Review of “My Artist’s Toolkit” by Julia Cameron

Hi folks.

This is outside my norm I know. When I joined Blogher months ago I also signed up for the Book Club. I adore reading and my son is actually going to school for Creative Writing. He graduates with his Masters Degree in Creative Writing today in fact. We’re just getting ready to head to the ceremony this afternoon. Then a celebration dinner afterwards. Reading has always been a huge part of our routine here at the Bee household. So I thought I would check out the book review program offered by Blogher and see how I like it. 

My first review is for Julia Cameron‘s “My Artist’s Toolkit“. The best way to describe it is to say it’s morning pages. Part of the exercise is to journal. I’m going to be completely honest, journals or morning pages are not something I do. Sure I have a blog where I talk about my day. But that is so different from doing a daily exercise to start off your day. It’s an electronic journal, you use it on your computer but Julia encourages you to write pages longhand.

For me I am so crazy busy when I get up in the morning. I have kids, I have a puppy, I have kitty cats and a hubs. I also have IBS which is usually at its worst in the morning. So the thought of sitting down to declare my plans for the day is not high on my priority list. Usually my mornings start at about 5 am when I wake my daughter up for work. Then if I’m feeling okay I drive her to work for 6 am. If I’m not feeling okay and someone else is available they may drive her those days. Some days I am then hopping in the car to drive my son to the city to work in the morning. I usually get home just in time to get the puppy up for the day. Then its feeding all the little pets and it’s still only about 8/9 am. I’m telling you adding a daily journal into this mix is just not going to work for me.

So it begs the thought, would I use it if it was a night-time page, mid-day page or some other time of the day. I will once again be honest, probably not. I think I have so many demands on my time all through the day that scheduling time for something like this is quite difficult. I really do not think it’s something I would do on a regular basis.

Now if this was something like meditating to clear your thoughts for the day  that I would probably be more on board with. I enjoy doing things like that on my own time, in my own way. If sitting down and taking a few moments a day, when it was good for you, was how this worked I’d probably be more likely to utilize it.

Now this is completely personal. Some people really enjoy this type of thing. So for those folks who like routine and like to start their day in a specific way this would be wonderful for you.

All that said it’s a well thought out system. It provides you with a service to track your daily writing. You can use photos and thoughts as they come to you. Julia encourages you to play and get creative. There are weekly exercises to help you along your way. Julia believes doing morning pages helps us to clarify our vision of the world by letting go of the things clouding our heads. I have to say I love that idea. It’s why when I do have time I try to meditate. Same idea behind it. Learning to control and harness your thoughts so negative distractions are not weighing you down. Unfortunately the real world does not always allow me time to do this. But I do try to fit in whenever I can. I always feel better when I do it. I’m more in control of my thoughts and my emotions. Which is the same idea behind morning pages.

There are creative affirmations and creative soundbites. I think I am far too cynical to use them to their full advantage. It’s not something I would make use of in my day-to-day life. I am all for making your own affirmations that matter to you and your life. But following a preset affirmation would never appeal to me.

If you are someone who needs that structure and motivation to write down your thoughts every day this program is perfect for you. It will give you all the tools necessary to keep you focused and moving forward on your journey. It will provide you with the creative tools and prompts needed to ensure you sit down each morning to declare your ideal for the day. It offers you the help you  need to find yourself and dig deeper into your life for more meaning and purpose. Which is never a bad thing if you ask me.

So for me this is something that I’ll be muddling through. At the end of the program I may think differently and be glad it gave me the push needed to be more disciplined about how I start my day. But after being an at home mom for 24 years now, I’m thinking you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Particularly if they don’t want to learn them.

A final thought on this is that for me personally I cannot be forced to think creatively. You can’t do that on someone else’s schedule. You need to find a way for you that works. But creativity comes naturally, it’s not something that should be forced or you’re just going to end up disappointed in yourself. It’s a self-defeating idea if you ask me. Let the creative juices flow when they want to flow.

We will be discussing The Artist’s Toolkit in the Blogher Book Club over the course of the next month. If you would like to join the discussion please stop by.

Please note- “I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.”

Toodles and smoochies! xx

 

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Comments

  1. 1

    There are times that I think that sort of morning discipline would make me a better person.

    Then I remember that I really like myself the way I am. So what if I look at the clock at 12:47pm and realize I’ve been sitting at my computer working since 7:30am and have forgotten to get dressed. :)

  2. 3

    Interesting concept.

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