I’m two thirds of the way through the book, The Artists Way at Work, by Mark Bryan and Julia Cameron.
Its a 12 week course that helps you find your creative self through a series of weekly exercises. One of the most striking, and actually enjoyable parts of the book, it that throughout the course, you are asked to write three pages on a topic of your choice. This blog entry in part of that three page exercise for today. The book describes them as ‘Morning Pages’ as ideally they should be written first thing in the morning, before anything else is done. Given the occasional conflict of time, I’ve generally stuck to the rule, but occasionally written them in the afternoon, and once or twice in the evening. I’ve found that just doing this exercise alone, has considerably improved my creativity, and its great to look back on some of the writing over the last 8 weeks.
A second activity, is to take time out to do something like visiting an art gallery, drawing, writing, or anything that can loosely be described as creative and wouldn’t normally do. This creative time-out is to be conducted once per week. So far I’ve done photography, visited the Paul Smith exhibition, and created sculptures and writing with rubbish from the beach.
One of the interesting tasks of the course for me, was week six and giving up media for a week. I confess I didn’t fully sign up for this challenge. Not watching TV is an easy one for me, as I gave up doing this in 2009. However, not reading books and skipping the afternoon play on radio 4 was torture. Similarly, giving up the internet was beyond my capability. Things like logging the readings from the gas and electricity and searching for car insurance I found the internet an essential tool. I didn’t find giving up e-mail an issue though, 99% of the e-mail I receive is rubbish or marketing driven.
Further weeks cover our relationships with people at work, and learning and teaching. Both office workplace biased, which seems a little less relevant to me as an independent maverick.
All in all, I loved the morning pages , and the task of consciously working on my creativity. I’ll update you on how I get on with completing the course in a part 2 entry.