Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blog Her Book Club: The Artist's Toolkit

Recently I was given the opportunity to review TheArtist’s Toolkit.  Especially because I’ve been in such a writing slump lately, I jumped at the chance to try out this subscription service in the hopes that it would help me get my creative mojo back.

The website is based on Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and is essentially an online private journal meant to accompany the book. The basic method it proposes is that every morning you write 3 longhand pages of brain dump, which she calls “Morning Pages.”  Once a week you also go on what she refers to as a “Writer’s Date,” where you go out into the world and experience something new, to invite your creativity to flourish.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed.  The basic method, particularly the idea of morning pages, is great.  I’ve used similar techniques at various times in my life and when I write longhand in my journal, without worrying about whether it is “good” or “real writing,” I always feel better.  But as for the rest of the website, I found it to be a little lacking.  I suppose I was hoping for a little more direct instruction or guidance, and instead for the most part the site offered only the most basic of affirmations and prompts.  The weekly dates and exercises suggested seemed to offer promise, but somehow they never really meshed with the way I think and write.

I suppose the real value in the website is the accountability it includes; anything that will keep me honest about writing in my journal is definitely helpful.  The site offers space to complete all the writing exercises, as well as space for a daily journal and notes.  However, Cameron is insistent that your morning pages still be done longhand, and I agree with this.  There is something about writing longhand that makes my writing more concrete and real.  Because of this, though, I really couldn’t find a practical use for me for the online journal space.

For people who frequently journal on a computer or a smart phone, I guess this website could be helpful.  I did appreciate the slight kick in the pants to start writing again, but for me I could have used a little more handholding. 

Disclosure:  This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club.  I received a free subscription to the Artist’s Way and was compensated for my review.  All opinions are my own.