By Julia Cameron
Publication Date: January 10, 2023
I remember buying The Artist’s Way many years ago. I started working through it but didn’t make it very far. Possibly it was the writing prompts (I really dislike writing prompts). I may have stalled on Morning Pages. Maybe I was more concerned about what color pens to use. Who knows, it was a long time ago. But I did keep writing consistently for years. Until life got in the way early this year.
I kept telling myself to just sit down and write. Or rather, edit since I needed to polish up a novel before I started on anything new. Nothing worked. The only writing I was doing was book reviews and critiques for friend’s work. So, when I saw NetGalley had Write For Life on offer, I jumped at the chance to read it. Maybe, just maybe, I could get my writing routine back in gear.
While I’m normally reading one or two novels at a time, I also have a non-fiction book “running in the background.” Meaning it’s one I’m actually working through, not just reading. And I’m incredibly glad I took the six weeks to put this one through its paces.
I think of this book as An Artist’s Way light. A lot of the same instructions are in here that I remember – Morning Pages (journaling three pages of stream-of-consciousness thoughts every morning), Artist’s Dates, etc. But this isn’t a daunting tome. It’s a streamlined, week-by-week guide to getting your writing groove on. It’s obvious the author loves her craft – her low-key enthusiasm is contagious in every essay that covers tips for setting a daily page count, keeping the inner critic at bay, and finding critiquers and beta readers, among many others.
So, how did this go around work out for me? I did the Morning Pages, reluctantly at first. They take awhile to complete but after a bit, I started making time for them on days I had to go into the office. I missed them on the days I didn’t wake up early enough to do them. I didn’t find any great novel ideas in my ramblings, but they are certainly cathartic. If I need an angsty character, I know where to go to find him or her. Artist Dates were hit or miss and I already know I could work out problems or get ideas while walking. However, I LOVED how she named her inner critic – that little voice that pipes up when it’s not wanted, telling you you’re no good. I named mine Reggie. He’s much quieter now that I can talk back directly to him.
Is this book a magic pill that got my butt in chair and editing my novel every day? Sadly, no. But that’s on me because for whatever reason, I’m not feeling pulled to it. However, I have thought about it a lot and I know how to redraft it. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to enjoy doing my Morning Pages, work in some more Artist’s Dates, and see where things go from there.
Definitely a great resource if you’re struggling with keeping your writing momentum going or just want some more tools in your toolbag. And it’s a joy to read.
4.25/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐+
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing the ARC ebook. I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.