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The Artist’s Way Book Report

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is one of my favorite books — and it’s had a big influence on the way I run my businesses and operate as an entrepreneur. I don’t think of myself as a creative person, but this book changed that for me.

There’s a lot of unique takeaways from this book that I wanted to share, so enjoy this brief (sort of) book report.


PS: Check out this video where I talk more in-depth about The Artists Way plus other books I love.


Morning Pages: Write 3 Pages Every Day

There is no wrong way to do morning pages. They are a primary tool of creative recovery. We tend to criticize ourselves mercilessly. By spilling your thoughts out of your brain every morning when you get out of bed, you learn to evade “The Censor!”

Writing prompts I liked:

  • List 3 old champions of your creative self-worth
  • If you had 5 other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?
  • List 3 old enemies of your creative self-worth
  • List twenty things you enjoy doing. When was the last time you let yourself do these things?
  • The antidote for shame is self-love and self-praise. Make a list of past compliments and good reviews you’ve received
  • If it didn’t sound so crazy, I’d work on…
  • If I had a million dollars in the bank, tomorrow I’d work on…
  • List 5 skills that would be fun to have
  • List 5 classes that sound fun
  • If GOD was on your team what would your life look like? Feel like?

Writing morning pages every day requires us to think deeper, and thinking deeper presses us to get specific. And getting specific leads to RECOVERY.

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The Weekly Artist Date: Spend Time With Yourself

A weekly artist date is remarkably threatening — AND remarkably productive.

Visit a great junk store, go on a solo trip to the beach, see an old movie by yourself, visit an aquarium or an art gallery.

The point is to spend time alone in order to feed your inner “artist.”

Spending time in solitude is self-nurturing.

Thoughts on Growth

Growth occurs in spurts and it’s a spiral process — it doubles back on itself, reassessing and regrouping.

Creative recovery is a healing process.

You will hear something back from the universe if you listen for it (through being creative).

Very often, a week of insights will be followed by a week of sluggishness. Let yourself indulge in the sluggishness.
An artist must have downtime, time to do nothing.

Ways to Reawaken Your Inner Artist

These are a bunch of things you can do to bring out your inner creativity.

Maybe some of these you’ll only do once — others might become a habit. But at least try each one once, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone.

Actually, ESPECIALLY if it’s outside of your comfort zone.

  • Creation — bake something
  • Send postcards to 5 friends, including yourself
  • Learn acceptance — practice saying yes to freebies. Allow new things to flow into your life
  • Cleaning — throw out or give away 5 ratty pieces of clothing
  • Treat yourself like a precious object
  • Give yourself time to listen to an entire album, just for joy
  • Collect a stack of 10 magazines, rip out and save the stuff that inspires you
  • Quickly list 5 favorite films — any common denominators?
  • Cherish — list 5 small victories
  • Mend anything that needs mending. Externally or inside yourself
  • Okay is a blanket word for most of us. Stop saying “It’s okay” when in fact it’s something else
  • Reading deprivation — without distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world. No television or books to numb us out
  • Environment — look at your house. This is YOUR dream area. Can you turn a room into a secret, private, amazing space just for yourself?
  • Ask for answers in the evening; listen for answers in the morning. Be open to all help
  • Do one nice thing a day for yourself
  • Several times a day ask yourself how you are feeling! Respond kindly.

Tips & Takeaways

Beyond the creativity-related things, these were other takeaways from the book that stuck out to me.

  • One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old clothes, papers, and belongings. The OLD you is leaving and grieving, while the new you celebrates and grows stronger
  • Luxury is a learned practice for most of us
  • We don’t compare our student films to George Lucas’s student films. We compare them to Star Wars. We deny that in order to do something well we must first be willing to do it badly
  • Focusing on fame creates a continual feeling of lack. “God’s got it.” The universe will help ya out
  • Take your power back!
  • When faced with a loss, immediately take one small action to support your artist
  • Remember that art is a process. It is SUPPOSED to be FUN. Creative work is our creative self at play in the field of time

Have you read The Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron? If you have, tell me your biggest takeaways in the comments below.


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