The Artist’s Way

Many years ago when I was first getting into photography I did a program called The Artist’s Way developed by a woman named Julia Cameron. I highly recommend it to anyone who is artistically inclined but may have doubt about following their passion. She did a series of workshops to finally develop a book outlining those workshops in a book published in 1992. The Artist’s Way: A course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. It takes a 12-week commitment of about 30 minutes each day to complete the entire program. I have heard of people doing it as a group, but I think it’s something you can just work on your own. I recommend it to all new artists I meet and in any field of creative exploration. It is the most powerful discover program I have ever done and I would have to say is one of the greatest influences to bring me to where I am today. You can find it in most bookstores or order in on line and I have probably given out several dozen copies to people I have known. Most people I know who worked in theater had done the program. The book is divided into 12 weeks. Each week tackles a different part of the creative psyche. It begins by exposing your sense of safety, works through issues dealing with identity, integrity, possibility, connection, and strength, and ultimately ends with a strong belief of faith in yourself to follow your desire.

The process took me though identifying my fears and doubt and gave me a greater sense of identity. I had a lot of anxiety to overcome growing up on a family cattle ranch in the mountains of western Montana. Not your normal kind of anxieties for a kid growing up in this sort of lifestyle. I knew I was different. I have always been drawn to creative things. Most of my family didn’t get this. I am not sure where these influences actually come from and I often wonder if we are born with them or if it’s just something we cultivate as we discover more about processes we become involved in and discover along the way. By all means I should not have been exposed to any such influences growing up and it’s a mystery to me what become the influence for such strong impetus to create. Being creative is not a glamorous life, well not for me, it hasn’t led me to any great wealth or fame. It’s actually been the opposite; it’s a constant struggle, a constant search for connection and meaning. I think artist have to be strong people and have to be willing to live lives of sacrifice. What does one ultimately get in return? There is no easy path; you end up having to forge your own frontier. But for some of us there is no other choice in life, it’s like being gay, I didn’t choose it, it’s just what I am. I always had to laugh at young people coming into the world of the theater, with this idealism of being discovered and becoming a star as if that’s all there is too it. Wrong, it’s about dedication and passion and lot of damn hard work. Just because you have a pretty face, does not mean you are talented. When you get to a city there are thousands of people with pretty faces, what you have to do it recognize it in your heart, been well, well, well educated in your craft, secure in yourself and find the target. This is where programs like The Artist’s Way truly pays off; because it helps you to identify and understand these questions within your self. And in the end it asks you to set goals. Yes they may only be things you dream about, but at least you put it out there and reach for the stars. It helped me recognize the dream. For it was to have an amazing space where I could create and live a life of exploring and exposing myself through erotic imagery. That dream has come true beyond what I ever imagined possible.

Every once in a while I go back and look at or spend a week or so reworking a chapter or two from The Artist Way. Lately I’ve had an inclination to go back and revisit it once again. It’s time to set some new goals and see where I want to be in another 10 years.

Thanks Julia for this amazing gift you have given me and the world. You have led me to an amazing life of discovery and helped me recognize this glorious beacon within myself.