Of all the self help books for artists, I think The Artist’s Way is one of the most talked about. Julie Cameron published her guide in the 90’s, and it’s been helping artists of all kinds ever since. I know a lot of actors who swear by it, and I can see how it would be immensely helpful for writers and visual artist as well. So when BlogHer BookClub offered me a chance to use the new online tool, My Artist’s Way Toolkit, I jumped at the chance.
Before I received my login, I was discussing The Artist’s Way with another actor, who said, “It’s great, just don’t waste your money on the workbook you buy separately. It’s all the exercises in the book, just written out with space to write your thoughts! It’s useless!” My Artist’s Way Toolkit is basically an online version of this workbook, but with a few fun tools that make it a bit more worthwhile.
The basic premise of The Way is to set yourself up to receive great artistic energy by doing three things: 1. Morning pages, a 3-page writing dump to help clear your mind; 2. Artist’s Dates - a fun, new activity to trigger some inspiration; and 3. Artist’s Way Exercises - writing prompts to help stir creativity. The Toolkit incorporates all of these (except Morning Pages, which you must do by hand) on one site, letting you sift through old entries and save affirmations, and connect with the community of Artist Way followers online.
There is also an iPhone app, which I did download, but didn’t really end up using. I’m not very good at sitting down and writing big chunks of text on my phone, but it seemed like it could be useful for the right person.
Overall, I felt like the site makes The Artist’s Way a bit more accessible and convenient, which is nice, but was about as handy as the workbook. You could just do all the exercises in a journal. I’m hoping the site grows and the online community fills in the gaps, making it a nice tool to connect with other artists.