Emma Collins
26 Aug

Hello everyone and welcome back to another video! Today, we’re embarking on a new journaling challenge inspired by Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” This 12-week program is designed to unlock your creativity through daily journaling and other exercises. Having completed a similar challenge before, where I tried out Virginia Woolf’s journaling routine, I’m excited to dive into this one and share my journey with you.

What is The Artist’s Way?

“The Artist’s Way” is a 12-week program that involves daily journaling (known as morning pages), weekly artist dates, and various prompts to inspire creativity. The primary goal is to write three pages every morning, leading to a total of 252 pages over the course of the program. Additionally, the program encourages participants to take themselves on weekly artist dates—two hours dedicated to nurturing their inner artist.

Day 1: Getting Started

Today is Monday, September 11th, and I’m ready to begin this challenge. I’ve just finished a major writing project, so this feels like the perfect time to cleanse my brain and explore new creative avenues. I’ll start by reading the first 40 pages of “The Artist’s Way” and then dive into my first set of morning pages. Although it’s 5:29 PM—not exactly morning—I’m eager to get started.

The Routine

Morning Pages: Every day, the first task is to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing. There’s no set rule for how big the pages should be; the key is consistency. This totals 252 pages over 12 weeks.Artist Dates: These are two-hour weekly sessions where you spend time doing something creative purely for fun. This could be anything from visiting a museum to painting.

Week 1: Finding My Groove

By the end of the first week, I felt great about this challenge. I journaled every day and enjoyed the process. However, juggling filming for this video with the journaling challenge added a layer of difficulty. Documenting the process made the challenge more stressful than it needed to be, leading me to film less frequently as the weeks went on.

Weeks 2-3: Overwhelm Sets In

During the second and third weeks, I struggled to keep up with both journaling and filming. I had too many projects on my plate, including preparing videos for an overseas trip and managing my regular content. This experience taught me about my limits and the importance of not overwhelming myself.

Sponsor Break: Skillshare

Skillshare is an excellent resource for creatives. Their on-demand classes cover everything from creative writing to marketing. I found the “Organization and Planning for Creative Freelancers” pathway particularly helpful in achieving more balance and organization in my life. The first 500 people to use my link will receive a free one-month trial to Skillshare.

October: Adapting to Change

Today is October 2nd, and I’m in Melbourne. After a long flight, I didn’t do my morning pages on the plane because I was exhausted. I’ve learned to give myself grace and accept that I might not always do things perfectly. Even though it’s 6 PM, I’m doing my morning pages now and will strive to do them first thing in the morning for the rest of the week.

Dropping the Artist Dates

Very quickly, I realized that the artist dates were adding more stress than relaxation. My weekends are already packed with chores, social obligations, and rest. Adding a two-hour creative session felt like too much, so I decided to focus solely on the morning pages.

Struggles with Prompts

I found it difficult to follow the prompts from the book. When I read self-help or non-fiction books on writing, I rarely want to stop and do the exercises. Instead, I preferred to write stream-of-consciousness entries about whatever was on my mind.

January 2024: Reflecting on the Journey

It’s now January 2024, and I didn’t complete the challenge perfectly. I managed about eight or nine weeks of consistent journaling but eventually got overwhelmed. Despite this, I did a significant amount of journaling and self-reflection, which was invaluable during a stressful time in my life.

Final Thoughts

So, did I meet the goal of writing 252 pages? No, I didn’t. I estimate I wrote around 150 pages across multiple notebooks. However, the value of this challenge wasn’t in the quantity of pages but in the process. I learned a lot about myself, managed to do a considerable amount of journaling, and found a new tool to help manage stress.The key takeaway from this challenge is that you don’t need to do something perfectly to gain value from it. Whether it’s journaling or any other routine, adapt it to fit your life and needs. Perfection isn’t necessary for growth and self-discovery.

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