Understanding our creative process helps lead us through change. Creativity, specifically, encourages helps our brains to form previously unrelated connections, which allows us view personal and professional matters from new perspectives. So I know things are crazy right now, but we can pull through this. Maybe not unscathed, but hopefully as better people.

Oh! And Happy Independence Day to my fellow creative Americans!

Besides, our challenges offer us a chance to reflect on what we want out of life, and ultimately determine who we want to be. I try to hold onto this attitude during tough times. They say nothing worth pursuing ever comes easily, right?

Recently, I read The Artist’s Way’s introduction to get an idea of the basic concepts in preparation for my upcoming challenge. The following are my thoughts on each section.

Spiritual Connection

Cameron begins the introduction by discussing her personal story and then follows this by presenting her views on spiritual connection and how it affects creative flow.

I’ve long considered myself Agnostic. Spiritually, I feel I cannot claim to know for sure what’s right. I could go into the whole “how can we exist without a creator, but how can a creator exist without a creator” argument. I’d rather refrain from sparking religious or political debate on this blog, though. These are sensitive topics, and I want to keep things friendly with people from all walks of life. 😊

I only stress this section because I’ve heard many people say they’ve avoided the book for this very reason. I avoided it in my younger days over this. But Cameron states,

“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.”

This sentiment won me over. I’m open to improving my creative process, and I’m willing to explore different ways in which I might do so. I can live with only embracing the parts that work for me.

Creative Process Tool #1: Morning Pages

The first of the two primary tools presented for improving the creative process is morning pages. They are also are considered the most important.

I offered my thoughts on Morning Pages in one of my last posts (you can find it here), but I wanted to add a couple of quotes from the author that I believe to be important. First, Cameron states,

“Put simply, morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness.”

Oops. I’ve been writing my daily thoughts for months now, and I haven’t been handwriting them at all. I don’t plan to during the next 13 weeks either. I’m going to stick with what I know works for me. I’m grasping onto Cameron’s words here,

“There is no wrong way to do morning pages.”

Does typing make it less real somehow, not as intimate? This viewpoint would be understandable. However, I write my daily thoughts on my laptop, and I haven’t found this to be true. Perhaps, it’s because I’ve been so focused on self-assessment exercises lately that typing has become second nature.

I would admit that typing makes avoiding ones’ diabolical inner editor more challenging, though. You may as well highlight your backspace button with a big, ugly bullseye.

We must let go of our grammatical errors as part of the creative process

Just remember that letting go of your mistakes is the point of this type of stream-of-consciousness writing. You want to unload your dark and dirty thoughts here, not try to write a bestselling memoir.

We Could All Use a Good (Brain) Dump

Cameron refers to this process as “brain drain.” I’ve always heard it referred to as “brain dump.” Here’s a handy article from Morning Coffee with Dee on the subject: Brain Dump. The point is to let go of anything that will impede your creative process on any given day.

Cameron also states,

“These daily meanderings are not meant to be art. Or even writing. I stress that point to reassure the nonwriters working with this book. Writing is simply one of the tools.”

I love this quote because I want to believe morning pages can improve anyone’s creative process. There are many people out there who come up with great ideas in business, science, and other fields not considered creative pursuits. I would be curious to hear how The Artist’s Way, or at least a morning pages concept, has helped these types in their domain.

Creative Process Tool #2: The Artist Date

The second of the two primary tools presented for improving the creative process is the artist date. Per Cameron,

“An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.”

So you can think of the artist’s date as quality time with the self. The destination doesn’t matter as much as the pledge to set aside a block of time. You are to go on your date solo, but there are otherwise no specific rules to follow. Potential ideas: go on a nature hike at a local park, peruse an antique shop, or visit your neighborhood farmer’s market. 

The purpose of these dates is to come up with ways to refresh your creative resources. To “fill the well,” as Cameron puts it. To do this, you must search for ways to stimulate your senses. For instance, trying a new recipe (smell, taste), discovering a new route to work (sight), or attending your local jazz bar (sound). Anything fun or engaging that will allow you to focus on your surroundings.

Resistance to the artist’s date would not be unexpected. Lack of time is the most typical excuse. While I don’t suspect to run into this issue, I can understand how it’s a valid concern. Finding time may be especially difficult for someone with kids, a significant other, and a full-time job. It isn’t easy to concentrate on our creative process when we have such intense obligations.

We All Need Some Alone Time

I think we owe it to ourselves to spend some time alone, though. I’ve found it’s vital to mental health to claim this time, especially if you’re a raging introvert (like me).

I’m not sure what I’ll do for all my artist dates, but it might be better to leave it to the wind each week. Who knows where my mood will take me?

I hope to see you over the next 13 weeks. 😊


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