Creativity for Skeptics Episode 5: Intro to The Artist’s Way

In preparation for doing The Artist’s Way (without the woo) on Monday January 4th, I posted an episode of Creativity for Skeptics with an overview of the introduction to the book. Transcript is below.

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Hello, skeptical creatives and creative skeptics. Tammy here. This is episode five of Creativity for Skeptics. No intro or outro or plug today, because I wanted to get this up tonight—it’s the first day of 2021 as I’m recording this (happy new year)—and I am at the tail end (I hope) of a now three day migraine.

My migraines come with all the standard symptoms plus a lot of bonus features I guess you could call them. One of which is that sometimes I physically can’t talk while having a migraine, which means I can’t record a podcast. And that was my new year’s eve. So that’s why this is late.

A couple other things. I should probably introduce myself at the start of the episodes, since this is a new podcast. As T.D. Walker, I have a couple poetry books out, Small Waiting Objects which was published in 2019 by CW Books and Maps of a Hollowed World which was published by Another New Calligraphy in 2020. All that on top of my other writing.

Also maybe I should use a different word besides plug when I was to share stuff I love with y’all, because plug is a word people use for their own stuff? I don’t know. If you have an opinion, let me know.
Anyway, all this to say that I wanted to get this out now, a few days before we get going with The Artist’s Way without the woo.

Just as a reminder, I’ll have the episode to introduce week one up late on Sunday the 3rd of January. If you want to go ahead and start the morning pages on the 4th without listening to the podcast first, that’s great too. As a reminder, morning pages are the daily three handwritten pages.

The book is available just about anywhere you buy books. If you want to grab a copy on the cheap and help out a small business, as I’ve said before, there are tons of copies of this book out there, so I’d have to imagine you can find a used copy without too much trouble.

So let’s talk about the introduction to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

First off, Julia Cameron calls this method the spiritual path to creativity. So we have to ask ourselves what is spirituality in the first place? For some people, that might look a lot like their connection to the creator idea she uses. For me, though, it’s something quite different. Part of the reason that I love science fiction is the idea of the sense of wonder–something amazing about the idea of the possible. Spirituality for me is that sense of wonder applied to what’s here and now. My definition doesn’t need a deity or a conscious universe or even a spirit, really. So if you want to call it awe-filled (as opposed to awful) path to creativity, there you go. You can define it for yourself.

Let’s dive into the Introduction. there are intros to the later ones, but this is about the original intro. And you can safely skip this and come back to it later. Main idea is that she’s not tied to you being tied to any particular idea of god. See page xxii.

On to Spiritual Electricity: Basic Principles.

So I have a scream and throw the book moment at Cameron’s use of the term “spiritual chiropractic.” on page one. To prevent you from doing so too, I’ll note a few things you might want to pay attention to and things to skip.
On page 2, she talks about synchronicity, if you show up and do the work, the universe opens up more opportunities for you. Here’s another take on that idea. If you’re doing creative work and attending events and, you know, talking to other people about what you’re doing, then you’re probably going to make more connections around your work than you were when you were just daydreaming. That happened for me. Start working? Voila, more opportunities. No universe magic needed.

The “how to use this book” section is a good one to read, but be aware she does use metaphors of substance withdrawal and suicide of your former self in this section, particularly on pages 6-7, so skip that as you need to.

And on to the Basic Tools section. This is worth reading, since it tells you about morning pages and the artist date as well as her ideas about refilling the creative well. All super helpful. This is actually the real core of what has worked most for me, so I’d recommend not skipping out on these tools as we go along.

There’s also a creative contract you can fill out. If that’s something that helps you stick to the whole twelve weeks, go for it. If, like me, you don’t get anything out of symbolic rituals and ceremonies and the like, skip it and don’t feel bad for doing so. Remember, this is about making this work for you.

That’s it from me for now. Next episode of Creativity for Skeptics will be up Sunday the 3rd to get us ready to jump in to week one on the 4th. Happy 2021, and we’ll talk creativity again soon.


  1. brucegee1962 says

    Here’s my definition of spirituality: “A feeling of exaltation that comes from feeling we are part of something larger than ourselves.” Some people can get it from being in nature, or from music, or art, or poetry, or yes, religion. It’s a word I wish we could reclaim from the religionists and woo-peddlers, though, since it’s an important emotion which we don’t have another good word for.

  2. says

    @brucegee1962: That’s such an important point about finding a good word for the concept. Do we reclaim spirituality as a word, in spite of its baggage, or do we coin some new word that doesn’t have historical weight? Not something I have a satisfying answer for myself, but I’m interested in what others think.

  3. brightmoon says

    I really liked this book . The spirituality stuff never bothered me. The book helped me get past a lot of childhood trauma over using my creativity. I was punished severely for being a creative as a child . I started teaching classes and getting paid for my art due to this book.