Sometimes people spot a book on shelf that they have heard of, or know to have been useful to others they know, The Artists’ Way being one.
Ostensibly written to help those struggling with ‘creative block’ (Julia Cameron, its author, being Martin Scorsese’s ex wife after all), The Artist’s Way can, and is, used by many to help with other types of ‘blocks’ that may not seem to be ‘creative’ – a lack of self-esteem, an inability to break destructive patterns or negative thinking. Many have reported back with how useful it has been, and Cameron has a devoted following in the US and elsewhere.
The book offers a structured programme of exercises, key of which include the writing, by hand, of 3 sides of paper first thing when you awake – the “Morning Pages”. These writings must be the stream of consciousness that arises as you come out of sleep and into the day and mustn’t be edited by your ‘Censor’ (internal critic/inner demon/whatever you may call that urge to put yourself down).
“Morning Pages” alone can be a useful vehicle to explore and make sense of confusing or negative or uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, or the writings that come after this purge. Sometimes, just seeing the words on the page offers up a valuable distance from negative self-beliefs. The gap from eye to pen can work to encourage that useful objectivity.
The website has much more, and the ‘tools’ page explores Morning Pages in greater detail (along with another important exercise for you to find out). And if you are interested in exploring the idea of therapeutic writing further, I’d suggest starting here. Gillie Bolton has spent most of her adult life researching and using the power of writing to heal (herself and) others and has written an impressive selection of books on the subject. Or, check out the organisation Lapidus.
I have worked with many people who have found writing a powerful way to connect up ideas, unearth others and make sense of a personal development process.