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The Wish to be Original

The root of the word “original” is origin. We are the origin of our work. It is the ego’s demand that our work be totally original-— as if such a thing were possible. All work is influenced by other work. All people are influenced by other people. No man is an island and no piece […]


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 […]


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 […]


The Silver Lining

“Gain disguised as loss” is a potent artist’s tool. To acquire it, simply, brutally, ask: “How can this loss serve me? Where does it point my work?” The answers will surprise and liberate you. The trick is to metabolize pain as energy. The key to doing that is to know, to trust, and to act […]


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 […]


Is everyone creative?

Yes. I believe that everyone is creative. Whether you declare yourself an artist or not, you make creative choices every day. You are handcrafting a unique life whether you feel you are “artistic” or not. I have been teaching for 30 years. I have never met anyone who was totally not creative. I think if […]


Are you afraid to begin?

When we say we are afraid to begin a project, we are actually saying something else: “I am afraid of how I will feel as I continue.” We do not want to start because we do not know that we can continue. It is not the start, it is the finish that troubles us. Wanting […]


Morning Pages: why by hand?

In the era of iPads and new technology at every turn, I am asked even more frequently if people really  need to do their Morning Pages by hand. In short, the answer is yes. When we write by hand, we connect to ourselves. We may get speed and distance when we type, but we get […]