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The summer after I had my son, I purchased The Artist’s Way at our local bookstore. My sister Anne, a super talented artist, had recommended the book to me several times, and I felt my stay at home would be a good time to undertake the immense amount of writing that goes into this book. As with many of my reflections this summer, I horribly failed at doing The Artist’s Way and shelved it to try again the next year.

So last summer I tried again, and this time made it through the entire 12 week program laid out by Julia Cameron in the book. Each week you read a chapter, take a weekly artist’s date for one hour and commit to writing 3 pages every single morning. While the book is not a prayer book, Cameron very much believes that our creativity is a gift from God, and that our use of our creativity is our gift back to God. I personally very much agree with this point of view, and my experiences of writing my way through the exercises became one of the most spiritually enriching things I did last year. My writings last summer through her program actually became last summer’s spirituality series.

The two main activities in the program are the morning pages and the artist’s date. The morning pages are exactly what they sound like. The very first thing in the morning, right after you wake up, you write 3 long hand pages in a notebook or journal. There are no specific requirements for these pages beyond the length, although Cameron emphasizes that writing out by hand is much preferred to typing. The artist’s date is the practice of taking one hour a week to just do something fun that connects you to your creativity. For artist’s dates I painted my nails, made jam, went for walks and checked out local thrift stores. (Mostly I was trying to find fun and free or nearly free things to do.). By the end of the book I had pages and pages of ideas and I had tripled the readership of this blog. I also had gotten into the habit of using my third morning page each day as a prayer journal, which had helped me grow closer to God, which is always my goal.

Popcorn rating: 1. This book is hard, but incredibly rewarding.

Stars: 5. This book changed my life, and made me own my creativity in a way I hadn’t before. It also gave me a daily prayer practice that I want to continue moving forward.