Thursday, June 14, 2012

BlogHer Book Club: My Artist's Way Toolkit

I was given the opportunity to test a wonderful online tool called My Artist’s Way Toolkit. At first I was a little hesitant because the word ‘artist’ evoked images of painters, sculptors, etc. for me. I quickly learned that this website was designed for all people who are interested in becoming more creative, be it for their writing, photography, music, or any other activity that requires us to use our imagination.
My Artist’s Way Toolkit is meant to be used in conjunction with Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. However, never having read the book myself, I believe that this website can still be an amazing resource for anyone interested in broadening their creative perspective.
The website’s design is very simple and straightforward. On the left hand side, the user is offered a quote by the author. Underneath the quote are two notes which can be clicked on: The first carries a written Creative Affirmation by Julia Cameron; the second brings up a Creative Soundbite, which is a recording of the author reading an excerpt from one of her many books. These short quotes by the author are wonderful to reflect on.
On the right side of the page, the user finds a large notebook with several tabs along the side. The top tag is ‘My Contract’, which brings up an agreement each artist is meant to sign. In this contract, the user is asked to commit to The Artist’s Way. Ms. Cameron finds this commitment crucial in order to keep artists grounded and focused on their creative progress.
The second tab contains ‘Artist’s Dates’, which are weekly recommended excursions to aide the user in his/her process. They are meant to be a booster for the user’s imagination, a platform for an artist’s “play of ideas”.  The third holds ‘Artist’s Exercises’, which are weekly reflective implementations that guide the user in putting their ‘way’ into action. Both of these tabs allow the user to write directly on each page in journal form. The writings can be saved and photos can be added, if desired.
The fourth tab is labeled ‘Creative Pages’ and contains blank journal pages that can be used for anything the artist chooses. The fifth and final tab is ‘Creative Notes’, in which the artist can collect any tidbits that come up throughout the day on the equivalent of personalized virtual sticky notes. The advantage of using these two tabs is that the user can collect all thoughts in one place without having to fear of the notes getting lost or jumbled.
This tool has already helped me reflect on my own creativity and made me step out of my comfort zone, e.g. when I had to go out on my Artist’s Date. It is a wonderful place to collect ideas and thoughts, while offering the opportunity to find other likeminded people (there is a ‘Community’ tab at the top of the page) If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can also download the free app and are able to access the tool while on the go.
Come join the discussion on BlogHer!

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed are my own.

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