Live Creatively
Artist + Writer
Marcella Nordbeck
Living "The Artist's Way"

12 Month Blog Series

I began a new blog series, Living The Artist's Way, in January 2013. I worked through Julia Cameron's book again, but over
12 months instead of 12 weeks, to more deeply integrate her teachings into my life and creative process.

When the project started, I had planned to write and post 2 blogs per chapter, per month. But Julia’s course really works!
I became so busy creating new art that I had to cut back to just
1 blog post per chapter, per month. But 4 months into the project, when I did post a new blog, they began to include videos.

Post 17: Faith

My chapter 12 Living The Artist’s Way video is the final, and most vulnerable, video in this
12-month / 17-post blog series. I share my deepest epiphany, my newfound awareness of what
has been my biggest creative block all along.
In the 12th and final month of this journey reading Julia Cameron’s book and writing my daily morning pages, I became aware that I have spent my life exhibiting a pattern of behavior in which I have honored other people’s opinions (one person in particular) of me and my art over my own opinions. Well, not anymore! I am taking my power back. I choose love – for myself, my life, and my art...

Post 16: Autonomy

5 weeks into living as a full-time working artist and 11 months into Living The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, chapter 11, “Recovering a Sense of Autonomy,” is the perfect prescription. In this chapter, “We examine the ongoing ways in which we nurture and accept ourselves as artists.”
Julia begins chapter 11 by discussing the importance of not getting stuck in our past success.
I couldn’t agree more! In the above video I share how I’m breaking out of my habit of painting spirals by painting pure abstractions for the Sidewalk Series and going from a brunette to a blond to shed my old 9-5 office job image...

Post 15: Self-Protection

10 months into Living The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and a major change has begun to unfold in my life. Major! I didn’t see it coming, but I should have because when we answer our soul’s higher call, change is inevitable.
What I will share is I’m learning that no one else can make us happy. We each have to take responsibility for our own happiness. While it is not always easy, it is undeniably necessary.
If we are going to live, truly live, we have to live the life that is calling to us. Not the life that is calling to our sister, our neighbor, or old Aunt Mary. The life that is calling to us. For me, it was not the life
I was living…

Post 14: Compassion & Creative U-turns

I’m nine months into Living The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron’s, “Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self,” and I am EXHAUSTED! So I’m taking the easy approach today and just writing my blog. Sorry folks… no video this month.

Thank you to EVERYONE who has watched and posted comments on the corresponding YouTube videos since I started posting them as part of this experiment back in April. As I mentioned in last month’s video on chapter 8, this journey has been much harder than I expected. Your words of encouragement have been wind in my sails, helping me to keep moving forward when I want to give up. Which is just about every day.

So it is appropriately timed – as it is each month – that in chapter 9 Julia discusses having compassion for ourselves and offers advice for overcoming creative U-turns. That’s when we reach a certain point in the creative process and then, often as a result of fear, we turn back. I haven’t done a full U-turn yet, but I’m certainly at a cross roads...

BONUS Blog Post: Bloom True

As you know, for the past 8 months, I have been Living The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron’s, “Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self.” Another artist who has had a tremendous impact on me, and my art, this year is Flora Bowley. I am a huge fan of her book, Brave Intuitive Painting, and alumni of her online painting class, Bloom True: the E-course...

Post 13: Recovering a Sense of Strength

Living The Artist’s Way for 12 months has been a LOT harder than I thought it would be. For starters, I didn’t anticipate encountering a massive creative block 8 months into the project.   I finally got back into the studio today and started painting again. But it’s been an emotional journey, since last month’s video blog, of questioning everything in my life from my creative routines to my spiritual practices...
What would our lives look like if we chose to live from a place of trust…?

Post 12: Perfectionism, Risk & Jealousy

Are you thinking of ditching The Artist’s Way? I’ll admit it – I was. Or you did ditch it, but you’re thinking of giving it another go? Jump back in with me this month as I review chapter 7, “Recovering a Sense of Connection”...

