The Artist's Way and my Morning Pages journal

Living The Artist’s Way: Discover and Recover Your Creativity

If you’re a creator of any kind, by now you’ve probably heard of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. A bestseller for about 30 years now, The Artist’s Way is something like a 12-step program to get in touch with your creative side.

It was one of those books I’d heard about for years but didn’t think I’d be interested in. I already know how to be creative, I thought with some cynicism. What could you possibly learn about being creative from a book? A pretty harsh take from someone who made an entire ’zine centered around creativity, I know. But I take it all back now. I can honestly say that reading this book gave me new tools for my creativity that I didn’t think were possible. In fact, that ’zine got its start as a result of the work I was doing as I moved through the process. 

What is The Artist’s Way?

The Artist’s Way is divided into 12 chapters (plus intro and epilogue), meant to be read as one chapter, or lesson, per week. The chapters all deal with recovering parts of your creativity, with journaling prompts, activities, and opportunities to slow down and observe your process.

There are two primary activities that Cameron will call on you to do each week: daily morning pages and a weekly artist date.

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Introducing The Muse Manifesto

Your muse is pushing you to take action and live your boldest, most creative life.

It’s time to listen and make those ideas manifest.

Introducing The Muse Manifesto

The Muse Manifesto is a digital magazine for anyone daring to live a creative life. The inaugural Winter 2022 issue is centered around making the new year your boldest and most creative year. It includes nearly 70 pages of reflection exercises, rituals, and new routines to implement in 2022.

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a very pink sunset (no filter)

Self Care for Creatives: Science-Backed Practices for Mind, Body, and Spirit

Taking care of ourselves is essential at all times. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let our good habits fall by the wayside. Yet as creatives — artists, writers, performers, and other types of innovators — we need to have some way to take breaks, stay grounded, and give ourselves the support and encouragement we need.

I wrote this post with creators in mind, but self care is for everyone. And with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to recognize how we’re feeling now and year-round. Paying attention to what’s going on for us mentally, physically, and emotionally is an excellent start.

If you already have these practices, this post will give you evidence that you’re on the right track. And if you’re not sure where to begin, here are some ideas to get you started. As a disclaimer, the advice in this post is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or condition, so if you have questions, please talk to a doctor or other professional.

Here are a few ways you can get started on practices for mind, body, and spirit (and why experts say you should, too):

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Melponeme, Greek Muse of Tragedy

What to Do When You’re in a Bad Mood

This Saturday, I woke up in what could best be described as a “funk.” It had started sometime during the week as a kind of low-grade irritability. But by Saturday, I was in deep. I felt tired, unmotivated, and somewhat unhappy, and for seemingly no reason. 

We’ve all been there at some point. When you’re in this situation, you have two choices:

  1. Stay there and go down that spiral
  2. Pull yourself out of it

The first option is easy. And yes, sometimes we need to sit and be with our feelings, without judging them. Toxic positivity — that gaslighting “Ignore your problems and just be happy!” mindset — never helps anyone. (And I don’t mean this about dealing with the big things — grief, depression, or trauma. This is the inexplicable bad mood that hits you out of nowhere. If it does persist, it’s important to speak to someone about it.) 

But as creatives, we can’t stay in this state forever. So the second path to change our mood is far more difficult. And it was what I proceeded to work through the rest of the weekend.

How did I manage to get through it? I wondered the same thing and began to examine my weekend. I then realized that if I could turn things around for myself that quickly, there had to be something I could share with others to help them do the same.

So here’s my list of the action steps I took this weekend. I hope that if you find yourself having an “off” day, you can use these tips to get back on track:

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The world's largest kaleidoscope in Mt. Tremper, NY

Curated Creativity: 5 Must-Watch TED Talks for Transforming Your Vision into a Reality

Artists, writers, performers, and other creators across disciplines have big dreams. But creative blocks and other obstacles can hold them back from turning their vision into reality.

Whether you’re a creative pro or enthusiastic amateur, you may have asked questions like:

  • Where should I put my attention if I have multiple interests?
  • Which sources of inspiration should I follow?
  • How can I gather up the courage to put myself out there?
  • Whom can I ask for help and support?
  • How do I create something that can change the world? 

The TED and TEDx Talks I’ve compiled below will answer these questions and inspire you to embark on your creative journey. Here are the five impactful lessons these artistic innovators have for creators of all kinds:

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A decoupaged globe at ARTISANworks Rochester, NY

How to Write Your Creative Manifesto

One of my favorite phrases is that “words are wands” — meaning that what we write down and speak aloud regarding ourselves has the potential to become truth. The more empowering stories we tell, the more we can create our ideal reality.

We can strike this balance when we ask ourselves how we feel and then put those thoughts into action. The best way to do that? Write it down and give yourself a blueprint to work from.

Art movements have long been using manifestos to declare their aesthetic goals and highlight their departures from their predecessors. The manifesto announces itself to the world as a bold step in a new direction. It inspires you to take action rather than sit idly by, waiting for inspiration to strike.

Last year, I wrote out a bunch of things that I truly believe and what I do to uphold those beliefs. I arranged these statements into a “manifesto,” which I wrote in my day planner. This way, I could refer back to my beliefs at any time to ensure that I am acting in alignment with my purpose. Some statements I chose were:

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Slip of paper reading Rebirth is merely the dawning on your mind of what is already in it

Celebrating Success (and Failure): 2 Alternative CVs You Need to Write

Some people say that experience is the best teacher. So why not look to our own to guide us? 

There are two ways of looking at experience. One is that “tough love” kind of situation — the things that didn’t go our way. The other is to see our successes and pat ourselves on the back for a job (or jobs) well done.

I don’t think that just one approach is sufficient. We need both to balance things out. The aim is to avoid becoming egotistical and to not be too hard on ourselves either.

Chances are you already know how to write a résumé or curriculum vitae (CV). The two activities below center on learning from our failures and successes alike. Grab a notebook and a pen for this one!

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Rows of trees outside the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY

A Ritual to Release Limiting Beliefs

When I was in first grade, I did a finger painting project to create a picture of an apple tree. My classmates and I would dip our thumbs in red paint to place an “apple” on a pre-drawn tree on a sheet of paper. At the end, the pictures would all hang up in the classroom, like some kind of cartoon orchard.

For whatever reason, I wanted my apples to be in perfectly neat rows. (My early attempt at modern art, perhaps.) As I was finishing my painting, my teacher came over, looked at what I was doing, and shook her head. “Apples don’t grow in straight lines,” she said. Then she took my paper and gave me a new one so that I could make my apples more random — you know, just like what everyone else was doing.

I remember being rightfully annoyed with my teacher. After all, it was a finger painting, not a still life! Unfortunately, this isn’t a unique situation in early childhood education, and this kind of “correction” can be devastating for a young artist.

In their book Creative Confidence, David and Tom Kelley explain the story of a childhood friend of theirs who was making a clay sculpture of a horse one day in grade school. Then a classmate of his looked at the sculpture and said it looked nothing like a horse. Dejected, the boy put away the clay and avoided making anything after that.

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