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Excerpted from The Artistís Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. Copyright © 1992 by Julia Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"In choosing which half of the tasks to do, use two guidelines. Pick those that appeal to you and those you strongly resist."

Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way, Part 3

How to use this book for your creative recovery

There are a number of ways to use this book. Most of all, I invite you to use it creatively. This section offers you a sort of road map through the process, with some specific ideas about how to proceed. Some students have done the course solo; others have formed circles to work through the book together. (In the back of the book, you'll find guidelines about doing the work in groups.) No matter which way you choose, The Artist's Way will work for you.

First, you may want to glance through the book to get a sense of the territory covered. (Reading the book through is not the same as using it.) Each chapter includes essays, exercises, tasks, and a weekly check-in. Don't be daunted by the amount of work it seems to entail. Much of the work is really play, and the course takes little more than one hour a day.

When I am formally teaching, I suggest students set a weekly schedule. For example, if you're going to work a Sunday-to-Sunday week, begin by reading the chapter of the week on Sunday night. After you've read the chapter, speed-write through the exercises. The exercises in each week are critical. So are the morning pages and the artist date. (More about these in the next chapter.) You probably won't have time to complete all of the other tasks in any given week. Try to do about half. Know that the rest are there for use when you are able to get back to them. In choosing which half of the tasks to do, use two guidelines. Pick those that appeal to you and those you strongly resist. Leave the more neutral ones for later. Just remember, in choosing, that we often resist what we most need.

In all, make a time commitment of about seven to ten hours a week -- an hour a day, or slightly more if you choose. This modest commitment to using the tools can yield tremendous results within the twelve weeks of the course. The same tools, used over a longer period, can alter the trajectory of a lifetime.

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