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How to Ignite Your Creativity: Advice From World-Renowned Artist Julia Cameron

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Ask a group of children: "Who here can draw?" and chances are they'll all raise their hands high in the air.

Try asking that same thing to a group of adults.
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Sadly, somewhere along the journey, many of us have forgotten that we are all creatives. Even the most talented artist in the world cannot replicate your art exactly -- in any form.

It's time to return to your art, to access your creative reserves.

In this interview, world-renowned Artist Julia Cameron guides us through the essentials of the process.

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Write Morning Pages.

Q: You often talk about being guided in your work. Can you explain what you feel exactly and how the rest of us can tap into this guidance?
Guidance feels like an insistent "hunch." Those who write Morning Pages will become familiar with what might be called a "celestial nudge." All three of the basic tools: Morning Pages, Artist Dates and Walking, sharpen and clarify what is often called the "still, small voice."

Activate Your Spiritual Radio Kit.

Q: You've helped thousands worldwide, including me, expand their creativity with Morning Pages. Can you tell us how this tool works and why it's so powerful?
I think of it as building a spiritual radio kit. When you write Morning Pages, you are "sending." The result of sending is that you begin to receive. As you are open to receiving guidance, it comes to you more and more clearly.

Q: Should people expect to receive in their Morning Pages or after, throughout the day?
You can expect to receive guidance in Morning Pages and to have the guidance remain with you throughout the day. The Morning Pages make you more intuitive and make you pay more attention to your intuition. So if you have a hunch of something to try later in the day, chances are good you will act on it.

Q. Have you ever gone a day without practicing Morning Pages?
On occasion I have gone without doing my Morning Pages. It's a little bit like if you're a marathon runner and you don't run for a day. You feel very uncomfortable. Emma Lively, my creative partner, picks up on it instantly. She'll say, "Did you do your Pages today?" She can sense a difference in my thinking, a difference in my clarity.

Tap into Celestial Flow

Q: What other tools are essential in awakening our creativity and flow?
There are three basic tools that are essential: they are Morning Pages, done daily; an Artist Date, which is a once a week, festive, solo expedition to do something that interests, intrigues or enchants you; and the third tool is walking. I recommend trying it twice weekly. All three of these tools help in picking up celestial signals.

Zone In with Walking

Q: What is it about walking that is so powerful? Will running or another form of exercise do the trick?
Walking creates intuition. If you walk out with a problem, you walk back with a solution. This kind of walking is done alone. Without an iPhone. Without your dog. (If you have a dog and you go for a walk, you are going for your dog's walk.) When you are walking, you go at a slower pace; you are more aware of your environment. With exercises like running, we tend to sort of zone out. Walking forces us to zone in.

Listen for Inspiration.

Q: In your work you extol the use of Creative Clusters. How have you seen people use this tool for success?
The tool of clusters brings encouragement. From listening to our peers, we receive unexpected inspiration.

Pay attention to what makes you jealous.

Q: If you were able to go back and do one thing differently in your career, what would it be?
I would have directed a second feature film instead of turning so decisively to books. I notice that I am jealous of directors. And that's a big clue.

Keep the faith around your art.

Q: What do you deem your greatest life or business challenge? How did you approach it?
I think my greatest challenge is keeping the faith around my music. I was raised to believe that I wasn't musical. And I only discovered music in my mid-40s. I am about to record an album, which will move my music more front and center.

Practice.

Q: Likewise, what do you deem your greatest life or business success?
I believe my greatest success lies in the creative tools I have shared with others-- tools that come from my own artistic practice.

Find Your Voice in Morning Pages.

Q: What's your top advice for the growing community of intra- and entrepreneurs, who want to creatively and authentically tell their story through their business and life?
Write Morning Pages. They will make you more authentic to yourself and others.

It's a Spiritual Path.

Q: What am I not asking, Julia?
The Artist's Way is called a Spiritual Path. And a lot of times people get a little queasy at the word spiritual. But I find when I teach that people are actually quite open-minded. So when I teach an Artist's Way workshop I read several prayers from my book "Prayers to the Great Creator." And people always come up to me and ask, "Where can I find those prayers? I love those prayers." So people are not nearly as cynical as we assume.

See other interviews from this series with top business and life leaders:
Dean Karnazes - How to Run Over Fear & Take Action
Nadine Hack - The Art of the Master Bridge Builder
Roger Love - More Glee: Set your Voice Free

About Julia: Julia Cameron has had a remarkable career, which in turn has given remarkable help to others. Herself an award-winning poet, playwright, and filmmaker, she has written thirty books, ranging from her widely-praised, hard-hitting crime novel The Dark Room to her volumes of children's poems and prayers.

Despite her extensive film and theater credits, which include such diverse work as Miami Vice and the prize-winning romantic comedy God's Will, which she both wrote and directed, Cameron is best known for her hugely successful works on creativity.
The Artist's Way has sold more than four million copies worldwide, and her followup bestsellers Finding Water, The Vein of Gold, Walking in this World andThe Right to Write are likewise flagship books which are taught in universities, churches, human potential centers and even in tiny clusters deep in the jungles of Panama.
Credited with founding a new human potential movement that has enabled millions to realize their creative dreams, Cameron eschews the title creativity expert, preferring instead to describe herself simply as an artist. "Artists have always mentored, I just do it on a wider scale."