The Artist's Way: A Spritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
Amazon.com describes the book this way:
With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.
This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe, and has, in the four years since its publication, spawned a remarkable number of support groups for artists dedicated to practicing the exercises it contains.
Review by John Erickson, October 2007:
The Artist's Way is essentially a collection of essays and exercises designed to help people discover or rediscover their creativity. It's mainly aimed at what it calls "blocked creatives," people who have a desire to create art, but are emotionally blocked from doing so. I don't exactly fit into this category, as I'm already active in art, and I avoided many of the pitfalls that can lead to a block, such as unsupportive parents (my parents were always very supportive of my artistic leanings), but I have on occasion been temporarily blocked, and there is a lot of accurate insight in this book into the minds of frustrated artists. The Artist's Way even helped me realize that I am blocked in other areas of my life (the author doesn't limit her discussion to the production of art, but rather also discusses "living creatively").
I skipped over most of the exercises, because I didn't feel like I particularly needed them, but I did try a tool called "the morning pages." Basically, the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing that you do every morning, about anything and everything. Nobody else should be allowed to see them, and you shouldn't even read them yourself. The point is to clean out your mental clutter, to express the random thoughts that bump around in your head so that you can let them go and make room for more productive thinking. I did the morning pages for a couple weeks and was starting to notice a difference. My head was clearer and I had an easier time focusing on the things I wanted to do. But then I fell out of the habit. Writing this review now, I realize I ought to start doing the morning pages again.