My dark secret about The Artist's Way

Cover of Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's WayUnless it's something you do regularly, you don't get to call it a habit. Writing "Morning Pages" is something I picked up from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way years and years ago, but I don't get to call them a habit.  They give me intermittent benefits, though, when I remember to write them. Usually this happens on days that start out all jumbled while what I need is a clear, calm head to approach all the projects and tasks I've agreed to. Like this morning.

Of course I did it wrong. (In spite of the assertion that there is no wrong way to do them.) And I know this because I just went over to the "Basic Tools" page of the official website for The Artist's Way to confirm my understanding of those morning pages for you, and this is what I read:

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages-- they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind-- and they are for your eyes only.

Back when this description was fresh on my mind, I used to write them in longhand.  All the time, I did this! These days, though, I have a file on my computer specifically for "The Morning Pages" and that's where I turned this morning.

But That's Not The Worst Of It!

Pssst. I have another secret. A huge one. Typing these pages is far from the only way I've failed to use this book to my advantage. You know what else? I've never actually read the book! That's right. I've owned The Artist's Way for more than 15 years, but I only ever read a chapter or two. Or maybe three.

Lately I've been surrounded by this book. All my creative friends mention it eventually. (And I have a lot of creative friends.) My friend Phyllis Sharpe is even teaching a course based on it, at the Greensboro School of Creativity! So when people drop it into conversation, I nod readily. I'm in the know, see. I've been around fans of this book for as long as I've known it existed, so I can talk the talk... to a certain extent.

It came up again yesterday in conversation, and this time got me wondering. When am I going to read this book? When am I going to use this book? Good question.

Thing is, it's more than just a book. It's a guide to really unleashing creativity. A guide to embracing creativity, and living a rewarding creative life. And like all good guides, it contains exercises. When you really read this book, you really make a commitment. A commitment I've postponed for far too long.

So I'm adding this to the list of things to do this year. It's on my Life List to do so, in fact. But now I'm deciding to bump that up a bit. I won't commit to starting it now... nothing so silly as all that. But I think it's time to move beyond the morning pages.

Which, by the way, I will resume doing in longhand. That much, at least, I can go ahead and commit to...