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441 of 448 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practising The Artist's Way
On the flyleaf to this book, Julia Cameron is described as "an active artist". This is very apt because in The Artist's Way we have a very active book with a powerful practical application. Do not expect to read this book and be unaffected by it. I have been personally been amazed by the effect it has already had on my life within under a month of having...
Published on 17 Mar. 2002 by Mark Williams

204 of 217 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone
The blurb on the back tells us this is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. However, you need to understand one very important thing: this book is not about how to be more creative, it's about freeing your creativity. This implies that your creativity has been blocked, which in turn implies that something has gone wrong which should be put right. Julia...
Published on 10 Oct. 2007 by V. Tapp

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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There are many reasons for reading this book....., 26 Feb. 2008
Roger Sharp (Kenley, Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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I am not an artist, and when I read this book I was not hoping to recover my creative self. I was, however, suffering from severe depression and this book was recommended to me. There are many books on depression - I think I must have most of them! - but this is the only one that really helped me on the road to recovery.

It's an easy read, which sets out a simple program that anyone can follow.

Perhaps what it is really about is helping people who feel trapped in a rut make their great escape, by setting out a number of simple, practical steps which are easy to follow. The thinking behind all of the these tasks is explained, but many give additional benefits to the particular person who is reading it.

It contains no mumbo jumbo or pop psychology, just a series of practical things anyone can do in order to move forward. Some may seem odd, but all are easily done.

Above all, this books contains nothing that could harm or mover you backwards.

My personal recommendation is that it cured my depression, and actually made me much more creative.
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91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely practical book with amazing results, 13 Oct. 2006
Patrick Bowe - See all my reviews
This is an amazing book, packed full of simple exercises that slowly, gradually transform your life. It's all very straightforward - do a few tasks every week (make a list of things you want to do before you die, etc.) and write a daily "journal" (called the morning pages). Really simple stuff, but gradually you find yourself changing as you dig up stuff you hadn't thought about in years.

I was given this book when I was 31 and in the midst of depression that had lasted for several years. I struggled with the book for a few weeks, but once I got into it I started feeling better about where I was (broke, unhappy, generally lost). I admitted to myself that I'd always wanted to write a book and learn how to play guitar and worked up the guts to do something about it.

3 years after being given the Artist's Way I've written a draft of a novel and I'm playing guitar in my first band (a punk band too - at 34 years of age!) And that's the thing - without this book I never would have had the confidence to say "Yes, I'm in my 30s and I'm a complete guitar beginner but I don't care, I'm going to learn how to play just the same." Even outside of art, I now surf, rock-climb, do a whole load of things I never had the guts to try out before. I'm back in the same living circumstances as when my depression set in but I'm a different person - more positive, more creative, much much happier. I still have bad days and even weeks but now I have something to turn to.

I would say this though - there's a strong spiritual side to this book. I've given it to friends who loved it and got into it just as much as I did, and I've also had friends tell me the religious overtone turned them off. All I know is if you're in a hole like I was this book is definitely worth a shot.

The Artist's Way changed my life 100% for the better. It showed me that I'm a passionate person, that I have something inside I want to express, and then gave me the confidence to do something about it.

Julia Cameron, I owe you one.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unhelpful and counter-productive, 2 July 2012
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
Do not think, gentle reader, that I didn't give this book a fair trial. I did the whole course, meticulously. I was hoping this book would give me a kick up the pants at a time when I was losing my way with my work. Instead it almost robbed me of the will to live. I did produce plemty of work in the process, but it was meretricious and self-indulgent rubbish; something which was very damaging and harmful. The book didn't boost my self-esteem, it made me doubt my own abilities and I realised the author wanted to you to "buy" HER version of creativity, whatever the cost in your quality of work. Splurging out everything inside you without discrimination isn't creativity, it's Salmonella.

Embedded in this book are one or two useful techniques for ridding your mind of extraneous clutter and taking a metaphorical deep breath. However the surrounding mush of flummery, cod psychology, New Age waffle and fundamentalist Christianity will put off many UK readers, with good reason. I have given it three stars really, because a lot of other people like it and so it must have some virtues, and for the sake of those few useful techniques.

The author has clearly made a very great deal of money in the US running courses and workshops based on her technique. I shall leave it to the reader to decide what they think of this; for me, sadly, it just confirms many of my prejudices. As does the fact that, throughout, the author cites quotations from "great souls" and "artists" which support her arguments. Maybe it's because I'm from the wrong side of the Atlantic, but with a very few exceptions, the ones I'd heard of weren't the sort of people you'd look to as an artist, and the vast majority were people who names had never before crossed my event horizon. Surely there must be many suitable quotes from great, inspirational artists and writers, so why all these nonentities?

