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The Progressive Book Club has been reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron this summer. I am new to the group so I’m not quite sure how to proceed but – here goes.

This was my second time reading The Artist’s Way in last ten years or so. I appreciate Julia Cameron’s point of view and find her words inspiring but, they don’t stick with me after I close the book. One of points that I did value is the importance of going on artist dates. When my creative well is running dry, a trip to the botanical gardens or art museum gets my creative juices flowing. Spending time with other creative people can be affirming as well. Writing is a solitary lifestyle. It’s important to get out.

A key element of Cameron’s work is the practice of “morning pages.” I have started a dozen or so “morning pages” journals and have yet to finish one. This go round, I made an effort and wrote in the journal first thing every morning for four weeks. I couldn’t keep it going. I started dreading walking into my writing room and having to do this task. I looked back at the journals and every page was a list of insecurities, complaints,  and sappy self affirmations. At the end of the four weeks, I felt terrible about my writing and myself. What good is that?

I am a student of meditation. I think the concept of morning pages is supposed to be a form of meditation. You’re supposed to pour out your inner thoughts and feelings on the page and, theoretically, leave them there. I hope that works for other people. It didn’t work for me, at least not in the morning.

Because I refuse to fail at anything, I reconfigured and tried again. This time, I tried doing “night pages.” Before I went to bed, I wrote down whatever was in my mind. I tried to comment on something positive that happened that day, something negative  that happened that day, and assess where I was emotionally. This has worked fairly well. It’s only been three weeks but I feel like it has been a positive experience. Writing things down does get them out of my head. I am sleeping better and waking up without thoughts roiling around my brain.

I am interested to see what the other members of the Progressive Book Club thought of The Artist’s Way. i hope it spoke to them.

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