The Artist's Way: 30th Anniversary Edition

The Artist's Way: 30th Anniversary Edition

by Julia Cameron
The Artist's Way: 30th Anniversary Edition

The Artist's Way: 30th Anniversary Edition

by Julia Cameron


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Being an artist isn’t easy, but it gets a lot easier with Cameron’s coaching in The Artist’s Way. Digging into every stage of the creative process, from inspiration to recovery, you’ll find wisdom, insights, activities, activities, and more activities to help you connect with your deepest creative self.

"With its gentle affirmations, inspirational quotes, fill-in-the-blank lists and tasks — write yourself a thank-you letter, describe yourself at 80, for example — The Artist’s Way proposes an egalitarian view of creativity: Everyone’s got it."—The New York Times 
"Morning Pages have become a household name, a shorthand for unlocking your creative potential"Vogue

Over four million copies sold!

Since its first publication, The Artist's Way phenomena has inspired the genius of Elizabeth Gilbert and millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron's novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery.
The program begins with Cameron’s most vital tools for creative recovery – The Morning Pages, a daily writing ritual of three pages of stream-of-conscious, and The Artist Date, a dedicated block of time to nurture your inner artist. From there, she shares hundreds of exercises, activities, and prompts to help readers thoroughly explore each chapter. She also offers guidance on starting a “Creative Cluster” of fellow artists who will support you in your creative endeavors.

A revolutionary program for personal renewal, The Artist's Way will help get you back on track, rediscover your passions, and take the steps you need to change your life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143129257
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/25/2016
Series: Artist's Way
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 3,665
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Julia Cameron has been an active artist for four decades. She is the author of more than forty books, fiction and nonfiction, including such bestselling works on the creative process as The Artist’s Way, Walking in this World, Finding Water, and The Listening Path. A novelist, playwright, songwriter, and poet, she has multiple credits in theater, film, and television. She divides her time between Manhattan and the high desert of New Mexico.

Read an Excerpt

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.


Excerpted from "The Artist's Way"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Julia Cameron.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Natalie Goldberg vii

Introduction to the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition of The Artist's Way ix

Introduction xv

Spiritual Electricity: The Basic Principles 1

The Basic Tools 9

Week 1 Recovering a Sense of Safety 25

Shadow Artists 28

Your Enemy Within: Core Negative Beliefs 30

Your Ally Within: Affirmative Weapons 33

Creative Affirmations 36

Tasks 37

Check-In 40

Week 2 Recovering a Sense of Identity 41

Going Sane 41

Poisonous Playmates 42

Crazymakers 44

Skepticism 49

Attention 52

Rules of the Road 55

Tasks 56

Check-In 58

Week 3 Recovering a Sense of Power 61

Anger 61

Synchronicity 62

Shame 67

Dealing with Criticism 72

Detective Work, an Exercise 73

Growth 74

Tasks 75

Check-In 77

Week 4 Recovering a Sense of Integrity 79

Honest Changes 79

Buried Dreams, an Exercise 86

Reading Deprivation 87

Tasks 89

Check-In 90

Week 5 Recovering a Sense of Possibility 91

Limits 91

Finding the River 94

The Virtue Trap 96

The Virtue-Trap Quiz 101

Forbidden Joys, an Exercise 101

Wish List, an Exercise 102

Tasks 103

Check-In 104

Week 6 Recovering a Sense of Abundance 105

The Great Creator 105

Luxury 108

Counting, an Exercise 112

Money Madness, an Exercise 113

Tasks 113

Check-In 115

Week 7 Recovering a Sense of Connection 117

Listening 117

Perfectionism 119

Risk 121

Jealousy 123

The Jealousy Map, an Exercise 124

Archeology, an Exercise 125

Tasks 126

Check-In 127

Week 8 Recovering a Sense of Strength 129

Survival 129

The Ivory Power 131

Gain Disguised as Loss 134

Age and Time: Product and Process 138

Filling the Form 140

Early Pattemings, an Exercise 144

Affirmations 145

Tasks 146

Check-In 148

Week 9 Recovering a Sense of Compassion 151

Fear 151

Enthusiasm 153

Creative U-Tums 154

Blasting through Blocks 158

Tasks 160

Check-In 162

Week 10 Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection 163

Dangers of the Trail 163

Workaholism 166

Drought 169

Fame 171

Competition 172

Tasks 175

Check-In 178

Week 11 Recovering a Sense of Autonomy 179

Acceptance 179

Success 182

The Zen of Sports 184

Building Your Artist's Altar 189

Tasks 190

Check-In 191

Week 12 Recovering a Sense of Faith 193

Trusting 193

Mystery 194

The Imagination at Play 195

Escape Velocity 198

Tasks 200

Check-In 201

Creativity Contract 202

Epilogue 203

The Artist's Way 203

Words for It 204

The Artist's Way Questions and Answers 205

Creative Clusters Guide 211

Appendix 1 Trail Mix 217

Forming a Sacred Circle 217

An Artist's Prayer 223

Appendix 2 Trail Markers 225

Introduction to the Tenth Anniversary Edition of The Artist's Way

Reading List 233

Resources 237

Index 239

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