In 1992, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Hoping to inspire and motivate myself to write, I spent an entire weekend devouring the book and then decided to incorporate morning pages and artist dates into my life.
That enthusiasm fizzled after only one week.
At the time, I was in the thick of my career and personal life. Busy with course preps, curriculum meetings, extra-curricular activities, and family health issues, I found myself unable to even consider adding one more activity to my schedule.
Fast forward to 2008.
I retired and started to write non-fiction, following the dictates of my well-honed left brain (I’m a math teacher). Over 500 of my articles and book reviews appeared in online and print publications. Later, I turned to fiction, making reinvention a central theme in my five novels.
In spite of this productivity, I have experienced several bouts of writer’s block during these eleven years of life on golden pond.
To jumpstart my creativity during one prolonged hiatus, I revisited The Artist’s Way. To my delight and surprise, I was able to incorporate Julia’s suggestions into my daily regimen and have maintained the momentum for the past five years.
I started with morning pages… “three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness.” Some days, I would go beyond three pages, other days I barely got one page done. But I didn’t fret about those details. Instead, I kept Julia’s advice in mind: “There is no wrong way to do morning pages.”
Artist dates—setting aside two hours weekly for a solo activity that adds to my creative consciousness—were more challenging. While many of Julia’s suggestions—take a long walk, visit an artist supply’s shop, go cloud watching, fly a kite—sounded easy and doable, I knew that I needed more stimulating activities.
I started reading notices on bulletin boards and the Events sections of local papers, searching for “Artist Date” activities. I found myself attracted to arts and crafts shows within a 60-mile radius. I enjoy meeting the artisans and admiring their handiwork. One of my favorites is Fair November, a local fair showcasing the traditional and modern handmade crafts of over 80 artisans. I blog about these adventures here.
While I haven’t follow all of Julia’s rules—not such a bad thing—I have reaped the benefits of those artist dates. By immersing myself in new and different situations, I am able to replenish my inner well and fire up my imagination. In my morning pages, I continue to vent and experiment with ideas for articles, short stories, and future series.
How do you replenish your inner well?
Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…