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435 of 442 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 willim@waltham.ac.uk Mark Williams

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195 of 208 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating, 25 Oct 2013
By 
Ggy (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is really made of two parts. 30% is interesting content that artists like me have found rather interesting. However in order to get to that 30%, you have to make you way through 70% of religious propaganda. I bought this book based on its title, and I was quite shocked about the never-ending references to god and other religious quotes. I've tried to make my way through the book by skipping those sections that cover "God's wish for me" and only focus on the actual content, but it's an incredibly frustrating experience.

I think even religious people would probably get annoyed with the condescending religious tone, especially European folks.
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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
This review is from: The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self (Paperback)
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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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate book for the blocked creative genius!, 13 Sep 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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unhelpful and counter-productive, 2 July 2012
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self (Paperback)
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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100 of 108 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
This review is from: The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self (Paperback)
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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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really helpful book, 14 Feb 2006
By 
Robin Kershaw (massachusetts) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
This review is from: The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self (Paperback)
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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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
This review is from: The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self (Paperback)
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 morning............by 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Way to Improve & Increase Your Creativity, 1 July 2012
By 
Stuart Aken (East Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
Subtitled A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self and A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, this is not merely a book, but an instruction manual about how to become the artist you truly are.

Okay, so I may already have alienated the pragmatists and those for whom the idea of artistic creativity is anathema. But stay with me. You, too, will benefit.

The book is the culmination of a number of years of work Julia has undertaken first to release her own creativity and then that of friends, and, ultimately, paying students. She is, of course, a well-known film director, amongst other talents. She lives in a world populated by people who use their creative talent to earn their living and to produce many of those things we take for granted in our daily lives. Creativity is not the sole preserve of the isolated artist living in a dream, after all. It is an element in the everyday experience of most of us, if we're willing to discover it. So, there's something here for everyone. And I do mean everyone, regardless of the type of life and the nature of the work undertaken.

The book guides the reader through a series of exercises and explorations of self over a period that is suggested to be 12 weeks. I took a little longer, as I had 2 weeks of holiday already planned and those weeks interrupted the flow. The exercises, or tasks as she calls them, are essential to the course.

Before you make a decision to experience this book - it is more an experience than a reading exercise - I should warn you that you'll need to approach it with commitment. A partial, casual approach will not work. You must be willing to immerse yourself in all that it entails, if you're to gain from it the lasting and increasing benefits it promises.

As you proceed, you'll find all sorts of excuses not to do certain things, all manner of reasons why you, in particular, shouldn't bother with some aspects. You're too experienced, you're too creative already, you're simply too busy, you're above such considerations, you don't have that sort of problem, etc, etc. But allowing yourself to fail, permitting yourself to face those fears you have buried, will, if my experience is any guide, free you from self-destructive influences you're unaware you have acquired.

I learned a good deal about myself during the course of the weeks. Not all of it was good. But most of what I learned was positive in its influence on my development. There were painful recollections, shameful admissions, abortive attempts at justification and some unexpected unpleasant revelations. But these are all part of the healing process that permits the inner artist to develop and flourish in the materialistic age we live in. To compensate for the unpleasant, there were many unexpected plusses along the way. I discovered really good things about myself, came to understand why I have held certain beliefs, why I have been unable to take full advantage of my gifts and talents, why I have rejected certain helping hands, why I have wasted so much time and effort; even, perhaps, why I became ill for so many years.

Sound a little over the top?

That's what I thought when I started. But I grow daily more certain about what I've learned during these few, important, weeks of my life. I've discovered that I have true gifts, real talents, a fantastic imagination, a unique way of seeing and being. Sometimes the journey has been frightening, sometimes it's been tedious, but often it's been exhilarating, exciting, vital, and full of fun.

I never considered myself a `blocked' artist. I seemed to be moving along with my creative life quite nicely, thank you. But the honesty this course forces upon its students woke me to the real reality (yes, I know, a tautology, but a deliberate one). We spend so much of our lives under the cloud of self-deception that escape is not only considered difficult, for many it is never considered at all, since these individuals have no consciousness of their self-imposed imprisonment.

I think it is clear that I would recommend this book to everybody.

There is a `but'; there is always a `but'.

One aspect of the narrative and underlying philosophy of the book threatened, from the start, to undermine the effectiveness of the course for me. I am a committed and self-defined, one might almost say passionate, agnostic. I'll explain what I mean by that, since it's important to your understanding of my position and argument. I believe that if there is a God, such a force, being, presence - call it what you will - is so far above our understanding as to be incomprehensible. I believe any attempt to define a God must, by definition, be an insult to such a concept and result in a counterfeit rather than the real thing. Since I understand the concept to be ineffable, I am left with the only logical alternative; i.e. I remain open to the possibility of a God but can make no description of such a power and, by logical extension, cannot accept any of the orthodox deities currently worshipped by the many religions that exist. These are, patently, constructs of man in a quest to answer the unanswerable questions and, no doubt, serve a useful, if often divisive, purpose in providing a sort of comfort for those who prefer not to think about such issues for themselves.

So, when Julia Cameron talks about accepting that there is an external creative being, that she calls God (using the `Good Orderly Direction' tag to reduce the objections of the sceptics) I find myself resistant. Initially, this very insertion of the idea of faith into the course formed a barrier for me. But I persevered, putting that aspect on the back burner until I could examine it and find a replacement philosophy. And I'm glad I did that. Persevered, that is. Had I allowed my objection to stop me completing the course, I would have missed out on a very positive experience and failed to arrive at the new place I now find myself, creatively speaking.

As to what alternative philosophy I discovered along the way to replace the God aspect: this isn't the place to detail it. Suffice to say that I found such a concept and am happy to employ that in place of the God facet.

So, again, would I recommend this book? Only to everybody on the planet. Go out and buy, borrow, or beg the volume. Make a commitment to do the tasks and exercises. Make a commitment to complete the course, however long it takes. If you follow it with the required open mind and the necessary effort you will come out on the other side a more creative, balanced and happier person.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Favorite, 15 April 2010
By 
V. Hendricksen "GH" (Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self (Paperback)
This book changed my life. Cheesy as it sounds, you can learn a lot about yourself and change major habits throughout the course of the book. I fully encourage anyone who is feeling lost, creatively challenged, etc to buy the book and FINISH it. You'll be happily amazed.
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