DISCLOSURE: I am being compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review; nevertheless, the opinions contained herein are truly my own.
I don't look for sponsored content for this blog. I'm not good at reviewing things and I'm not good at writing things on a schedule. Plus, that's not what this space is about. I don't blog for a living. I work for a living; writing is something I fit in when I have time to sit down and allow the random thoughts in my head opportunity to morph into words on a screen. Book reviews are an exception, simply because I'm so passionate about reading. The concept of I get to read a book and talk about it for a small reviewer fee -- what's not to like?
This program is a little different; instead of reading a book and sharing my thoughts with you, the BlogHer reviewers were asked to test out a new online service designed by author Julia Cameron.
The Artist's Toolkit is an innovative and interactive program designed to stimulate creativity and to provide structure and discipline to the creative process. I've already told you my writing process. Something has to come to my mind first, then I can write. If I try to force the process its like turning squirrels loose in a nut factory. There's either nothing there, or the resulting mess is not worth clicking on the 'publish' button. I was eager to see if The Artist's Way Toolkit would give me the structure I felt was missing.
At first glance, the toolkit is inviting and encouraging. The site design is clean and elegant. Cameron has weekly Artist's Exercises and Artist Dates designed to move you out of your routine and into the act of living outside of your box. The exercises ask you to consider questions pertaining to yourself, your beliefs, the ways you are encouraged or discouraged by self and others, and requests you to write your responses. An online journal is provided for each week's activity. There are thoughtful daily affirmations, and the exercises are refreshing.
Thoroughly daunting, though, is the contract with yourself you are asked to sign, committing to writing three pages (longhand) each morning - the 'Morning Pages.'
Every exercise you take on to improve yourself is good, but not every exercise is going to work for everyone. If I were committed to becoming a for real writer, if I didn't have special needs children and a full time job and a one hour each way commute to work everyday, if I didn't have a husband and a horse and so many other beautiful things in my life that I'm already committed to, this would be an enriching program.
When we decide to do or become something in life, we have to make a level of commitment to do or to become in order to facilitate the process. The Artist's Way Toolkit combines a fine structure with Julia Cameron's provocative exercises to create a helpful pathway for the committed writer, painter, sculptor or composer.
If your passion for art is something that you can commit the time to growing and nurturing, The Artist's Way Toolkit is a service with your time to consider. If you can't commit to a daily investment, but still have several hours a week to devote to the practice, Cameron's toolkit will foster your creative abilities.
If you're more like me in terms of your ability to invest, you'll either need to be satisfied with the current status quo or be willing to make significant changes to your life in order to get everything you can from Cameron's wisdom and insight.
I guess I'm not really ready to be a writer.
You can read other reviews and participate in discussions about The Artist's Way toolkit here: