Earlier this year when I started following the Artist’s Way for Retirement, I also booked to participate in a two-day workshop run by none other than Julia Cameron herself!
Over the course of the last weekend, I enjoyed participating in a very interactive experience. I discovered that Julia is very committed to a few key things to help people to unlock their creativity: writing morning pages each day, going for walks and artists dates, as well as… writing lists!
Much of our time was spent writing lists related to prompts Julia provided. So, for example, listing 5 things it would be fun to have, or 5 traits of your childhood God, or filling in the blanks at the end of these statements:
- What do I need to know?
- What do I need to try?
- What do I need to accept?
- What do I need to grieve?
- What do I need to celebrate?
Some of the lists were scarily long, for example, we were asked to find 25 things to go with the phrase, “I love…” and 25 to go with “I’m proud that I…” She read these items out fairly fast, so that we didn’t have too much time to think!
Following each list, we were asked to share in small groups with people we didn’t know, and after sharing give our companions “popcorn”. This would be to write them a positive statement such as “You are courageous” “You are brave” or to send them on a fabulous vacation, or to tell them which superhero you saw them as. Only difficulty with this one was trying to think of female superheroes, at one point I had Cat woman in mind, until I realised she was actually a villain!!
Gradually, as we progressed through these exercises, people became more confident in their creative abilities and in their willingness to share.
At one point during the workshop, Julia mentioned that FOUR million people worldwide write the morning pages. She has been writing them for 30 years, and swears by them as a means of providing a foundation to her day. Whenever people from the audience asked her questions about silencing their inner critic, Julia would inevitably reply: “write morning pages”. However, she did it with such a calm, understanding, patient and slightly humorous manner, that you couldn’t help but think there must be something to it!
Have you tried writing morning pages yet? (3 A4 sized sides of free flowing writing each morning).
What creative insights or breakthrough have they given you?