The Artist's Way Book

As I go through a twelve-week course, I am going to share my experiences and discoveries in this thread. The book sets a range of challenges that lead to a more honest and conscious way of creating art, as well as working as a creative.

week 1: recovering a sense of safety

The very first week’s chapter initiates the creative recovery. It aims at allowing me to establish a sense of safety, which will enable me to explore my own creativity with less fear. It covers topics such as protecting the artist's inner child, avoiding the core negative believes, and introduces the use of affirmations, the morning pages, and the artist's date.

I am supposed to write at least 700 words every morning. There is no topic, it is just freestyle writing that is led by a stream of sequential or absolutely random thoughts.

During my first week, I managed to write 7/7 morning pages. I did not find this concept groundbreaking. However, I admit that it works perfectly for setting my mind straight for the entire day. It helped to keep my focus on the most important things and invest my time and effort into them.

In addition, as an artist date, I chose to go do some street photography. It was an exciting experience, without a time limit and a precise plan, that helped me to get back into this hobby.

week 2: recovering a sense of identity

The second week addresses self-definition as a major component of creative recovery.

This week I did 6/7 morning pages. It was challenging to find the right time for it. I discovered that 15 minutes is not enough for me. For the following weeks, I would like to try keeping an hour for this activity by sacrificing some sleep. So, I can write as much as I wish.

In most cases, I use them to run through the upcoming day - get into details on how I am going to do things. Overall, my mood was set from the early morning if I did morning pages.

The artist's date has changed since the last week. I started going to the gym, and that was my event of the week. I retrieved this idea from one of the ten exercises that are given at the end of each week.

week 3: recovering a sense of power

The third chapter talks about the recovery of the sense of power. It asks me to look back at previously accepted limits, and consciously question my own open-mindedness.

This week I managed to complete 6/7 morning pages. It becomes difficult to keep on going through the week if my Monday morning pages are skipped. It definitely sets the tone for the entire week and helps to prioritize essentials over anything else.

I am happy that I have not missed any artist’s dates yet. It gives me a good amount of me-time apart from close people and current problems.

This week’s reading mentions the concept of synchronicity, and how important it is not to miss out on an opportunity that you just recently dreamed of. Just recently, I started paying more attention to those parallels between my wishes and the current circumstances that I am into. It appears to be that most wishes could be brought to life within a short period of time with only a few adventurous steps.

week 4: recovering a sense of integrity

The fourth chapter is about the recovery of the sense of integrity. It asks me to question my own self-awareness and dive into productive introspection and integration of a possible renovation of it.

This week I did 7/7 morning pages. A few of them were written in a big rush and not very properly. I accidentally found out that I misused the time and started perceiving the overall concept with the wrong intentions. It became a daily planner, instead of a thought dump. Surprisingly, it immediately felt like something is different. It was still easy to go through the day, but it felt heavy when it came to creating. I lacked the same open-mindedness, clarity, and confidence, that was present only a week ago. Looking forward to fixing it in the following weeks.

week 5: recovering a sense of possibility

The fifth chapter goes into examining my own possibilities by placing limits on the good I can receive. It examines the cost of settling for appearing good instead of being authentic.

This week I did 7/7 morning pages. Since I was trying to do it more consciously than the last week, I experienced the same help and affirmation. It still has some portion of a daily planner, but it primarily serves as a thought dump. There is a tendency that truth comes out only after writing a page full of waste and nonsense. Now, I can see that it was there throughout the entire five-week run.

I skipped my artist’s date this week, and I missed it a lot. At this point, it seems to be a necessity.

The topic of this week’s reading helped me to look more honestly at my own fears of not being enough to accomplish things that I am striving for. At the moment, it looks silly. Probably, it is just a matter of staying present and not letting doubts intervene in my action and decision-making.

week 6: recovering a sense of abundance

This week’s chapter tackles a major creative block – money. It asks me to look at my own ideas around God, money, and creative abundance. Also, it explores the ways in which attitude limits abundance and luxury in current life.

During this week I managed to do 7/7 morning pages. Even after 6 weeks, it is not a habit yet, but it does feel like a necessity. My artist date was just a city exploration. It is great to let myself just observe and get familiar with locations around me since it is non-related activity and helps to distract from first-priority business.

Morning pages help me to get stuff done and not have things falling off my hands. This week was busy and rich with events, but I still managed to do all my routine work on top of that. At the moment, I am preparing to apply for the junior graphic design position, which brings a lot of unreasonable doubts and raises fears. Morning writing helps to keep it clean and focused.

week 7: recovering a sense of connection  

This week’s chapter turns to the practice of the right attitudes toward creativity. The emphasis is on receptive and active skills. A position of creative interest as we connect with our personal dreams.

During this week I managed to do 7/7 morning pages, where I have been circling a few directions of where my career and education could head to. The research on those matters gave me a good glimpse of my possibilities and boosted my interest in creating and moving forward.

My artist date was based on the idea of exploring my options for potential growth as a professional. I am trying to get it into a routine, introduce those things smoothly and not rush. One of my key decisions of this week was to minimize my social media presence by up to 1 hour per day. This gave me a clearer sense of synchronicity and a more direct vision.

