The Artist’s Way is a book that I literally can’t stop talking about. I’ve been telling people to read this book for years because I really believe in its life-altering potential. Basically, the Artist’s Way is creativity therapy. It’s a 12-week workshop where you read one chapter each week, which includes daily activities (morning pages), a weekly artist date, and then some exercises/questions at the end of each week. It’s a little cheesy at times and the author’s use of the word ‘god’ may be a deterrent for some, but even with those caveats, the workshop is invaluable. This article says it all: This Terrible Self-Help Book Is Actually Making Me a Better Artist.
I’m stoked to lead this workshop, but I do have to admit something: I’ve never actually made it past week 5. I’ve tried to do this workshop several times, but every time I eventually quit. And the reason why is simple: therapy is hard. Daily routines are hard. Completing things you’ve started can be really freaking hard.
That said, even doing 5 weeks of this workshop at the beginning of 2018 set me up for the best year of my life. The energy I put into facing some fears and focusing on my creativity led me to this point: it’s why I’m living in a van and it’s why I know many of you! I’ve seen the power of this workshop first-hand and I’m hoping that doing this as a group will add an element of accountability to help us complete it (and hopefully by “leading” this workshop, I’ll be forced to complete it this time!).
So here we are: “New Year, New You!” Let’s do this!
- We’ll start the workshop on January 1st. Every week due by Tuesday, starting with Tuesday January 8th, you will go on the Facebook group and share your answers to that week’s chapter questions. Each week, please write your answers to at least two questions and respond to at least two comments from other participants. Feel free to share about anything workshop-related on the Facebook page.
- To help increase accountability throughout the workshop, everyone will be matched with an Accountability Partners. Throughout the workshop y’all will be matched with a few different Accountability Partners, who you’ll have a one-on-one call with to check-in about the workshop. This is a great opportunity to have a conversation in real time about the workshop AND you can make new friends! If you want to opt out of the Accountability Partner, let me know, but I think it will be a reeeeally big help throughout the workshop!
- We’ll also do live YouTube videos or Google Hangouts with y’all where we can have a live discussion in real time! More on that to come…
Here’s general info about the workshop and our syllabus:
The Two Main Requirements
1. Do This Every Day: Morning Pages
Morning Pages are the most important part of the Artist’s Way workshop.
It is essential that you write your Morning Pages every morning.
Stream of consciousness writing for 750 words or 3 handwritten pages every single morning. Read the beginning of the book for a great explanation why this is essential and the one main requirement of the entire workshop. Making new habits is hard, so check out this video about how to make a new habit an automatic part of your daily routine.
2. Do This Every Week: Artist’s Date
Every week, take yourself on a solo creative date. This can be super simple and it must be alone. The point of this is to replenish your inner artist with external creativity.
1/01/2019: Welcome & Introductions
This is the first day of the Artist’s Way workshop! Start the morning with your Morning Pages and plan ahead how you’ll get them done– are you writing by hand or digitally? Make sure you have your paper and pen by your bed. Personally, I use an app called DayOne and I set a timer for 13 minutes because that’s how long it takes me to type 750 words (I type pretty fast). Even 5-10 minutes is better than nothing, but the goal is 3 written pages or 750 words.
Introduce yourself on the Facebook group today! Just like everything in life, this workshop is what you make it and group participation will be key to our collective success. Introduce yourself, share if you’re currently nomadic or not, and if so, for how long, and share something that you’re exciting about the upcoming new year.
This week you will go on your first Artist’s Date, which you will do once each week of the workshop. This date is a solo creative journey for yourself– it can be as simple as cooking dinner or walking around a park or museum.
1/08/2019: Week 1 Wrap-Up
By Tuesday, January 8th, share your answers to at least 2 of this week’s questions and comment on at least 2 of the other participant’s answers on the Facebook group. I recommend sharing your answers to the questions that excite you the most and the questions that you dislike the most. That is where the interesting inner work exists. Here are some of the questions for Week 1:
- Examine the negative beliefs you have about yourself. Identify your top 10 core negative beliefs.
- Time Travel. List 3 old enemies of your creative self-worth. Please be as specific as possible in doing this exercise. Your historic monsters are the building blocks of our core negative beliefs. (yes, rotten Sister Ann Rita from fifth grade does count, and the rotten thing she said to you does matter. Put her in.) This is your Monster Hall of Fame. More monsters will come to you as you work through your recovery. It is always necessary to acknowledge creative injuries and grieve them. Otherwise, they become creative scar tissue and block your growth. Describe what they said to you and how it made you feel.
- Time Travel: List three old champions of your creative self=worth. This is your Hall of Champions, those who wish you and your creativity well. Be specific. Every encouraging word counts. Even if you disbelieve a compliment, record it. It may well be true. Describe what they said to you and how it made you feel.
1/15/2019: Week 2 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 2’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday, Jan 15! Here are the questions:
- Where does your time go? List your five major activities this week. How much time did you give to each one? Which were what you wanted to do and which were “shoulds”? How much time is helping others or doing for others and ignoring your own desires?
- Draw a circle on a sheet of paper. Inside that circle, place topics you need to protect and names of people in your life who are supportive of you. Outside the circle place the things or names of those you must be self-protective around.
- List 20 things you enjoy doing (rock-climbing, roller-skating, baking, riding a bike, riding a horse, playing catch, shooting baskets, going for a run, reading poetry, go-cart racing, dancing etc?) When was the last time you let yourself do these things? Next to each entry, place a date you last did this thing. From this list, write down 2 favorite things that you will do this week. They need not be major; they can be small things. Find small bits of time that you can pursue these goals.