Post 11: Abundant Time & Space

This week I’m diving into chapter 6, “Recovering a Sense of Abundance,” in Julia Cameron’s classic, The Artist’s Way. In the video I discuss how my perception of time, or my perceived lack or abundance of it, has changed (significantly!) since finally going on solo artist dates. I also share an awesome time awareness tip I learned...
I can’t count the number of people who have told me they aren’t honoring their creativity because they don’t have the space. You don’t need a large space to be creative...

BONUS: Included in the blog are LOTS of pictures of my art studio to inspire YOUR art space!

BONUS Blog Post: Just Because

My next Living The Artist’s Way blog post on chapter 6 isn’t scheduled until next week. But I’m feeling called to share things with you this week. So this is a bonus blog!

For the past few days I’ve been feeling full of self-doubt and insecurity. I’ve been wondering where my art fits in among so many talented and inspiring artists leaving their creative mark on the world. I’m not the only artist with the message to love yourself, honor your creativity, and to follow your dreams. So how do I stand out? How do I shine my light within a community of so many other bright lights?

I took my feelings and questions into meditation this morning. I set my alarm for 20 minutes. But before it went off I was tying my shoe laces as I listened to my intuition to go for a walking meditation outside...

Post 10: Sleep and Solo Artist Dates

In this week’s Living The Artist’s Way blog series video I discuss the importance of sleep and share my favorite sleep aid. It’s a follow-up to my last video when I mentioned that I’m not sleeping as much these days because of all the creative projects I’m working on. I can’t stress enough how important sleep is (or how much I should follow my own advice)!
As promised in the video, today I went on a solo artist date. It's my first official one since I started the 12-month Living The Artist’s Way blog series 5 months ago! I walked a couple miles to pick my car up from the repair shop instead of using their shuttle service. Along the way, I snapped a few photos of my beautiful neighborhood. Before I even made it out of the parking lot, I found...

Post 9: The World Needs Your Creative Ideas

In addition to discussing chapter 5, “Recovering A Sense of Possibility,” in Julia Cameron’s classic book, The Artist’s Way, this week I announce exciting news about the advancement of my art career since my last vlog post just two weeks ago!
And, I reveal the gritty truth about what lead me onto a creative path. That part has not been a secret. But I’ve been keeping the announcement under my hat for two weeks so I’ve been bursting at the seams to share my exciting news with you...

Post 8: How I Live The Artist's Way

In response to the forum question, “Have you done The Artist’s Way and did you find it creepy?” I’ve up-leveled my blog and included a video. Below is my very first vlog!
In this first, of more (shorter) videos to come, I share how I have customized Julia Cameron’s 12-week course in “Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self” to support me and my creative endeavors. I also address...

Post 7: Not for the Faint of HeART

As I continue to live The Artist’s Way, my focus this month is on chapter 4, “Recovering a Sense of Integrity.” Julia Cameron says, “This [month] may find you grabbling with changing self-definition. The essays, tasks, and exercises are designed to catapult you into productive introspection and integration of new self-awareness.” She goes on to say, “Warning: Do not skip the tool of reading deprivation!”

Say, what? I don’t remember the tool of reading deprivation from when I did The Artist’s Way three years ago! I guess I skipped that part..

Julia also says, “It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling the well. Without distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world.”

Well, call me a rebel, but I need to read! I need a little distraction now and again. Otherwise, the “sensory world” is too much for me and I become over stimulated to the point where I faint. Literally...

Post 6: Enjoy the Ride

In Chapter 3 of The Artist’s Way, “Recovering A Sense of Power,” Julia Cameron says, “Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. You are capable of great things on Tuesday, but on Wednesday you may slide backward. This is normal. Growth occurs in spurts. You will lie dormant sometimes. Do not be discouraged. Think of it as resting.”

If my career were someone else’s I would be impressed with what has been accomplished. Yet, when I spend a couple days, like this past weekend, laying on the couch sick with the flu, all I can think about are my unfinished projects...

