The Artist’s Way is perhaps the definitive book on the subject of creativity. Published in 1992, “The Artist’s Way” grew out of a class that author Julia Cameron taught on how to become “unblocked” and how to recover from a creative injury or setback.
The purpose of “The Artist’s Way” is to put people in touch with the power of their own internal creativity. The book/course has helped thousands of people knock down the barriers to their creativity; I highly recommend “The Artist’s Way.”
The primary tool of creative recovery is what Cameron calls the morning pages.
“In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it,” she says. “I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call morning pages.”
Morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness. Cameron recommends that they be done first thing in the morning.
Morning pages are a gift to your creative self. As such, they’re not meant for publication or for sharing — you can shred the pages as soon as you write them, if you wish.
There is no wrong way to do morning pages. They’re not meant to be art, or even writing. My morning pages are often negative, fragmented, self-pitying, repetitive, angry, fearful, bland, and illegible. The process of writing the pages feels like a meditative state.
“As blocked artists, we tend to criticize ourselves mercilessly,” Cameron says. “We are victims of our internalized perfectionist, a nasty internal and eternal critic, the Censor, who resides in the left brain and keeps up a constant stream of subversive remarks that are often disguised as the truth.”
Let your Censor rattle on, Cameron says. Just keep your hand moving across the page. The Censor aims for your creative jugular.
“The Censor is out to get you,” she says. “Every time you get smarter, it does, too. So you wrote one good play? The Censor tells you that’s all there is. So you drew your first sketch? The Censor says, ‘It’s not Picasso.'”
Think of your Censor as a cartoon serpent, hissing vile things to keep you off guard. Making the Censor into a nasty, clever character begins to pry loose some of its power over you.
The morning pages teach the logical, left brain to stand aside and let the artist play, Cameron says.
Morning pages have worked for painters, sculptors, poets, actors, lawyers, teachers, agents, music critics — anyone who wants to try something creative.
Give morning pages a try.