Susi Castle

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The Artist’s Way – getting out of my own way


Among all the things I’ve been concentrating on recently – and Dream Job research features pretty heavily – I’ve been trying to work on creativity. I found Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way via one of the people I respect the most on the internet: Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova. If you’re not already away of her site then you should make your way over there immediately. Her work on curating some of the most interesting of humanity’s works is incredible and you’ll find yourself as addicted as when you make the mistake of heading for wikipedia or tvtropes.

I’ve been working my way through her book slowly and so far the only two tasks I have managed to stick to have been Morning Pages and Artists Date. Morning Pages are for my eyes only, but they involve rolling out of bed straight onto a pad of paper, grabbing a pen and pouring out longhand thoughts onto the page. It’s been a great way to focus my mind every day and is probably akin to meditation (something I’ve attempted a few times, including in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto) but has been far easier to stick to.

So far my Artist Dates have involved making greetings cards for family & friends and it’s been great fun getting back to a craft knife, which was one of the tools I always had close at hand at school in Japan, ready to put together another English Board display. I’ve also enjoyed incorporating Polaroids to add a little more flavour. My Polaroid camera is one of the best presents I have ever received. In the digital age it’s interesting to have something you can’t edit all of the flaws out of.

One of the things I’ve realised from reading The Artist’s Way and ReWork – more on that one another day – is how much nicer it is to have a physical copy of a book when you’re using it as a reference guide. My Kindle was a lifesaver in Japan and just generally useful for travelling, but there’s nothing like flicking through real pages to find what you’re looking for.