Friday, 9 June 2017

The Artist’s Way

Sharon Garfinkel, fundraising manager at Resurgence, discovers the key to connecting with our creativity.

Along with over 200 people, I spent one of the hottest weekends of the year doing a workshop led by Julia Cameron, best-selling author of The Artist’s Way.

First published in 1992, the book has sold in its millions. Its central premise is that if we want to get in touch with our creativity we need to embark on two regular activities. Every day we must commit to writing Morning Pages – these are three pages of stream of consciousness which must be written as soon as we wake and before our brain gets into gear ie before looking at our phone, or even cleaning our teeth. In addition, we must take ourselves on a weekly Artist’s Date. This is a key mechanism for reawakening our creativity and we can go anywhere which speaks to us such as a gallery or market.

The course worked by getting us to write freely under pressure. These exercises included listing ‘five lives it would be fun to have’, ‘A great adventure I would like to have’ and ‘If my ego would allow it, I’d try…’

After the exercises, we then worked in clusters discussing what we had written. Each cluster activity lasted no more than 15 minutes. At the end of each group exercise, we gave those in our cluster “popcorn” – ie scribbled words of encouragement. The beauty of this exercise is that we were constantly changing groups and regularly meeting new people.

Organised by Alternatives – an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness and offering practical, inspiring and alternative solutions for everyday living – the weekend was fantastic. Everyone left with a beaming smile and a determination to continue this exhilarating work.

At 69, Julia – the ex-wife of Martin Scorsese – shows no sign of stopping. She is regularly in the UK and if you get the chance to go on one of her workshops, please do so.

Find out more about Julia Cameron
Find out more about Alternatives, including forthcoming courses and events.

Sharon Garfinkel is the Fundraising Manager at The Resurgence Trust.