Julia Cameron is the author of the Artist’s Way. Written 20 years ago, it is the defining book for those interested in exploring their creativity. It’s estimated that over 4 million people have read the book and Julia still teaches the 12 week programme in her home town of Santa Fe. You can find out more about Julia and her new programme at www.juliacameronlive.com
The inspiration for the book was Julia’s boyfriend (now husband!). He was a writer but he was blocked and having problems writing. She wrote the book to help him overcome this creative block.
Overcoming creative blocks
Although Julia never had writers block, she found that she wasn’t writing freely either. She was conscious of striving for perfection during the writing process. She was also drinking to try and enable her to write more freely but found that writing and drinking don’t mix. Alcohol opened a window then slammed it shut.
She found it better to write without alcohol. She also stopped trying to ‘control’ the writing so her work would be without ego. This enabled her to be an open tool for inspiration and writing to move through her.
Morning pages are a tool to help you unblock your creativity. Julia calls them a western version of meditation. Every morning spend 20 minutes writing your thoughts down – write down whatever comes into your head/you are thinking about.
The benefits of doing morning pages are that you will release any thoughts/problems you are holding inside. It also helps to miniaturise your inner sensor (which is usually your negative internal voice), then enable you to ignore it as you keep writing. This then becomes a transportable life skill which can be used anywhere and in any situation. Nobody can be fearless, but you can be taught to push past it. Morning pages will help you to do this.
Why is creativity important in business?
Everyone can be creative. Traditionally, artists have talked of ideas/inspiration coming straight from God. We don’t tend to say that so much these days but that is an artist’s experience of inspiration – a higher power striving to get our ideas out to the world
The ideas and tools raised in the book also work for business people. Business is a creative arena and using morning pages gives you a safe place to vent issues and frustration and gives you the opportunity to explore ideas.
Other tools to help open up creativity:
You should try to go on an ‘artist’s date’ once a week. It’s a solo expedition to do something fun and enchanting. Your morning pages will help you to recognise your like’s and dislikes, as well as those things/activities you want to do more or less of.
When you go on an Artists Date you enable yourself to turn the dial to help you receive inspiration and you’ll find that your synchronicity improves too.
An artist’s date could be something simple like a visit to a children’s bookstore, fabric store or a meal in a new restaurant. You don’t have to expose yourself to art. You can get inspiration from any environment.
Don’t work at it – it should be enjoyable. The idea is plan ahead of time and woo yourself, so that you learn to love yourself a bit more.
Walking is an enormously powerful tool and helps people to integrate the inspiration gained from morning pages and the artist’s date. You can literally get into the body through walking.
Walk at least twice a week for 20 minutes. You’ll often find that you set out with a problem but come back with a solution.
Explore your own creativity
Julia has just launched a new website: www.juliacameronlive.com which is for people who can’t study with Julie personally and covers her 12 week programme.
Filmed in her home the programme includes video lessons, a forum and a vibrant community. A broad mix of people are involved, as anyone’s life can become enlivened by embracing the creative side of themselves. Her course/book is about transition –everyone tells her that the book has changed their life.
For those who say creativity isn’t important Julia thinks this is what people tell themselves to talk themselves out of their dreams. There are enormous benefits to tapping into your own creativity – it makes people more cheerful and literally enlightened, as if they have been lit up from inside
Julia’s main tips for exploring creativity are to do your morning pages regularly. Surprisingly, she also suggests accounting! Not the most creative activity you might think, but money should be channelled to your greatest joys. To ensure you have enough money, don’t spend blindly. Simple accounting will highlight where you are spending your money. For example, you love the theatre but never have enough money. Your accounting may show that you are spending £4 a day in Starbucks. Forgo that coffee and save the money for a theatre ticket.
Julia’s new book with Emma Lively is about individuals who depend on a sense of abundance with a connection to the divine and not with a paycheck. This 12 week programme helps people to explore their feelings towards debt, money and abundance.