1-3: The Artist’s Way
The Artist’s Way is a self help book written by the amazing Julia Cameron who is the preeminent voice on how to overcome creative blocks. Many songwriters are disciples of Cameron’s and swear by the techniques she outlines in The Artist's Way and the many other subsequent books she’s published such as The Vein of Gold, The Right to Write and Letters to a Young Artist. Her approach to breaking through to the other side lies in deep personal reflection and an investigation into the root cause of your troubles. Here are a few highlights from Cameron.
1. Clean out the morning cobwebs
Life is complicated and we’re constantly bombarded by it’s complexity. A lot of times we walk around all day worrying about this and that, our heads stuck somewhere in the past or future. Cameron suggests that you wake up every morning and begin your day by writing three pages full of all these thoughts, in turn cleaning out the cobwebs in your mind so you can get back to living in the present moment. It’s like journaling, but then again it isn’t. After you’re done writing the pages, you throw them away. This repetitive action of downloading all your thoughts via pen and paper (or digital device), and them letting them go is very powerful and can be the thing that gets you back into the flow state.
2. Take your inner artist on a date
Cameron says that our inner artist needs to be treated like someone we’re in a committed relationship with and that we need to take them out on dates. The idea is to take your inner artist somewhere where they might find inspiration or perhaps just even to a place where you can be alone with them. Maybe you go to a local art store, grab your inner artist some chalk and spend the afternoon drawing on the sidewalk with them. Perhaps you take them on a long walk to a pond and just sit there with them silently. This might seem silly at first, but give it a try and you’ll likely be surprised at how profound these experiences can be.
3. Write a letter to an older/younger you
In the book Cameron ask you to write a letter to 80 year old you and to 8 year old you. It’s an interesting exercise that uses the past the future to bring your squarely into the present. Not to mention, it will unearth meaningful things to write about.