How The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron helps me Find the Good Everyday

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has woven its way into my day to day life and is helping me Find the Good Everyday.

What is The Artist’s Way?

Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

At the start of 2017 I worked my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a book written as a 12 week course to help you creatively.
The tagline on the book reads “a course in discovering and recovering your creative self”.

The book is aimed at artists of every genre. A lot of the tasks involve writing so it’s ideally placed for someone wanting to stretch their writing muscles. But the ideas and tasks are designed for anyone who wants to develop creatively.

I chose to use the book to help me develop as a writer. One of the main teachings of the book – Morning Pages – had been a daily habit for me for around 15 months before I read and worked my way through the rest of the book. My success with Morning Pages helped me decide to commit to working my way through the whole course/book.

How I completed the work

Starting early January and  finishing in April, I worked on the book over about 14 weeks. I completed all the tasks that were set each week. Some were fun, some easy and some challenging. Some held me back (hence why it took me longer than the 12 weeks) and I had to make myself sit down and work through them.

Before I started the book I scheduled time in my calendar every Monday for a couple of hours to start work on that week.

Artists Way Week 2 Checklist

Each week I would start off by reading the week’s chapter and create a checklist of actions in my notepad. The checklist of actions always started with “Read the chapter” so I had a nice, easy win early on! I’d detail on the checklist any exercises within the chapter and then add the tasks (by number and a brief title) from the end of the chapter. Once the chapter was read and checklist written I’d work my way through it all. Some weeks I flew through the activities. Other weeks I had to keep returning to them. For tasks where I was required to do a daily activity I’d set it as a calendar item or reminder on my phone to ensure I remembered.

What I learnt

I took some key learnings from the book and I think they will continue to serve me well over my lifetime. There are several things I now do regularly as a result of the book. These are:

I loved Cameron’s links between creativity and spirituality. There’s an essay called “Attention” that explains that sometimes it requires something bad to happen in order for us to be able to pay close attention to the world around us. This  really resonated with me.

Snippet from the Artists Way

Having read reviews of the book I think the spirituality link and all the references to God (Cameron defines this as Good Orderly Direction) put some people off. I went into it with an open mind and was glad I did. The essays made me stop and think many times. And there are some I’ve repeatedly read because they’ve struck a chord with me.

Where it’s led me

My idea for this blog came from my work with The Artist’s Way. A seed was planted when I was working my way through the tasks. At the time I wished several times that I was blogging so I could do a weekly review, discuss tasks and have a record of how I was feeling through the whole experience. But I decided at the time to keep my focus on the course rather than divide my attention.

I’ve also spent the last few months working on my memoir/life story about my time in New Zealand. I had started the project before The Artist’s Way and enjoyed returning to it and continuing once I’d completed the course. Many of the things I read in The Artist’s Way helped me to cultivate my story.

Quote from the Artists Way

Over the coming weeks I will share more about my biggest takeaways from The Artist’s Way.

Have you read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron? What did you think? Or are you keen to read it now? You can leave a comment below or contact me if you’d like to share your thoughts.

You can find out more about Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way here. 

How do I Find the Good Everyday?

Given the name of this blog I thought it would be a good idea for me to share the things I do to help me Find the Good Everyday.

At the beginning of 2017, as part of my annual goal setting and review of the previous year, I came up with a list of self-nurturing daily habits I wanted to adopt. Some of these things I was already doing but not as often as I’d like. Other items on the list were reminders of positive actions I could take daily to feel happier.

Below is the list I come up with. I’ve added some brief detail about each item and over the coming weeks I plan to share more details of some of these habits as individual posts.

Find the Good In...series

Self-nurturing daily habits to help me Find the Good Everyday

  • Start the day with Morning Pages

    Morning pages is a journalling technique suggested by Julia Cameron who wrote a book called The Artist’s Way.  She suggests that each morning, on waking, you journal 3 pages of stream of conscious writing.  You should do this before anything else – before your mind has too much time to wake up. The pages often end up being filled with whinging, what you need to get done that day and sometimes nonsense! What this does is clear all of the random muddle from your head first thing in the day and free up some space for creative thinking. I’ve been writing Morning Pages most days since October 2015. I am a convert and do not like missing a day.

