Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Artist's Way Toolkit: A BlogHer Book Club Review

*This is a paid review for BlogHer bookclub.  As always, my thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

The Artist's Way Toolkit is a little different that what I normally review for the BlogHer Book Club. As in, it is not a book, but an interactive online guide to help with a 'creative renewal and rediscovery' of yourself.  When I signed up to be a part of this review group, my entire reasoning for it was that I had on my list of New Years Resolutions that I wanted to start painting, and somehow I saw this as the push I needed in the right direction. I still have not started painting. Turns out The Artist's Toolkit isn't really a method for getting you to draw and  paint, it is much more like a meditative, self discovery to finding a more centered, artistic version of yourself.

The toolkit includes daily affirmations and creative soundbites, which are nice, but also rather forgettable.  The toolkit excels more with it's 'Artist's Way Exercises' which sends you on a trip each week that you are expected to go on alone.  They are simple things like "go to a place in your city you have never been" or "visit a thrift shop", but they push you to take time for yourself.  The daily writing is also a therapeutic and rather meditative way to slow down and connect with yourself and your own thoughts and feelings... that is, if you actually make yourself do it each day, which was a challenge.

So here is the thing about the Artist's Way Toolkit.  It takes time and dedication to actually do it.  It isn't something you simply read through and are all of a sudden a new, renewed artistic version of your old self.  This is a process and almost like therapy.  There are writing prompts and, daily journaling and field trips.  It is a process and you need to WANT to do it, and even more,  you need TIME to do it.

I could see The Artist's Way Toolkit being great for a high school or college student. I could even see myself finding enjoyment from it before I was a full time working wife and mom who is also in school for my Masters degree and does a fair bit of blogging on the side.  I wanted to like it, but for me, it was just extra work.  I didn't take much from it, but I feel like that is my fault for not putting enough in.  If you are wanting to work on yourself and are really willing to invest the time and energy it takes to do that, The Artist's Way seems like a wonderful option.  If you are busy and already overwhelmed and relatively happy with your inner artist, then this really isn't for you.  I fall in the latter category.

We will be discussing the Artist's Way Toolkit for the next few weeks over at BlogHer.  Come join the conversation!

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