Igniting the Spark

Assuming that creativity is something we can develop, how do we go about doing that? Are there things we can do, activities or perhaps exercises, that will help foster that creative spirit? Ann Morrow Lindburgh went to the beach by herself for a week to write Gift from the Sea, and while we may each desire to “get away from it all,” life often doesn’t allow that. So how do we keep the roof over our head and still nurture our creative spirit? I recommend the Artist’s Way series of books by Julia Cameron.

The original Artist Way book was published by Cameron in 1992 as a 12 week course to assist people in harnessing their creative talent. The book became an international best seller and since then Julia Cameron has published several companion books including Finding Water, Vein of Gold and The Sound of Paper.

Cameron recommends using certain tools in all of the books: Morning Pages, Artist’s Dates and good old fashion walks to stimulate creativity. Morning Pages are three pages written each morning as a stream of conscious. Whatever comes to mind is written. They are only for yourself and allow you to clear the clutter from your mind. Artist’s dates are a date you have with yourself to go and have some fun. It can be as simple as a trip to the store or museum, visiting someplace you haven’t been in a long time: essentially doing something nice and special for yourself. Going for a walk is just that – getting outside where ever that may be, and giving yourself a chance to breath.

The books include many stories of how people have put the various tools into practice, discuss problems that stand in the way of creativity, and give thoughts and recommendations on how to overcome those problems. I am currently working my way through her newest book, It’s Never too Late to Begin Again. Of the book, Cameron states: “It is my attempt to answer, ‘What next?’ for students who are embarking on their ‘second act.” The book is aimed at people who have retired, or as in my case, now have an empty nest, and are creating my “second act.”

If you are looking for a disciplined approach to help you spark your creativity and focus on what is important to you, all in the midst of handling day to day life, I highly recommend the Artist’s Way series of books. I am sure one will be appropriate for you!