Zits and the Artist’s Way + Basic Tools


This is the first “official” blog post of the Artist’s Way Bookclub. The original post with details can be found here. Anyone can join – please tell your friends as well –  up through July 31, 2012. After the first month I will close entry because I want our closed Facebook group to be able to develop trust and openness. The bookclub is FREE and will be fun. I will be posting each month and we’ll be sharing and connecting in our closed Facebook Group.


TIME FRAME: One long, luxurious calendar year

LOCATION: Email updates for each chapter from me (SEE END OF POST!) + Our very awesome and hopefully close-knit closed Facebook Group.

Though we are starting on July 1st, I wanted to write to you today with a few thoughts on the two main tools of the Artist’s Way: Morning Pages and Artist’s Dates. There’s a great section before Chapter 1 called Basic Tools to read more! 

First, two bits of vocab:

“Creativity and Imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” ~ Brenda Ueland

ARTIST’S DATES: Very simply put, once a week you are to make a date with yourself. And ONLY YOURSELF. No friends, family or children allowed. You go to a new place each time, special or mundane (new grocery store, new park, shop, museum, coffee shop…) and have a date with yourself. Yes, you may bring a book, even this book, but the point of this date is to fill your creative well with new stimuli, so try to keep your eyes up and open to the new sights and experiences around you on these dates. For that matter, your ears and nose too! Soon you’ll find that you’re not actually alone…your inner child has joined you!

“Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.” ~ Ingrid Bengis

MORNING PAGES:    Three pages of longhand writing (i.e. with pen, in your journal), done every day. Julia Cameron suggests doing them before the rest of your day begins, as a way to say that you’ve taken time for yourself each day. In all honestly, I don’t always get to them in the morning. I actually usually do them in the afternoon. Do what works for you. As she writes, “There is no wrong way to do the morning pages.” The section called “Basic Tools” in the beginning of the book will tell you lots more about getting out of your head and getting onto the page.

I’m showing you here the selection process I went through in choosing my notebook. I had a collection of empty ones that called to be used, but ultimately, I decided that the standard Composition lined notebooks were the very best notebook for this exercise. They are large and give space, I believe, mentally, to the thoughts as they pour out. They are cheap. They aren’t pretty and they don’t make me feel guilty about being messy in them! I like to tab the months, because someday I might like to go back and read from a certain time period. This is what works for me, but clearly, choose the book and method that work best for you.

Now I know you’re wondering…

What do the Dermatologist and The Artist’s Way have in common??

The other day I was at my dermatologist’s office, receiving a Microderm Abrasion facial. Just out of coincidence, we got to talking about my blog and this bookclub. I explained to her the concept, but she wasn’t sure that she personally would benefit from this book. And I get that. Although I personally believe that every single human, as well as animal and insect et al, has a creative spirit within them, some of us identify with it less than others. I know some people who don’t feel they are creative, and don’t feel they need to be. But I promise, they are. Just in ways they don’t consider typically creative. I’d like to make a deal with you right now: that we throw out any pre-concieved notions of what “typical” is as far as creativity. And for that matter, that we throw out the word “talent” when it comes to artistic capabilities. I can point you to a bunch of studies if you’d like, but suffice it to say, talent is 25% inborn, 75% practice. Maybe even less inborn. Some of us get handed a fuller bag than others when we start, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have talent!

So back to the facial. This was a first for me. I couldn’t tell just exactly what was going on on my face while I lay there. I asked the esthetician, Emily, to explain. In her words, basically she continuously massages the face with a slight bit of pressure. The result is “that anything icky that was lying dormant under there is going to come up and out.” And you know what they say: Better out than in! Umm…LIGHTBULB! “Emily,” I exclaimed, “the Artist’s Way is like Microderm Abrasion…for the soul.” And it is. The morning pages especially will begin, with constant pressure applied, to bring up the ick. The unfortunate part of bringing it up is that you have to deal with the rawest form of it, be it the lovely zits I got the next week on my face, or the unpleasant emotions that you feel as they rise to the surface, more accessible and in your face. However, this is such a short phase in the process of getting it not only   UP, but OUT. That’s the goal here. To get the internal ick, the shit, out.

 Believe it: “The morning pages are the primary tool of creative recovery.”

The bizarre bit about the Microderm abrasion was that it was smooth, melodic and not bothersome at all. In short, it was not “abrasive” whatsoever.  When I expressed surprise, Emily had an easy explanation. “Some people find it really difficult to take at first, some people find it only slightly difficult, some people don’t mind at all.” This, my friends, you will find true with your morning pages. I promise, promise, promise, no matter where you fall on the spectrum, from “ooh I can’t wait to set my alarm early and get up before the rest of the world and write! to “Are you kidding me about getting up EARLIER? And I sit here and have nothing to say!”, someone else feels exactly as you do. Don’t give up. And, remember, like with all practices (yoga, painting, writing etc), it comes easier than it does to others, but that has zero to do with the merit of what you’re doing. The Morning Pages may take you time to get into, but I think if you stick with them, you’ll learn to love them…and to rave about them to friends… just as countless others have.

Please click on the link below to be taken to the subscription page. Once subscribed you will receive all of the emails as we move through this powerful book over the course of the next year!


  1. I have always wanted to be part of a bookclub, where I can meet other like minded people and share our experience. I’ve always wanted to read… really read… the Artists Way. Crazy working hours and pattern stopped me joining local groups and not creating time for myself stopped the second. Now I am putting that to rights.
    I am sorting out my journal today, picking up what I once started (albiet not daily writing but writing in a journal nonetheless). But more importantly, creating time for ME! I am feeling tense and frazzled this morning, my body locked in by pressures and time schedules. Work has been full on with no time to think, I even missed a meeting and didn’t know until that night when someone casually mentioned the day was Wednesday. Tell tale signs shout slow down… look after yourself… make time to think and be in the moment. That moment starts now.
    I have booked 2 days off work to give to myself… I know I would crack if I pushed myself for a day longer… so I am breathly more deeply and plan to stand in the rain to wash the stress away. Loving the idea of this bookclub… life sometimes gives you exactly what you need if you slow down enough to see it.

  2. I’m in :)
    Already in the FB group.

    Looking forward to taking this journey with some like-minded supportive souls.

  3. Very excited about this!!


  4. Deirdre says:

    Hmmn. I love picking zits. So maybe I’ll grow to love journalist too.


  1. […] course you may invite friends to be a part of this year-long bookclub. Please direct them to read this post on the Artist’s Way Bookclub and to sign up at the bottom of the post. Secondly, they’ll need to request to join the […]

  2. […] Way’.  Joining this group and delving in is actually part of my sumMEr! Please feel free to join in! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Filed under Uncategorized […]

  3. […] have tried going this alone.  I have tried doing it in this group.  I have tried making declarations on this blog.  But I have not EVER gotten past chapter 4 or […]

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