Last Spring 2016 I started the Artists Way for the first time. A friend of mine told me he would be assembling a group of four of us. For 12 weeks we went through the book together with regular check ins once a week. The artists way consists of 4 components.
- Morning Pages-Every morning you wake up and write 3 (or more) pages as soon as you wake up.
- Artists Dates-Once a week you give yourself an hour of alone time. Whether that’s going out for a meal, sitting down and making are, watching a film etc.
- Reading the chapters and doing the prompts at the end.
- If you are doing this with a group you have a weekly check in with each other and discuss challenges and triumphs. A key part of this is being vulnerable and honest with the group as well as yourself.
Now I want to preface that this book was written in the 90’s by a white woman. Some of the language is dated, she isn’t the most inclusive and (as my friend pointed out) she’s a bit of a name dropper. I do urge you to take the concepts and apply them and disregard the rest. I encourage that with anything in life.
This Winter I picked up the book again with my dear friend who lives in California. We skype once a week and check in with one another to see how we’re doing. We also do check ins by text message about whether or not we did our morning pages. It helps keep us accountable and we also get to talk to one another when we’re struggling.
This is my second time and her first. I have been honored that she would take this journey with me as it’s a challenging course. So challenging in fact that the second time I read the book I found myself learning even more about myself along the way.
Thus far I’ve experienced feeling more confident in areas that we’re problematic before and in other areas I have found myself very resistant. There’s a section on something called reading deprivation. No reading anything for a week. No news, no internet, no social media, no reading books, and no reading magazines or the newspaper. That week is where I found myself having the biggest breakthroughs. She also goes over money, our censor, and her prompts have you engage in your creativity in fun constructive ways.
This is what my morning pages look like. They aren’t a glamorous display of me writing with a cup of tea next to me. I try my best to write them as soon as I open my eyes. I avoid picking up my cell phone. There have been times were I’ve even started to write them with my eyes closed just to get the pen moving and my wrist going. Not only have they helped with breakthroughs but I argue that they helped me immensely with my depression.
Someone wanted to be in the photo. Sometimes I do my pages on the floor in front of my altar.
One of my artist dates.
One of the suggestions in a chapter is the environment you live in. She talks about making your space a sacred space. It should be your own special place to exist in. I ended up purchasing a stripper pole, getting rid of material possessions, revamping my altar, and hanging up these mermaid twinkle lights.
The morning pages and the artist dates are something that I feel is a lifelong process. It’s an integral piece to my creative recovery. This is a process I would like to do for the rest of my life. I hope to see my other fellow creatives to give this a shot.