Artistic Rehab

I noticed it a few years ago. 

I had to push myself to create.  Guilt myself into writing.

Or impose a deadline by having to produce something by a specific date.

It felt like my creative fire had gone out.

And then the pandemic hit and I thought I would have the time or motivation to create. 

Would the isolation and shutting down of things encourage me somehow?

I did what most other people did. 

I doom-scrolled, watched Netflix, and discovered new recipes to try out.

I started checking out Instagram and Twitter. 

But I didn’t do any creating for myself.

I wondered if my creative hibernation would end when things started opening back up?


The problem predated the pandemic, so I can’t blame it on that.

Thirteen years ago, I bought The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I made a half-hearted attempt to follow it at the time.  But I was more interested in reading the book than doing the work of following it.

A couple of months ago, my friend Tony started going through the book.  His wife had seen it at a book sale and bought it for him. He’s mentioned a couple of times how helpful he’s found it.

When he mentioned it, I remembered having occasional stirrings through the years.  “I really should go through The Artist’s Way one of these days…”

So, I dusted off my copy of the book and decided to start going through the process.

It’s a twelve-week journey.  Twelve weeks to reignite my relationship with creativity.

The process is simple.  Simple, but not necessarily easy.  You do four things.

First, you write three pages of Morning Pages by longhand every day.  It’s a brain dump.  If you can’t think of anything to write, you write “I can’t think of anything to write”.  You can do that for three pages.  Just write those three pages.

Second, you go on an “Artist Date” once a week.  Pick something that calls to you.  Go to an art gallery.  See a concert.  Walk in nature.  Do something that can be helpful for an artist project you’re working on. 

It’s not important “what” you do.  It doesn’t even have to be related to anything you want to work on.  Only that you do something.

Third, answer the questions for each chapter.  Each chapter covers a step in your artistic recovery.  For example, the first week is called “Recovering a Sense of Safety”.  Cameron talks about the process of recovering your sense of safety.  And has questions and exercises for you to do. 

Each chapter has questions and exercises.  Focusing on recovering another aspect of your creativity.  Such as identity, power, integrity, and so on.  Twelve weeks/chapters worth of recovery.

And the fourth part is to do a weekly check-in with yourself.  Chronicle the process.  Cameron has a few questions for you to answer each week. 

The Morning Pages and Artist Date are the important things.  And that seems to be the thing that sticks for most people.  People  frequently keep up those habits after finishing the book.

I’m almost finished my first week.  Will I follow through until the end?

I hope so. 

I’m curious to see if I can rekindle something that I felt has left me.  Will it move me into a different direction?  Who knows?

I’m keen to complete the journey and find out.

© 2022 Peter Gruner

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