Around this time of year in 2001, I picked up The Artist’s Way and undertook the 12 week creativity course and came out the other end feeling so much better about the stuff I was doing and what I wanted to be doing in the future. Apart from starting this blog, and probably obtaining my wonderful wacom tablet, I would say it has been the biggest turning point in my creative life. I had picked up the book a year or so before and thought it was a huge pile of tosh and put it aside (there is a lot of stuff in it which I found really difficult to get past, and would probably struggle with again) but then when I did finally come back to it some time later, I was at a real low point with my work (having been working in an isolated, unstructured, freelance way for a few months and feeling it was going no where) and it was the thing that forced me to do something about it.
For a while I was quite evangelical about the book – buying it (totally unsolicited) for my Dad and various friends, recommending it to every poor sucker who momentarily pondered their own creativity. I am sure I had that crazy-cult-gleem in my eye, the dried white foam in the corners of my mouth… etc. But I was that impressed. I kept writing the Morning Pages (perhaps the key component of the course – 3 pages of free-form, free-hand journal writing first thing every day) for years, until I had a baby I think, where the pages became too difficult to squeeze into a busy day. But they really worked – there’s something about repeating the same boring insecurities every day that finally makes you take stock and do something positive about it. Lots of good things changed for me because of these pages.
Over at Kat’s Paws there is an online group which has formed to undertake the Artist’s Way together. This is such a great idea. There is a lot of stuff in the book about working with others for encouragement and support, and isn’t this just the thing? Isn’t this the perfect way to kick-start some of those creative New Year’s Resolutions I have been reading about all over the web?
They have just started week one, but as I feel that life is in flux for me this year (again?? Eh!), I am almost tempted to join and revisit the course again. It is a big time commitment – and there is so much else on the boil at the moment, but I think I am going to take the book away with me down to the beach to have a flick through and a think about the whole idea anyway.
**An update to yesterday’s cookbook entry: Look at Jane’s kid’s amazing blue marshmallows – using the recipe from The River Cottage Family Cookbook! Brilliant!**