Artist's Way Book Journey · Book Reviews

The Censor VS the Inner Child – Reading “The Artist’s Way” – Part 1

Ok, I know I’ve been saying this – I will update this blog weekly again! This time though, I really mean it. I have new motivation. A few friends and I have started reading The Artist’s Way: Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self, by Julia Cameron.

In case you haven’t heard of it, this book has been revolutionary. It has helped a lot of artists get unblocked and a lot of new artists rev up their creative engines. I heard of this book many years ago from a friend; now I wish I had, and wonder what would have happened!

So far I’ve only read the introductory chapters and done “week 1” of this revitalizing creativity course, but…so far, I like it! Cameron has each student of her house do 3 daily “morning pages”, stream of consciousness journaling, as well as a weekly “artist’s date”. She also has the group share turns facilitating a grup activity.

I have been doing my morning pages for 1 week now and I find it works. I “drain my brain” as Cameron says, and find my day is fresher, my mind freer to focus on important things. I’ve even found myself getting ideas for my current WIPs – something I’ve been longing for in the dry creative month since I’ve moved.

Anyway! On to this post’s focus – the censor versus the inner child.

The censor is that demoniac part of ourselves that says (pardon my language), “You can’t write/draw/photograph/etc. for shit”. It’s the voice in our heads the stops us from doing creative endeavors, even before we’ve started. It’s our inner critic, inner editor, it’s the demon that haunts us all and kills our creative juice.

As artists, we NEED that creative juice. It’s not like juice; it’s more like water. If we don’t have it, our worlds feel upside-down and funky. Maybe you’ve felt it. I know I have. When I don’t write or at least think about writing, doodle, SOMETHING, I feel the lack. I feel uninspired, and not only that, but cranky, angry, even deeply depressed.

Cameron’s book urges us to unblock, so that we can get the water we need to survive. Her methods in her book encourage us to shut up that censor. A lot of writing books talk about this, but they don’t give a method for how; they just tell us, “shut it up. Freewrite or something”. Cameron’s book gives more.

Cameron’s book, like other artsy books, encourages us through personal and anecdotal stories. Not only that though, she has a really peppy mood, a real rejuvenating feeling, to her author’s voice. I also enjoy how she comes at it like a teacher. You, the reader, are a student, and you must do your homework if you want to pass. The rewards for passing, or acing the class, are to have the creative water that gives you life, joy, money, happiness, etc. You need it.

I like the teacher-student format, because it forces us reader-artists to be accountable – to ourselves, to Cameron, etc. Other writing books haven’t done this so much.

Today I was the facilitator for my group, and we tapped into our inner child by decorating our notebooks with stickers, Disney Princess stickers, no less! And we also drew/colored/sparkled with glitter, and illustrated our artist’s self/inner child, and our censors.

What would your censor look like? What about your inner artist child? What writing motivating books have you read that helped you?

Night night,

Chaitanya

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