I walked into the small, dimly lit office. A few other people had already arrived, and I noticed I was the youngest by far. I was 22 and this was my first experience at an Artist's Way group. As the meeting began, I felt a bit out of place, both because of my age and also because I learned that everyone else in the group was a mom. The organizer was a midwife, and although she had advertised the group through our local writers organization, all of the other participants seemed to be her former clients.
Everyone in the group was kind and accepting of me, but they talked about their kids. A lot. I couldn't relate to that, but I was very excited to talk about the book. "The Artist's Way" was a revelation to me. It had only been out for a few years at that time, and I didn't know then that it would still be speaking to me almost 30 years later.
The biggest thing the book taught me was that I wasn't alone. At that time in my life, I felt lost, as many (most?) people do in their 20s. I knew I liked to write (I had a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing, after all), and I'd landed a copy editing job at the local newspaper. But I also worked swing shift, and although I adored my colleagues, it was tough to make new friends or find time to socialize with old friends because of my odd work schedule. I liked my job but I didn't know if I liked my life.
Enter "The Artist's Way." Exploring the book, I didn't feel weird prioritizing art and play over work — at the time, I was able to afford shared rent at a house while working part time, which I was thrilled about. The book also inspired me to be myself, while first finding out more about who that was. And even though I didn't have a lot in common with the other group members, they did offer me a lot of encouragement. They believed in me, and they helped me believe in myself.
Every time I've done (the Artist's Way) process I've learned something new about life, myself, and the power of human connection.
Now, a few decades later, I have facilitated over a dozen Artist's Way Workshops in one form or another and shared the process with scores of fellow creatives. Every time I've done this process I've learned something new about life, myself, and the power of human connection.
My goal when I lead these groups is to keep the focus on the Artist's Way book and the process its author, Julia Cameron, recommends. We do naturally learn a lot about one another during the 12-week process, and we come to respect and even care deeply for our fellow participants (and, yes, sometimes people do even talk about their kids!). The reason we come together in the first place, though, is because of our love of art and creativity, our curiosity about self-expression, and our desire to experience life while we're living it.
Hosting these groups is and has been my favorite thing to do, and now I can't imagine my life without it. Although I never became a parent, it feels good to know I've contributed to the world in my own way. Thank you to Julia, and to the cool women of that first Artist's Way group who helped me see and appreciate my creative gifts.
If you're interested in learning more about the next online 12-week Artist's Way Workshop, hosted by Rachel Moore, LMFT, you may find more information here.
Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapy in San Diego, CA. Rachel helps writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types overcome anxiety and trauma. She is certified in EMDR therapy and also trained in Brainspotting.