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Julia Cameron on Being an Artist and the Creative Life

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How do we engage with life to be actively creative, but not overwhelmed by circumstances or inner challenges? How do artists think about using creative talents?

Julia Cameron first published her acclaimed book on the creative life “The Artist’s Way” in 1992, and has written many other non-fiction titles, short stories and essays, as well as novels, plays, musicals, and screenplays.

A teacher, author, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, composer and journalist, she clearly knows how to be creative and productive.

“Art itself can take us to distant places, to caves buried deep within the psyche, or to the wide expanses of distant space,” she says.

“Art is powerful, and artists require careful grounding. It is a matter of balance. It is best to not binge on creativity, but to keep it carefully embedded in the flow of life.”

She comments more about being an artist and actively creative:

“An artist must be immersed in life without being submerged in it. An artist must have enough solitude and enough connection.

“It takes practice, and the conscious building of daily ritual, but it is possible – quite possible – to find the precise balance of ‘inflow’ and ‘outflow’ we require to thrive.”

From post Social Media and Creative Energy by Julia Cameron, October 14, 2015.

[The photo, along with a quote from the above post, is from Facebook/Jade Herriman Art Therapy and Coaching.]

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In another post, Cameron addresses one of the myths around being creative:

“Ours is a youth-oriented culture. A glance at the tabloids tells us of the exploits of the young.

“There is not as much of a platform for the artistic achievements and accomplishments of the older or even the middle aged.

“We falsely believe that creativity belongs to the young, and so, when we pass a certain age, we tell ourselves we are ‘over the hill.’

“We ignore the fact that many artists create well into what might be called their ‘dotage.’ The idea that creativity fades with age is false.”

Born in 1948, she is still a very active teacher and creator. She continues in the post:

Julia Cameron“Twenty-five years ago, I wrote a book on creativity called The Artist’s Way. Over four million people have worked with that book.

“I have taught many live classes and have often found my just-retired students to be the most poignant.

“Setting out to write a book on creativity and aging, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, I discovered that many of us have a fiery passion we long to express in our golden years.

“Often, our life’s experience gives us a ‘leg up’ in creating meaningful art.”

She gives several examples, including these:

“My friend Judy Collins, at age 76, gave 150 concerts last year. She used her time on the road to write a fiery manifesto about her youthful eating disorder.

“At 68, writer Natalie Goldberg has two books debuting simultaneously. “I think they’re my best ever,” she says.

Georgia O’Keeffe worked steadily into her 90s, creating a legacy of fine work. Playwright Tom Meehan, who gave us Annie, Hairspray and The Producers, approaches his 90th birthday at the height of his powers.”

From post There’s No Such Thing as ‘Too Old’ or ‘Too Young’ to Be Creative By Julia Cameron, motto, May 17, 2016.

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My video: Julia Cameron: Play to Be More Creative

This is an excerpt from “The Artist’s Way: Creative Myths and Monsters” – hear the full (almost 1 hour) interview for free at the Hay House World Summit May 7-26, 2016.

She also talks about cultural myths about artists and being creative, and how developing a deeper spiritual connection can release our creativity. (Recording packages are available during and after.)

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Here are two reviews of The Artist’s Way that also provide interesting comments on living a creative life:

Learning to pay attention

Anne LamottWriter Anne Lamott says of the book that it is “not exclusively about writing—it is about discovering and developing the artist within whether a painter, poet, screenwriter or musician—but it is a lot about writing.

“If you have always wanted to pursue a creative dream, have always wanted to play and create with words or paints, this book will gently get you started and help you learn all kinds of paying-attention techniques; and that, after all, is what being an artist is all about. It’s about learning to pay attention.”

Loosen up your artistic self

Elizabeth GilbertAuthor Elizabeth Gilbert notes that it “guides the reader through a fascinating (and fun) 12 week-long program of exercises and explorations to help you loosen up your artistic self. The book takes you on a journey that will cost you nothing (aside from the guidebook) and it brings much insight, gently helping you see what is holding you back, and showing you how to move forward.

“Three times in the last decade I’ve committed to doing The Artist’s Way’s program, and each time I’ve learned something important and surprising about myself and my work. Without The Artist’s Way, there would have been no Eat, Pray, Love.”  [Quotes from the Tarcher/Penguin site.]

The Artist’s Way: Creative Kingdom Collection by Julia Cameron boxed set includes: The Artist’s Way; The Artist’s Way Workbook; The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal and The Artist’s Way audio edition.

Another book by Julia Cameron: The Creative Life: True Tales of Inspiration.


Julia Cameron on Being an Artist and the Creative Life

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2016). Julia Cameron on Being an Artist and the Creative Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 May 2016
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