Happy New Year… yes you did read that correctly. It may be due to having never been a heat/sun enthusiast; or the fact that autumn’s rich colour palate, misty mornings and leaves underfoot speaks much more to my visual artist side but autumn has always been my favourite time of year. Autumn feels like a mini new year, even if the year itself is drawing to a close. Autumn has also seems like a good time to take stock of where you are in life/career/everything else and even if the year has not been so good to date, find ways to move forward for a better end of the year. So I am going to share a few resources that I have found useful.
Julia Cameron: The Artist’s Way
Starting with the book that so many artists of all discipline talk about; I finally purchased The Artist’s Way back in February this year after hearing so many others talk about how much it has helped them – one attendee at a workshop called Morning Pages “a lifesaver”. The book is essentially a 12 week course in rediscovering your creativity, though I think it is also possible to dip in and out of chapters concentrating on those that address the issues most relevant to you. The Artist’s Way does come with a strong spiritual message – Cameron says that “creative inspiration is from and of a divine origin and influence” and some people do have an issue with that approach. I have to confess that I am still struggling with it at this stage, and maybe perseverance is needed; I have yet to master completing Morning Pages in a regular routine; however like many I have spoken to I would strongly recommend looking at The Artist’s Way, perhaps look at it in a bookshop before definitely buying.
How to be an Artist / 12 Rules of Creativity
I have been using both of the above books written by artist and consultant Michael Atavar since just after they were published whilst Atavar was artist advisor at The Oval House Theatre in South London. Both books are full of practical exercises to stimulate creative practice whatever your discipline, I have used a number of them when both preparing for rehearsals and to deliver theatre based workshops, I think these books are probably most helpful when you either working on a project or having something specific ready to go. I have found both books hard to find in physical bookshops, the links above will take you to an online store with content and sample pages.
Your Life in Theatre: Chris Grady
Chris Grady is a creative coach, has run theatres and led university courses; mostly recently the MA in Creative Producing at Mountview. He is also someone I have known for some years and attended his workshops: a very thought provoking working breakfast at Wilton’s Music Hall stands out for both the striking surroundings and the ideas that flowed. Your Life in Theatre is for anyone working or wanting to work in theatre either performing or in production. The book flows in a sort of career path starting with advise for those starting out through to those emerging to those who have worked for some years who are in need of new/re inspiration. Unlike the books above, this is a book to get into for practical getting/making work which I have gone back to time and again; and even after years of working I still find even the early chapters have useful advice.