What is The Artist's Way?

Alas, as much fun as it was to facilitate The Artist's Way at Orr Street in the summers of 2009 & 2010, I have had to pull back on the teaching since then, too much else going on. Check back, though, as it may happen again.

Meanwhile, lots of you have asked what The Artist's Way is exactly. Let me give describing it a shot. The Artist's Way is a 12-step program for creative recovery. Still not sure what that means? Here's the fine print.

In The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron argues that we are all born deeply creative and that expressing that creativity through multiple modalities is as natural a part of human development as learning to walk or talk. She argues further that we live in a culture that fails to value those efforts on their own terms, a culture that values creative impulses only when they result--and rather quickly--in readily recognizable, readily commodifiable works of art. In other words, not very often.

As a result, Cameron believes that most people simply shunt their creative impulses into side projects and poorly tended hobbies, if they don't shut them down altogether. She believes that creative energy can infuse everything we do and that such limiting of our inherent creativity can lead us into living lives that are at best less full than they might be, at worst, plagued by physiological problems stemming from the repression of those natural creative impulses.

Inspired by other 12-step recovery programs, Cameron invented The Artist's Way as a means of recovering from the repression of creativity, of recovering to her own creative impulses. I came to the book in the winter of 2001-2002 when a friend and I completed the program together. I found it amazing as a way to sustain my creative-writing life after graduate school and as a way to shape a satisfying professional life as well.

As I'm not currently facilitating a live workshop on The Artist's Way, I refer you to Julia Cameron herself and The Artist's Way Online.

Homework for The Artist's Way at Orr Street

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Page last modified on July 16, 2015, at 12:22 PM