Speaking as a "blocked artist", I would say "This is not a book to be put aside lightly. It should", as Oscar Wilde pointed out, "be hurled with great force". I concede that some people feel they have been helped by it, but it is far too mushy and misses the real point of creative work. The "morning pages" idea is the best bit. Much of the rest is counter-productive or self-indulgent. After a while, I found the book unhelpful and I became bogged down in self-pity and self-absorbtion. Not all work is good, and a book which stimulates you to produce a lot of poor quality work hasn't helped you. To produce good work you have to forget yourself, not become obsessed with past wrongs or spend valuable time writing out silly mantras a la "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better" I concede I am not a writer, and it is true the word processor does enable a writer to edit in the way a painter cannot. For blocked painters I'd recommend:
*Going to lots of exhibitions and seeing the work of other artists, great and minor, and if possible talking to them.
*Doing the "morning pages" to clear ones head; this just means sitting down with a notebook and your morning tea, before you do anything else, and writing 3 pages of whatever comes into your head; good for clearing the decks and looking ahead.
*Looking back at stuff you did years ago that you weren't happy with, and analysing what you like, and don't like, about it, and redoing it with the benefit of what you have learned since.
*Listening to artistically-minded friends talk about your stuff; they are more objective than you and will see virtues (and flaws) in your work you are blind to.
*Reading YOU ARE AN ARTIST: A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO ART., written in 1965 before the end of civilisation as we know it.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent boost for a tired or reluctant artist, 28 April 2000
By A Customer
Although the book covers all forms of artists I regarded it as if it were directed to me specifically. While it is true that the Morning Pages and other tasks are often a chore, I have followed the book carefully and have managed to write the morning pages (three pages a day, but she doesn't say what size paper, I assume A4 or American B4!) faithfully since January 2000 and they yield some surprising results. As John Braine once wrote, 'A writer is a person who writes.' In order to get the benefit from the book, one has to put in the work and follow the exercises. It's no good just reading the advice -it has to be followed. The quotes from artists dotted around most of the pages are a good idea and at times an inspiration. I'm now considering other publications by this author.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really helpful book, 14 Feb. 2006
Robin Kershaw (massachusetts) - See all my reviews
I really love this book. I bought it years ago and it got me started on the path of following my creative career as a writer. It is a great book for working you through the emotional blocks and I loved doing the exercises. But for the next stage (the highs and lows of actually making it into a career) I've discovered a new book called Anything I Can Do You Can Do Better by Tessa Souter. Not only is it helpful, her witty style made me laugh out loud. Get them both!
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98 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, if you allow it to be, 21 Jun. 2003
The Artist's Way was recommended to me by a colleague when I was complaining about how difficult I was finding it to produce creative work. I bought it, and read it, but was initially pretty resistant to what it was trying to tell me: and after completing the course, I am still unconvinced by much of the spirituality that the course presents.
However, if you are able to bite the bullet, there are many immensely positive and hugely useful tools in this book, such as the morning pages and artist's dates, and the book is consistently generous and supportive of your growing creative independence.
On the downside, there is a definite 'hippy-ness' to the tone of the book, and those not disposed to new age thinking might be better advised to look at some of Ed deBono's lateral thinking books to kickstart their creativity rather than this one.
Overall, I would recommend this book as an effective fast-track to getting yourself into the habit of being creative. If you're prepared to invest the time to do the work, you are likely to progress your creative practice in leaps and bounds. The caveat is that you may also find yourself with a new-found predeliction for patchouly incense and lentil casserole...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE book, 24 Jan. 2012
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Ever felt "blocked", "stuck", "lost" ?

This book will change your life. If you are a person who likes to think of themselves as "creative" but doesn't know how, in what capacity, or perhaps doesn't even actively engage in anything creative outside of your imagination - this book will give you tools to do it. Unlike other self-help books, the tasks aren't vague; they're solid, specific, and weekly. The course lasts for 12 weeks - it is designed to be intensive so should be carried out according to the time schedule. You can do it independently or in a group (I would recommend independently).

The most important thing is to be open minded with it - I have been raised a strong atheist and there are many, like myself, who struggled with some of the more spiritual concepts. As long as you keep an open mind, and don't fall into a trap of believing you are being converted (this is another form of blocking yourself) this book will come to be invaluable to you.

Even if it's to bring a little light and happiness to your life, whilst engaging in some fun, creative tasks, try it out. There's a good reason why it's an international bestseller and it's entirely justified.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating adventure in finding what's really inside you, 31 Jan. 2004
By A Customer
The prospect of embarking on this course is a very daunting one, particularly if, like me, you have friends who have done it before and you have seen the level of committment it entails. However, it is the beginning of the course that is the hardest part, as once you begin you find yourself adapting very quickly to the routines the course brings about, and finding them so helpful in every way in your life, that you wonder how you would ever be without them. This book is a very small price to pay for a journey so exciting that your life may never be quite the same again, you will discover the childish dreams and fantasies that adulthood has pushed aside and hidden, through cynicism and inhibitions, and find how to live the life you always dreamed of, one of vitality, creativity, and a life so exciting that you can hardly wait to begin every writing the morning pages of course! - as if you are anything like myself and my friends you will still find yourself doing them long after the course has finished - and loving them!
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100 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly inspiring for anyone wishing to be creative, 16 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
The Artist's Way takes you through a 12 week journey to creativity, it is aimed not just at artists, but for anyone wishing to be creative. It is a work-book, with weekly tasks which helped me to unblock as a writer, have fun and also relax and enjoy life.
Since reading it my wife has become a full-time freelance designer and artist, her confidence has shifted amazingly, she is willing to believe it when people compliment her work (which happens a lot) and she pushes through set-backs and persists when the going's tough.
I've reawakaned my dream to be a writer and am currently working on a fantasy novel and a puzzle book. I met Julia Cameron at a seminar and she is very down-to-earth and practical, as well as being spiritual and kind. This book is an absolute must!
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate book for the blocked creative genius!, 13 Sept. 2000
By A Customer
The ultimate self-help book for the blocked creative genius, this book is so user-friendly it almost takes you by the hand. But beware, read-only addicts, reading is not enough, fascinating as it is. You must do it. All of it. Ms Cameron is a successful writer/director with several impressive credits to her name. If that is not enough, and it certainly should be, her list of personal friends includes Scorcese and Spielberg. Ms Cameron's work is unique however, and stands on its own merits with the greatest of ease. I have so many favourite quotations from this book, I find there is no way to condense them into one, but let me give you a taster. "I don't believe in a quick fix", she says, while proceeding to light the way. She illuminates even the margins of the book with quotations from musicians such as Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, through philosophers Goethe and Jung, to artists such as Degas and Cezanne. Enjoy! Do! It's up to you - and you can do it.
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The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
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