A Creative Journey

A Creative Journey

I could hardly wait for the start of 2016. You see, in early December, I decided to embark on a journey of discovery known as The Artist’s Way. I also decided that January was the ideal time to begin.

The Artist’s Way is a twelve-week program designed to help individuals connect with their creative selves. As a show of my commitment to this endeavor, I signed a contract in which I affirmed my understanding that I am undertaking an intensive, guided encounter with my own creativity and committing to the twelve-week duration of the course.

Designed by award-winning writer Julia Cameron, the program is founded on ten basic principles. I’ve shared them throughout the post.

Several tools are needed to complete this journey. The first is morning pages. Morning pages are three handwritten sheets of unfettered stream of consciousness done the first thing in the morning. No thinking, no internal editing, but rather writing whatever comes to mind. It is by far the easiest part of the journey for me. What else am I going to do when I find myself wide awake during the wee hours of the morning?

The second tool is the weekly artist’s date. According to the program, this is essential for creative awakening. One would think that allowing oneself a play-date would be easy. However, as the program points out, this is one of the most difficult parts. It is certainly that way for me. How might I possibly take time out of my busy schedule for playtime when I have so much work to do?

By the way, this is the second time I have embarked on this course of creative discovery. The first time was in 2013. I struggled with the concept of a weekly artist date then too. Those times when I did take artist’s dates were wonderful. Be it a solitary walk in the park gathering small insignificant mementos, a yoga session, or drawing. I know the benefits firsthand, but the struggle continues.


Along with the tools listed above are a series of weekly tasks that consist of reading, meditation, affirmations, and self-reflection, to name a few.

At the end of the week, there is a weekly check-in. When I completed the program in 2013, I participated as part of a Savvy Authors workshop. My creative week began mid-week to coincide with the start of the new year. That meant the weekly check-ins took place mid-week. Thinking of the middle of the week as the end of the week was quite an adjustment.

This year I am taking the course on my own, and I decided to start on a Sunday. I set aside twenty minutes or so to check-in for the week on Saturdays.

During check-ins, I am tasked with answering the following questions:

  • The first question asked is how many days this week did you do your morning pages.
  • The second question asked is did you do your artist’s date this week.
  • The third question asked is whether there were any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery.


My responses are as follows:

(1) I am happy to say I did the morning pages every day. As for the experience—it was liberating.

(2) Sadly, no. I’ll return to this later.

(3) I encountered a couple of issues that I absolutely must resolve if I am to continue to grow as a writer as well as an individual. I spent upward of twenty hours participating in web-based seminars to earn continuing education credits required to maintain my project management professional (PMP) certification.

I kept flashing back to parts of my life that I would rather not revisit, but I also had the opportunity to reflect on weighty matters: sustainability, corporate consciousness, environmental awareness, grateful leadership, and business ideologies.

Weighty matters indeed that seem to have little connection to my current occupation. Still, I have a sense that I made significant strides on my journey even if I cannot quite put my finger precisely on what they were.

That brings me back to the matter of the artist’s date. As spelled out in the program, to fulfill an artist’s date one must be open-minded. As directly stated, “the open mind is available to inspiration.” That is even more of a reason to take an artist’s date this week. I will be inspired.


What about you?

Do you ever find it difficult to make time just for you?

How likely are you to take yourself on a date?



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Debbie Fortin
January 19, 2016 6:43 AM

I, unfortunately, have very little time for me. With a 50 hour work week and a family this is very difficult to accomplish. I used to take an hour a day for me. I used to take myself on dates, a walk with the dog or horseback riding; again no more, there aren’t enough hours in the week. I hope to take time again in the not too distant future.

January 16, 2016 12:23 PM

I have to admit that I feel I get ‘off track’ doing writing courses. What is the old adage, if it works, don’t fix it? That being said, I am glad if this helps you or others to write better. That should be our goals as writers–for each book we publish to be better than the last. And, what better judge of that than the reviews (the legitimate ones) of our readership and sales of our books. Wishing you much luck with this course.

January 16, 2016 8:33 PM
Reply to  brendabigbee

Thanks for your encouraging words, Brenda! I am open to wherever this creative journey leads. 🙂

Leenie B
January 14, 2016 5:55 PM

I do find it hard to just take time for me, but I know how it can help to “recharge” the batteries….and then as I am feeling that wonderful revived feeling, I think, I should do this more often, but I don’t. It is so easy to put everything and everyone first. Good luck on getting those necessary “dates” in there. 🙂

January 14, 2016 5:33 PM

The Artist Way sounds so interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Diana J Oaks
January 14, 2016 1:54 PM

I just started The Artist’s Way course too. I’m on my second week. My Artist’s date last week was definitely a struggle, but I did do it. I joined a Facebook group of writers of the same faith as I am who are all going through it together, and we “check in” with each other. It’s been very revealing, and I am hopeful that it will unleash some things that are all tied up in knots for me right now. Loved the post.

Linda A.
Linda A.
January 14, 2016 11:28 AM

I tried to do The Artist’s Way course quite a few years back and, as Stephanie L says, my linear, logical, 1+1 has to equal 2 brain struggled with it. I have since found that my satisfaction comes from figuring out how to replace the faucet in my bathroom sink or how to replace the fill valve in my toilet, not from being “creative” in art or writing. I suppose this is why I make a really good text editor because I remember all of the grammar rules and correct word usage. I envy people who can be creative and write these JAFF stories. So my time to myself is lying on the sofa with my Kindle reading JAFF. Good luck with the course, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t always get the assignments done for the week. Congratulate yourself on what you DID do.

Jennifer Redlarczyk
Jennifer Redlarczyk
January 14, 2016 10:27 AM

Your “Creativity” course sounds wonderful. Being a private music teacher I feel like I have creativity coming my way every day. My kids (2nd grade through Sr. Citizens) are so enthusiastic and some of them are quite talented which can send chills down your spine when they really “get it right.” Best wishes with your 12 weeks. I’m sure it will enhance your writing. Waiting for more, says the hungry reader.

Stephanie L
January 14, 2016 9:54 AM

I used to take time for me regularly. Even once I was married and helping to take care of health challenged parents. However, by now I am a full-time student, a full-time budget rep for a major University, the parents have become handicapped parents and life in general seems to box me in. When I sit down each night to look at the next days schedule in my planner, I have (more than once) just wanted to draw a huge red line through just one day and just go do something for me. I still haven’t done it, but the thought is there. Maybe after graduation…le sigh Finding a creative side in me would be a challenge in itself!! I’m very linear and logical for the most part…LOL The thought pages are GORGEOUS though! Good luck on your mission, may you find another yet untapped well of creativity and artistry in your soul.

Pam Dixon
January 15, 2016 7:24 AM
Reply to  Stephanie L

Thanks for your kind words, Stephanie. Reading them put a smile on my face, especially the following:

Good luck on your mission, may you find another yet untapped well of creativity and artistry in your soul.

That’s such a beautiful sentiment.

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