I first heard about The Artist’s Way from a friend back in the mid-90s, when I was a struggling actor still very new to New York. Julia Cameron’s 12-week program changed my life, my outlook, and my career path, and hardly a day goes by (a day during which I create, that is) that I don’t see her words in my head as I work. “Working with these tools may create deep change, some of it turbulent,” Cameron warns, and I can attest that that is true.
Cameron’s overarching message is that it is far more painful and difficult to be creatively blocked than it is to just create. With gentle and loving encouragement to oneself– first and foremost through three longhand pages of journal-writing first thing each day, called “morning pages”– you can recenter yourself and become the creative soul you were meant to be.
It works, I swear it works, and I had just resolved to redo the whole program after a conversation with the lovely Kyran Pittman at this spring’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop when I got an email from the BlogHer Book Club asking me if I’d be interested in reviewing My Artist’s Way Toolkit, a new interactive website based on Cameron’s books.
Using a website or app to do Cameron’s work at all seems a little antithetical to her message, and indeed Cameron still insists that the “morning pages” should be done offline and longhand. (I agree with her.) But since these days we’re less likely to have a Moleskine journal and luxurious pen with us at all times than we are an iPhone, the Toolkit does offer a way to capture your creative impulses (or to get a little creative inspiration) wherever you may be. It’s also nice that you can access your toolkit from your laptop, tablet, or phone, and the most recent version will always be synced across your devices.
My takeaway? Use the Artist’s Way, FOR SURE, if you want to break through in your life or in your creative work. And if you’re an online, app-using person in other areas of your life, you may find the toolkit a great way to stay on the path, even with (or maybe because of) the monthly subscription charge. I prefer the old-fashioned paper version myself, especially since the center of the work (the morning pages) still need to be done offline. But if this brings Cameron’s ideas to the online generation, then maybe it’s a step worth their having taken.
I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.