|Amid the challenges of pandemic-induced stress, an excessive workload, and strained relationships with her family, writer and yoga teacher Alyssa Lauren Stone was undergoing a tumultuous period in her life. Succumbing to workaholism as a coping mechanism, she noticed how she was neglecting her personal well-being, resulting in severe health issues and strained familial relationships.
According to Stone, the moment that changed it all was discovering The Artists’ Way , a 1992 novel outlining a 12-week “artistic creative recovery” program devised by the writer, filmmaker, and composer Julia Cameron. Emphasizing self-care and engagement in creative pursuits, the book outlines various practices such as “Morning Pages” (writing an aimless stream of consciousness first thing each morning) and “Artist Dates” (taking yourself out for a solo trip to enrich yourself each week, whether that’s to a gallery, out in nature, or to watch a movie).
Committing to Cameron’s program, Stone found herself suddenly inspired to start some of her own artistic ventures, from relearning the piano to writing stories, sewing clothes, and attending writing workshops. Without even realizing it, her stress levels were falling and her relationships were beginning to improve; her previously rocky marriage was beginning to feel full of love again, and her relationship with her daughter dramatically improved through small acts of creativity together.
Eventually finding every facet of her personal life improved, Stone ultimately took the huge step of leaving her job to pursue her creative pursuits. Within months, she was working professionally as a writer while at the same time going on to complete her training to become a yoga teacher.
Despite being written three decades ago, The Artists’ Way still appears to have a profound effect on those discovering or rediscovering their creativity, so it’s no wonder it’s still used by huge figures in the creative industries, such as The Who songwriter Pete Townshend, singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, and writer Patricia Cornwell. Simple techniques like “Morning Pages” can really unlock the dormant creativity within, so this International Creativity Month, why not give it a go for yourself?