  • Yoga &/or stretch every day

    I’m a fan of both yoga and pilates and have done each with various levels of consistency over the years. I have never regretted doing a yoga practice or a pilates workout but often the biggest battle was getting myself to the mat and ready to go. Rather than decree a set amount of exercise I should do each day I decided to be gentle with myself. I’m pleased to say that so far this year I have completed a yoga practice every day. Some days it’s 5 minutes and some days much longer. I feel much stronger and more flexible as a result of daily practice and it also helps to quieten my mind.

  • Drink 1.5-2 litres of water each day

    I’ve always been happy to drink water and it’s usually my first choice for drinking. And yet I wasn’t in the habit of consistently drinking enough. So this year I stepped it up, and with some help from a measured bottle I soon got in the regular habit of drinking enough each day.

  • Seek ways to live out my values and my core desired feelings and be DARING

    A couple of years ago I did some personal development work to define my personal values. It was time consuming and involved but it has helped steer my decisions and life choices ever since.  I learnt about Core Desired Feelings from an online retreat I took part in which led us through The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. I added my Core Desired Feelings to my values to help me define how I wanted to feel and what I believed in. And as part of my annual goal setting I picked DARING as my word for the year. (In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I LOVE to collect words!) This habit on my list reminds me to check in with all my “words” regularly.

  • Tell my boys I love them so

    I’m fairly certain I do quite well at this one without having the reminder on my habits list! But telling (and showing) my husband and son that I love them each and every day is an awesome thing to achieve each day and an important aspect of my relationships with them both.

  • Make lots of healthy choices and allow myself little treats

    Sometimes I think I’m an all-or-nothing person and other times I think moderation is key. I’m still not 100% certain which camp I fall into but the thought of giving up treats made me sad so this habit seemed the best option for me. And it’s working. I recommend it.

  • Practice self love and self care

    Self love and self care practice are what this whole list is about! I thought it was important to remember that focus and this is a great reminder to seek other ways to Find the Good Everyday as well as the ones I specifically listed.

  • Finish each day by documenting my gratitude

    This is a habit I’ve had and dropped several times over my adulthood when my routines have changed. And I always return to it. Sitting in bed each evening I write a brief list (usually 3 things) of the things I’ve been most grateful for that day. Some days are tougher than others to come up with a list but I always manage something!

    Conclusion

I may not always do everything on this list every day but over the course of this year I have developed them as regular habits.  I am already thinking ahead to see how I can update or amend this list next year for improvement.

I’m looking forward to exploring some of these habits more on the blog over the coming weeks and months.

Do you have any daily habits that help you Find the Good Everyday? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment or feel free to contact me directly.

Helping YOU to Find the Good Everyday

Freebie intro

When you sign up as an email subscriber you will receive a free How to Find the Good Everyday printable workbook. It contains tips and suggestions for building daily rituals and routines to nurture yourself to feel happier, healthier and in balance. There are sections to work through followed by a handy printable to complete and display as a reminder of your intentions.

You can sign up HERE to receive the workbook and read more about it HERE.

Welcome to Find the Good Everyday

Welcome to my blog. My name’s Katie and you can read a bit more about me here.

Find the Good Everyday is my personal blog where I will be sharing the ways I find the good things in everyday life to feel happy, healthy and in balance (yes I’m a Libra!).

I’ve been on a personal development journey the last few years. This has involved getting to know myself better and learning to nurture and nourish my mind, body and soul. I have introduced rituals and routines into my daily life to keep me focused on moving forward, learning and growing.  And I’ve read and worked through a lot of advice about self love, self care and nurturing yourself. I plan to share the things I’ve found that have helped me on this blog.

I hope you’ll stay awhile, have a look around and that you find some helpful information here. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or you can contact me here.