- Life Pie: Draw a circle. Divide it into 6 pieces. Label one pie Spirituality, another exercising, another play, one work,, one friends, and one Romance/adventure. Place a dot in each slice at the degree to which you are fulfilled in that area (outer rim indicates great; inner circle, not so great). Connect the dots. This will show you where you are lopsided.
- List 10 Changes: List ten changes you’d like to make for yourself, from the significant to the small or vice versa. Write them out? “I would like to” before naming each one.
1/22/2019: Week 3 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 3’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday Jan 22nd! Here are the questions:
- Describe five traits you liked in yourself as a child.
- Take a look at your habits. Many of them may interfere with you self-nurturing. Some of the oddest things might be self-destructive?. Watching TV, playing computer games, hanging out with a really boring friend, drinking too much, smoking, eating etc? ) List 3 obvious rotten habits. What’s the payoff in continuing them?
- List 5 people you admire. Now list 5 people you secretly admire. What traits do each of these people have that you can cultivate further in yourself?
- List 5 people you wish you had met who are dead. Now list 5 people who are dead that you’d like to hang out with for a while in eternity. What traits do you find in these people that you can look for in your friends.
1/29/2019: Week 4 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 4’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday Jan 29th! Here are the questions:
- Time Travel: Write a letter from you at eighty years old self to you at your current age. What would you tell yourself? What interests would you urge yourself to pursue? What dreams would you encourage? Any particular advice you would give to your self right now?
- Time Travel: Remember yourself at eight years old. What did you like to do? What were your favorite things? Now, write a letter from you at eight years old to you at your current age. What would you tell yourself?
- Look at one situation in your life that you feel you should change but haven’t yet. What would your life look and feel like if this were gone? Why haven’t you done anything about it? What is your payoff for you staying stuck?
2/05/2019: Week 5 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 5’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday Feb 5th! Here are the questions:
- The biggest lack in my life is??
- The greatest joy in my life is?.
- My Largest time commitment is?.
- As I play more, I?
- I feel guilty that I am?.
- I worry that?.
- If my dreams come true, my family will?
- I sabotage myself so people will?
- If I let myself feel it, I’m angry that I?
- One reason I get sad sometimes is?
- If I had either faith or money I would try? (list five desires) For the next week, be alert for images of these desires. When you spot them, clip them, buy them, photograph them, draw them– begin a file of dreams that speak to you.
- Ten ways I am mean to myself are?
- Honestly, my favorite creative block is?
- My payoff for staying blocked is?
2/12/2019: Week 6 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 6’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday Feb 12th! Here are the questions:
- Send postcards to 5 friends who you think about, but who may not be a large part of your life right now. Please send to people you would LOVE to hear from.
- Clearing: Any new changes in your home environment? Make some.
- Money Madness:
- People with money are?
- Money makes people?
- I’d have more money if?
- My dad thought money was?
- My mom always thought money would?
- In my family, money caused?
- Money equals?
- If I had money, I’d?
- If I could afford it I’d?.
- If I had some money, I’d?
- I’m afraid that if I had money I would?
- Money is?..
- Money causes?
- Having money is not?
- In order to have more money, I’d need to?
- When I have money I usually?
- If I weren’t so cheap I’d?
- People think money?
- Being broke tells me…
2/19/2019: Week 7 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 7’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday Feb 19th! Here are the questions:
- Quickly list 5 favorite films. Do you see any common denominators among them? Are they romances, adventures, period pieces, political dramas, family epics, thrillers? Discuss.
- Finish the following sentences:
- As a kid, I missed the chance to?
- As a kid, I lacked?
- As a kid, I could have used?
- As a kid, I dreamed of being?
- As a kid, I wanted a?
- In my house, we never had enough?
- As a kid, I needed more?
- I am sorry that I will never again see?
- For years, I have missed and wondered about?
- I beat myself up about the loss of…
2/26/2019: Week 8 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 8’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday Feb 26th! Here are the questions:
- In a perfect world, where would you like to be in 5 years in relation to your dream and true north?
- In the world we inhabit now, what action can you take, this year, to move you closer? What action can you take this month? This week? This day? Right now?
3/05/2019: Week 9 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 9’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday March 5th! Here are the questions:
- What resentments do you have locked away? It does not mater how petty, picky or irrational these resentments may appear to your adult self. To your artist child they are real big deals. List them.
- Ask your artist self to make a list of any and all fears about your work and/or anyone connected to it. Again, these fears can be as dumb as any two-year-old. It doesn’t matter that they are groundless to your adult’s eyes. What matters is that they are big scary monsters to your artist.
3/12/2019: Week 10 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 10’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday March 12th! Here are the questions:
- The Awful Truth: Answer the following questions:
- Tell the truth,. What habit do you have that gets in the way of your creativity?
- Tell the truth. What do you think might be a problem? It is.
- What do you plan to do about the habit or problem?
- What is your payoff in holding on to this block?
- Tell the truth. Which friends make you doubt yourself?
- Tell the truth. Which friends believe in you and your talent?
- What is the payoff in keeping your destructive friends?
- What destructive habits do your destructive friends share with your destructive self?
- What constructive habits do your constructive friends share with your destructive self?
3/19/2019: Week 11 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 11’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday March 19th! Here are the questions:
- Get 7 blank sheets of paper. Give one page each to the following categories: Health, possessions, leisure, relationships, creativity, career, and spirituality. With no thought as to practicality, list ten wishes in each area. Let yourself dream a little.
- Write and mail an encouraging letter to your inner artist. Remember that your artist is a child and loves, praise and encouragement and festive plans.
3/26/2019: Week 12 Wrap-Up
Share your answers to Week 12’s questions on the Facebook group by Tuesday March 26th! Here are the questions:
- Write down any resistance, angers, and fears you have about going on from here. We all have them.
- Take a look at your current areas of procrastination. What might be your hidden fears that are holding you back? What would help you to stop procrastinating?