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445 of 452 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating
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...
Published 18 months ago by Ggy


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204 of 218 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone, 10 Oct. 2007
By 
V. Tapp (Brighton, East Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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 Cameron tells you the causes of the block, and the Artist's Way is a course of therapy to help you recover. (In each chapter you Recover a Sense of something, eg Compassion, Possibility).

I think the Artist's Way was developed for women of her generation who as children were discouraged from being creative and as adults expected to always put others' needs first. Such experiences mean that a) one doesn't believe in one's own creative abilities, and b) one doesn't have time or space to be oneself. If this is true for you, you may find the Artist's Way very useful.

It is divided into 12 units, one for each week. Although there is a different theme for each week, they didn't seem particularly differentiated to me. Each unit contains a couple of essays on living a better life, as well as some tasks to do; many of them seem to consist of making lists of what you would do/be/buy if you the had time/permission/money. You are also instructed to write 3 pages every morning on whatever is on your mind, and do something enjoyable by yourself as a "date" with your "artist child" every week. Although she says you don't need any religious belief to follow the course, she does talk a lot about spirituality. It has a New Age feel and I think I gave up at the point where I was expected to build an artist's altar and listen to recordings of myself reading aloud my favourite sermons from her book!

Overall, I was disappointed with this book and don't think it did anything to make me more creative. Some of what she writes is interesting, and I liked doing the morning pages - in fact I still do them. However, for me, developing creativity has really been a case of getting into the habit of painting, drawing and taking photographs regularly. I don't find it particularly helpful to blame other people for discouraging me, or to fragment my life into ever more activities and self-indulgences in order to discover my creative self.

If you are thinking of doing the Artist's Way I would recommend you read several units first to see if what she says is true for you. I didn't, and stuck with it for several weeks, hoping all would be revealed, but in the end decided my time would be better spent developing my artistic skills...
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99 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treat yourself - you deserve it, 30 Nov. 2002
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Mr. D. Burrell "CoolKiwiBloke" (Wellington, NZ) - See all my reviews
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Working through this book was for me a stage in life that I will never forget. The most freeing thing I got was that creativity has nothing to do with art. At the most basic level being creative is creating my life, its not about painting, drawing, writing, all those traditional expressions of art, unless thats what you want it to be about. The experience I gained was magical. I gained a previously unknown inner peace from working on these exercises. I got to live life as an adventure, where everything is new and anything is possible.
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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
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
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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
By 
Robin Kershaw (massachusetts) - See all my reviews
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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 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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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 by Julia Cameron (Unknown Binding - 8 Jan. 2005)
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