I’m really excited about this particular BlogHer Book Club review, which is a little odd, since this was not actually a book. Instead, this month participants in BHBC were asked to review a website/creative experience based on Julia Cameron’s book about unlocking your own creativity, The Artist’s Way.
You do not need to read, or even be familiar with Cameron’s book in order to benefit from The Artist’s Way Toolkit. It is a stand-alone subscription service (about $5/month) that is intended to help get ideas flowing, whatever your art form (words, images, etc). As a writer, I found the site to be inspiring, though I mostly utilized it through an app I downloaded for my iPhone. The app had my only bugaboo about the whole experience: I loved being able to take my toolbox with me where ever I went, but I disliked having to enter my password every time. That was a little annoying. However, the positives that I experiences outweighed that little irritation.
I enjoyed the different creative affirmations for me to mull over, like this gem:
Writers, painters, potters, photographers, all of us have our vein of gold. Most often, what we enjoy making art about is what we enjoy seeing once it’s made; which is about what we enjoy mulling over, whether it’s in a news story or a movie, a magazine or a conversation. If you think about a theme a lot, chances are good it’s in your vein of gold. – Julia Cameron, Vein of Gold
It got me thinking about what my own Vein of Gold might be. I haven’t quite sorted it out yet, but feel certain that I have one, just beneath my conscious awareness.
I was instructed to write three handwritten pages every morning, and though I did not succeed at that every single day, I did enjoy the process. There was no topic, I was free to write whatever I chose. I had almost forgotten what it was like to put actual pen to actual paper. It is a very sensory experience: the feel of the pen in my fingers and the paper gliding under the edge of my hand, the smell of the paper and ink, the way the ink sometimes smudged and bled, how my handwriting looped lazily when I felt I had nothing to say, or how it crowded into margins when I tried to finish a thought to big for the page’s borders.
I was also instructed to take myself on a weekly date, such as visiting a new part of my city, a thrift store, or a candy shop in order to purchase a favorite childhood candy. Each experience sparked ideas of stories or scenes.
There were other exercises and journaling as well, though I think the most useful part for me was a place to record little snippets of inspiration: ideas, bits of dialog, character descriptions.
I know there are other programs, ideas, and writing prompts out there. Though I enjoyed this one very much, I’m not sure that I would pay a monthly fee for this program. However, I may change my mind if I continue to get so much out of it. I’ll keep using it and see.
This post has been part of a sponsored conversation with BlogHer Book Club. I was compensated both financially and with a free limited-time subscription to My Artist’s Way Toolkit in exchange for my honest review.