Tcach". I can't even figure out what "yecchy" means. You would think they would have taken more care with such an important book. Waste of money.
TheSeekingWriter More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book that was originally suggested to me by a counselor when I was going through a difficult depression. This book takes you on a week by week process with the tasks and chapters guiding you to realize the things that you truly want for yourself. I truly believe that this book is helpful to anyone who tries it. It's especially great for those who want to realize what their passion is or how to pursue that passion.
EndlessRose More than 1 year ago
This book was one I picked up at a local library and had to have. After beginning the process for recovering my creativity and really reconnecting with the source of that creatvitiy, I began to flourish. My creative side surfaced. I began to write poems for my family, draw more often, and my hopes of writing a book has turned into two books that are just seeming to flow right from the pen. Most importantly, I have a better sense of those blocks that have been set in place from early in life and how they can be overcome. Cameron has a wonderful way of expressing her methods, and she is sound in her delivery. We are truly all creative simply because we are born of creation. Why would we not be creative? With weekly assignments and daily routines that do not take much time, we can begin to stir those parts of us that we may never have known exist. We will have more peace about when our "art" is to be presented, and it doesn't all have to be for fame and recognition. It should be about creating first,and expressing who it is that we are made to be. The rest will follow. I recommmend this book to anyone who wants to express themselves in a more creative and loving way with any type of medium.
lovinlifeCA More than 1 year ago
I never knew I was creative before and now I am painting and doing thing with my artist side that I never knew were possible! This was a wonderful book. I recommend doing this with a book club! We loved it!
ClaireD More than 1 year ago
If you need help with breaking through the many seeming blocks to expressing your unigue contribution to the form of art you love, (writing,fine art,acting,music) you will love this book.
GinMint More than 1 year ago
This book teaches you to connect with your creative self with specific weekly tasks. I have now been writing daily for the last year since first reading and completing the tasks. I have since given the book as gifts to three friends experiencing creative droughts. This may jump start you if you are blocked in your personal and professional relationships, in the midst of career crisis and more. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy this book. It is really helpful for everyday life as well as for preparing for an artistic endeavor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I joined An Artist Way Group twelve weeks ago and within that time I have learned so much about myself. I have discovered that I actuallly enjoy writing, reading, gardening, meeting new people etc. etc. The book was a wonderful tool for change. So many encouraging quotes and a no nonsense approach to discovering your artistic talents - art is individual - music, writing, painting, singing, spiirituality, photography, whatever gives you creative pleasure. the mornng pages are wonderful, frustrating, creative, fun, annoying, plesureable, and all the other emotions in between! they are addictive in the nicest posssible way! Working with this book within a group is so supportive and challenging, give it a go .. yo have so much to gain.. time out for you ... discovering a hidden talent, a hidden you. So go on let yourself blossom, the world needs you.. Go For It!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because of the lessons I learned in this book, I am beginning to realize dreams I've had since I was a child. And it feels GOOD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a professional musician who's come to a crossroads careerwise. I felt like the weight of a giant hand was holding me down. Then I picked up this book. Just doing the basics,the morning pages, changed my life. I now start each day with a jump (literally) instead of dread and accompanining questions. Also I've let myself explore other aspects of creativity in other fields 'just for fun', and as a result I feel further enriched as a person.
HemingFaulkBeck More than 1 year ago
in fact she'll help you get back in sync with this 12 week program. I know because I am on my 3rd round. Ive used it to get back into my artistic creative self, write fiction, even applied to recovering from diabetes.
BHS More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago and continue to return to it for guidance and motivation. I have recommended it to many. I wish everyone would be interested in the insights Julia Cameron shares. The quotes from others are also interesting and helpful.
open-to-creativity More than 1 year ago
Expand your life and grow to whom you were meant to be. Are you trapped doing the same things and yearning to reach your dreams? The Artist Way can catapult you into your dreams and broaden your life every day. The Artist Way allows for expansion and growth in 12 weeks. This book is priceless!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was given this book on my birthday last year. I originally met it with severe skepticism but, with taking a leap of faith and taking the plunge, I fell in love with it. It is universally applicable to all types of creativity as well as all levels. As a singer songwriter I have found the morning pages quite helpful...there have been some amazing moments where the pen and paper directed my mind and hand...the creator truly was working through me. BUY THIS FOR ANY CREATIVE PERSON IN YOUR LIFE! THEY WILL APPRECIATE THE POSITIVE TRANSFORMAION THE BOOK FACILITATES!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't tell you how many self-help books I have read that sound so inspiring, feel so right... then nothing changes. This is NOT one of those books. This book will change your life if you let it. It is a 12 week program for unblocking the artist within, and it is working for me and and at least 4 others that I know. This book is worth it's weight in gold!! I really can't say enough about it. If you are a budding artist; be it a painter, musician, writer, photographer or even a baker, let this book work its magic on you. It has even inspired me to make a website devoted to it's theories!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ratatatnat More than 1 year ago
A repetitive book by a know it all. Sorry, that was mean but this woman is infuriating in her tone that being an artist requires very little work. It’s New Age trite. Gag.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, easy to read and understand, book on how to break free of whatever is stopping you from creating whether it is writing, drawing, photographes, anything you really want to do. How to get, and be, in touch with creative forces in the universe waiting to help you.