The main issue from this week was not to start fresh on several things but to work with what I already have I found out that starting over could be the easy way out, and instead I should re-approach those problems.

week 8: recovering a sense of strength

This week’s chapter tackles another major creative block – time. It explores the ways in which we are using our perception of time to preclude taking creative risks. It asked me to identify immediate and practical changes I can make in my current life.

This week I did all 7 pages, some of them were done in a rush, on my way to work on public transport. However, on those days I tended to come back to the notebook later in the evening. It did not feel right not to complete this routine.

The reading helped me to remind myself that I must respect where I am and where I wish to go. It also provided me with a few interesting takes on how to deal with failures and losses in general. What questions I should ask when dealing with them. It pointed out that the key is the action and we learn by going where we have to go.

My artist date was a combination of something that I enjoy and is good for healing my recent knee injury. I started going to the open-air swimming pool and felt like a kid! Those little weekend sessions definitely help me recover both mentally and physically.

The main issue of this week was to do my morning pages in the morning. I find it to be the best both practically and timewise. This is definitely something I am looking forward to putting in place.

week 9: recovering a sense of compassion

The ninth week’s chapter looks at the internal blocks to creativity: emotional difficulties that beset us in the past as we made creative efforts, the shame of past failures, and the lack of compassion for ourselves. It reveals tools to dismantle emotional blocks and support renewed risks.

I did 6/7 morning pages. Since this week’s reading is about compassion, I had to reconsider my perception of so-called creative ‘U-turns’ and give myself more space and time to deal with those things. Military discipline in creative work is false. It works in the short term, but then it turns into self-admiration. Discipline for the sake of discipline. Creativity is a process and it is supposed to be fun. Likewise, enthusiasm is a joy, not a duty.

My artist’s date was a very active and productive session of finishing 1,5 seasons of ‘The Office’ in one day, extensively playing rapid chess between the episodes, while talking to friends and family. I don’t know if I can count that, but this date actually recharged me muchly.

The main point was to stop yelling at myself for not doing stuff on time and respect the effort. I found that in order to work freely on a project you must be at least functionally free of resentment and resistance. The author suggested asking a range of specific questions that would clarify if there are any creative concerns or fears regarding an upcoming project. It worked.

The main issue of this week was an old-good shortage of time.

week 10: recovering a sense of self-protection

The tenth week’s chapter was talking about the perils that can ambush us on our creative path. It talks of the danger of abusing ordinary activities, so they become destructive to our creativity. It also explores the areas of workaholism, drought, fame, and competition.

This week I did 7/7 morning pages. As a part of the task from the last week’s reading, I had to read my notes later during the day, or on the following day. It is very chaotic, most of the time it doesn’t link up with a previous thought. However, it was interesting to look at those portions where I was trying to figure something out, found it very insightful. I feel like I write them very freely since it is the main point to keep it private. That puts away all the pressure of writing for some readers and lets me just throw it on the paper.

My artist’s date was actually my birthday. It was an amazing time when I reconnected with a dozen of old friends and family.

Lately, I have visual proof that important things that I have been working on are falling into place. I experienced a lot of synchronicity this week, especially, when finalizing my long-term tasks.The main issue of the week was COVID, I got sick.

week 11: recovering a sense of autonomy

This week I was reading a chapter the artistic autonomy. It examines the ongoing ways in which we must nurture and accept ourselves as artists. It explores the behaviors that can strengthen our spiritual base and, therefore, our creative power. The main topic goes into acceptance and, most essentially, into the way we look at success, and how it must be handled in order that we do not sabotage our freedom.

It is almost the end of the course, so I try my best to do everything properly. I did 7/7 morning pages this week. I find it interesting to even acknowledge that my day feels incomplete without the ‘morning pages’. At this point, many people know that I do this exercise on a daily basis, and their reactions became much more ordinary. Sometimes it sounds like they are curious, and it makes sense to them too, but no one has tried to do it yet.

The ‘artist’s date’ part of the course is still tricky for me. It stresses the point that the date must be an absolute ‘me-time’. From my perspective, I equally enjoy the time in a company, especially, when we do planned activities. Till this week it puts me into confusion, and I do not agree with how it is supposed to work.

I have a very smooth period right now, and I feel a lot of synchronicity in mostly anything I do. It is a rare feeling, and I wish it is going to last long.

week 12: recovering a sense of faith

Here I go, the last week of the creative recovery course. It has been 15 weeks in which I managed to cover all 12 chapters of the book.

To be very honest, this week’s reading felt very special. I found the final topic – ‘recovering a sense of faith’, - to be up to date with its’ content. It addresses the fact that creativity requires receptivity and profound trust – capacities that were covered during the previous weeks. It asked me to set my creative aims and take a special look at last minute sabotage. Finally, it explained once more why it is important to keep on using those tools even after the end of the course.

This week I did 7/7 morning pages. My favorite part of the chapter introduced me to the concept of ‘escape velocity’. It is a critical point when you are put to the test – the last-minute sabotage. In fact, we draw ourselves to the test. There always will be people and circumstances, but your main task is not to get fooled – neither by yourself, nor by the others.

From now on, I have to keep on writing and taking myself on artist’s dates permanently. It is a healthy and fair way of re-filling a well.

Most of my synchronicity came from the acknowledgement of how much the ‘morning pages’ activity has shaped my current way of life. In simple terms, it is journaling, but there is no reason to use simple terms.

To everyone, who is reading this little blog, I highly recommend to give this book a try.