On My Bookshelf: The Artist’s Way

hailey gardiner the artist's way spiritual path to higher creativity inspiration bookshelf january 2019 books to read reading list

“Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to Him.”

Julia Cameron

We both have my friend Kristen to thank for introducing me to “The Artist’s Way”(affiliate link) a 12 week creativity course that I recently finished that was nothing short of life changing

But don’t congratulate me just yet, because guess what?

I let it sit on my bookshelf for FIVE YEARS before I decided to see what all the fuss was about

In fact, I gave it away and had to buy it again once I knew that I wanted to commit to taking care of myself better.

So after purchasing it for a second time last fall, I dove in headfirst and I’m so grateful that I did!

This course has played a huge part in my creative recovery.

After just a few weeks of participating, I felt inspired to record some of my favorite songs I’d written and release an EP of folk songs which is going to be out on February 27th!

Not only did this course inspire me to get back into the recording studio, but I also rediscovered my love for writing stories and started working on my first novel.

It has helped me reconnect with the people, activities, and creative pursuits that I value the most.

I feel an increased amount of confidence knowing that when I allow myself to be creative, I am helping to accomplish God’s work.

The book introduces two very simple but effective tools to help you unleash your creative energy that have become part of my creative process:

Morning Pages

Ed Sheeran says that songwriting is like turning on a really old faucet. You’ve got to let it run for a while before the water becomes clear.

AKA you’ve got to write a bunch of crappy songs before the good songs come out!

The morning pages are based on a similar principle.

As creatives, we need to get out of our own way!

We wake up with our minds full of thoughts, some positive, some negative, and some of them arising from our mean ol’ inner critic, that we can clear out before we get to work.

By decluttering your mind first thing in the morning each day, you’re making room for the good stuff to flow.

You’re making room to receive higher inspiration.

My morning pages have evolved into a daily journal.

I can’t even tell you how unexpectedly happy I was to discover that writing my morning pages actually helped me manage my anxiety.

I could write everything I was worried about, everything burdening my mind.

Get it out of my head and onto paper.

And lo and behold, that simple action helped me put things in perspective.

Put the monsters back in the closet, so to speak.

The things that gave me the most anxiety suddenly didn’t seem so scary!

I love processing anything and everything that’s on my mind through my morning pages each day knowing that nobody is ever going to read them but ME.

Then I’m able to fill my mind through my scripture study and throughout the day with good, wholesome, holy things that help bring me peace and connect me to God, the source of all inspiration.

Artist Dates

It’s true. Because of “The Artist’s Way”, I take myself on play dates.

Julia Cameron is seriously a genius when it comes to reconnecting with and nurturing your inner artist child.

Just like any other relationship, our inner artists want time with us. Alone time.

In order to have something to draw from our creative well when we write, paint, or create, we need to consistently be refilling it with sensory experiences that will help us feel inspired.

So once a week, I take myself out to do something that feels really magical, wondrous, and most importantly FUN!

I used to feel so self conscious going out to eat by myself, worrying about what others thought about the loner girl in the corner scarfing down her food as fast as she could to avoid talking to anyone.


I love taking time for myself, even if it’s just for 30 minutes, to do something that helps me smile more easily, laugh out loud, or savor a mouthful of food.

Artist dates don’t have to be anything outrageous.

I love to go get sushi, party of one.

Bike rides in the sunshine bring me so much joy!

I’ve explored thrift stores, watched old movies and tried out cross stitching.

Plan a date doing whatever floats your boat and treat your inner artist child to some PLAY TIME!

Don’t just take my word for it!

I recommended “The Artist’s Way” to my 19 year old sister, Lindsay, and asked her to share some thoughts with us:

“I’m nearing the end of my experience with “The Artist’s Way”, and I’m so bummed it’s almost over! Whilst embarking on this journey to creative recovery, I’ve learned to allow myself to be playful, to dream a little, and to show myself compassion and forgiveness. I’ve developed greater trust in God and His plan for me, and learned to acknowledge my fears and anxiety without allowing them to immobilize me.

I’ve also learned that little things like coloring, or watching my favorite childhood flicks, or playing outside all lead to more creativity.  I love incorporating small things that make life more meaningful and FUNSIES (i.e. artist dates)!

Nurturing my inner artist child with kindness, patience, and LOTS of chocolate chip cookies has become more important than productivity, popularity or perfection. I could go on forever, but I’m so grateful hailey introduced me to this book, it’s been life-changing!”

Lindsay Gardiner

Invest in your future art and get yourself a copy of “The Artist’s Way” at your local library or at a bookstore ASAP!