Julia Cameron first published The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity in 1992. The book became an unexpected runaway success, spawning a shelf’s worth of other books, including Cameron’s other works about creativity, such as Walking in This World, Finding Water, and more recently It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again.
For a generation, The Artist’s Way has been helping people to access their authentic, creative selves and pursue their artistic dreams, from writing and publishing novels to telling their own stories to themselves at home as a part of a lasting spiritual practice. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of The Artist’s Way, TarcherPerigee has released a beautiful commemorative edition featuring a new introduction by fellow creativity guru Natalie Goldberg.
The Artist’s Way is a course in finding one’s creative self based on two simple tools: morning pages, which the book says are “three pages of longhand writing, strictly speaking stream-of-consciousness... brain drain,” and the artist date, “a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your... inner artist.” Underlying Cameron’s whole vision is the firm belief “that we are all creative, and with the use of a few simple tools, we can all become more creative,” she says. The book guides readers step by step through this process of awakening.
As for why the book has been such an enduring work, Cameron muses: “The ability to fulfill our dreams is something that remains central to the human condition. ‘Your dreams can come true,’ the book tells its readers. And so they launch into a great adventure.”
Cameron doesn’t buy the idea that only some people are creative; over her decades of speaking about and teaching her ideas, she has seen all kinds of people—including those who have never before identified themselves as artists—benefit from her tools. “The Artist’s Way serves artists and nonartists alike,” she says. “It fuels the creativity of all who will use it. Undertaking the tools is an act of self-love. A deepened sense of self-esteem is the inevitable result.”
Cameron says The Artist’s Way is “a manifesto” that was written “out of love for my fellow artists, in particular, a blocked writer,” whom she cites as an inspiration for the book. “What does he need to know? I would ask myself, and the essays flowed forward. When I wrote the book, I thought perhaps I was writing for myself and a dozen of my friends, but the little book spoke clearly to millions.”
Among those millions are some notable creative figures: “While it is always thrilling when anyone blossoms from The Artist’s Way’s tools, I took particular delight when Pete Townsend of the Who singled out The Artist’s Way in his autobiography. Like author Elizabeth Gilbert, he said the tools were pivotal to his own creativity. Gilbert went even a step further: she wrote, ‘Without The Artist’s Way, there would be no Eat, Pray, Love.’ ”
Among those who inspire her, Cameron counts many extraordinary creators, including the legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, Cameron’s first husband and the father of her daughter Domenica. “His deep and perennial creativity gives me great inspiration,” she says. “I should add, too, that Domenica, herself now a movie director, inspires me as well.”
Cameron has also collaborated with people who’ve made use of her tools. “My colleague Emma Lively, with whom I’ve written four books, is someone who has used the tools to great effect,” she explains. “A classical violist when she first launched into The Artist’s Way, she yearned for wider creativity, and her yearning soon led her to into composing—first music and then words.”
Cameron is grateful for the opportunity to introduce new generations to her Artist’s Way tools and seminal book. “I was 44 years old when The Artist’s Way was first published,” she says. “Now I am 69. I still feel young at heart. If anything, I am more committed to the teaching of the tools than I have ever been. The republished book, with its new introduction and its foreword by Natalie Goldberg, states simply the central idea that we are all creative.
I am excited to share this fact, perhaps more excited than I’ve ever been.”