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Enthusiasm over Discipline

“It must take so much discipline to be an artist,” we are often told by well-meaning people who are not artists but wish they were. What a temptation. What a seduction. They’re inviting us to preen before an admiring audience, to act out the image that is so heroic and Spartan– and false. As artists, […]


It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again

Twenty-five years ago I wrote a book on creativity called The Artist’s Way. It spelled out, in a step-by-step fashion, just what a person could do to recover— and exercise— their creativity. I often called that book “The Bridge” because it allowed people to move from the shore of their constrictions and fears to the […]


Finish Something

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As artists, we often complain about our inability to begin. If only I had the nerve to start X– a novel, a short story, the rewrite on our play, the photo series we’re “thinking” of. I would like to suggest that you start somewhere else– start with finishing something. There must be some obscure law […]


The Magic of Artist Dates

My students understand “working” on their Morning Pages– after all, this is America, and we have a powerful work ethic. But the very same students who studiously apply themselves to writing their three pages a day often find themselves balking at my assignment of an Artist Date. And yet, an Artist Date is what fills […]


Waiting for Fame

In a creative career, waiting for fame to hit is like waiting for rain in a drought. It keeps us squinting toward the horizon, jealous of our luckier neighbors and dissatisfied with our own condition. Our culture invites us to think of art in terms of product, and one of the by-products of the “product” […]


Drama

Drama in our lives often keeps us from putting drama on the page. Some drama happens and we lose our sense of scale in our emotional landscape. When this happens, we need to reconnect to our emotional through line. We need a sense of our “before, during and after” life. This tool is a personal […]


Outrunning your Censor

All of us have an inner Censor, that nasty voice that tries to discount what we are doing. A lot of times people think they can outsmart their censor, but that’s not my experience. My experience is that as you get smarter, your censor gets smarter. But what you can do is outrun your censor. […]


Sane and Happy

So much of being sane and happy begins with the doing of things that are sane and happy. This means that we must train ourselves to think small rather than large. We become frightened because we have “big decisions” to make. But big decisions can be made gently, a small step at a time. But […]


What next step are you evading?

I have said before that creativity is a spiritual issue. Any progress is made by leaps of faith, some small and some large. At first, we may want faith to take the first dance class, the first step toward learning a new medium. Later, we may want the faith and the funds for further classes, […]


Communication

Art is an act of communication, and if we are constantly communicating our smallest thoughts, how will we have time for big ones? Cell phones miniaturize your life, breaking it down into tiny sound bites. I think we call them “bites” for a reason. They tend to devour our time and attention. There’s no room […]