Post 5: Typos, Criticism, and Warm Fuzzies

My essay, “Miracle of Yes,” was recently published by Anassa Publications in the anthology Anything Prose…and Poetry, Too! When I received my copy I discovered not one, but TWO, typos! I had proof read the printer’s layout draft before it went to press, but I had still missed my mistakes. After discovering my errors I was critical of myself for days. I felt so embarrassed, I considered not attending the book’s launch celebration.   

In the weeks leading up to the launch I had experienced a personal, family related, disappointment that I had allowed to affect my confidence and self-esteem.  After the whiplash of promises and let downs, I was feeling pretty low. When I discovered my typos...

Post 4: Safe Companions

In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron says, “Creativity flourishes when we have a sense of safety and self-acceptance. Your artist, like a small child, is happiest when feeling a sense of security. As our artist’s protective parent, we must learn to place our artist with safe companions.”

I know of no safer companion on my artistic journey than my husband, Sean Richardson. He believed in me, and my art, long before I did. I began taking painting classes again early in our relationship. I had only been living in his apartment a few months when I came home one day to find he had pulled an old kitchen table out of storage. While I was at work, he rearranged the spare bedroom we shared as a home office so the table would fit in a corner, creating my first dedicated art space. Years later...

Post 3: Honesty and Authenticity

In chapter two of The Artist’s Way, Recovering a Sense of Identity, Julia Cameron says, “You may find yourself drawing new boundaries and staking out new territories as your personal needs, desires, and interests announce themselves.”  Is that what I’ve been doing?

For the past few weeks I have been a recluse. I am beginning to see the sunshine again, metaphorically, but I am still moving through grief surrounding my father’s death...

Post 2: Soul-o Artist Date

A key component to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is going on artist dates. Julia says, “You will do this every week for the duration of the course.” She recommends that you set aside 2 hours each week and be, “committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.” She describes artist dates as excursions or play dates that you, “preplan and defend against all interloopers.” And they’re solo – you don’t take anyone with you except your inner artist child. Julia says, “You are likely to find yourself avoiding your artist dates. Recognize this resistance as a fear of intimacy – self-intimacy.”  

While I may have been avoiding the type of solo artist dates Julia Cameron recommends, I have been having dates with my inner child, my soul. For the first time in my life I am finally...

Post 1: Power of the Pages

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that to recover as an artist we must be willing to be a bad artist. She encourages us to approach our art as play. But how do I allow myself to play when there are bills to pay?

I have the same day job I did 3 years ago – the last time I did The Artist’s Way and was a guest blogger for the book’s publisher, Tarcher/Penguin. But I’ve since gone down to 4-days to focus more on my art. With the reduction in hours came a reduction in steady income so I feel pressure to be successful. When I approached my art as a hobby, I didn’t care if I didn’t get accepted into a show or went months between sales. But now that I’m making a living honoring the creative call, I need...
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“I saw your [YouTube video] of The Artist Way.
I really appreciate the way you opened up about your journey and opinions if it…
You inspire me so much!!”
~Teresa Kae, model
Las Vegas, Nevada
“I really appreciate your monthly postings.
I have the book and started it once but didn't follow through. I will try it again with your idea of one chapter a month. Thank you for sharing.”
~Susan Owens, artist
Colorado Springs, Colorado
"Your story is so inspiring Marcella!
I'm excited to see where this next chapter takes you and how your story continues to unfold."
~Aly Burkesmith Morgan, artist
Portland, Oregon
"You are Courage personified!!!
I am in awe of you..."
~Colyn Harris, massage therapist
Fort Collins, Colorado
“Thanks for this. I started this five years ago and only did one day of morning pages. Working full time really drained me and I couldn't do it.
I will begin again and I love the idea
of spreading it out over the year.”
“Thank you for sharing your journey.
I admire your bravery.”
“I work and have trouble doing the morning pages too. Glad you made this video…
I think you are one of the links I needed right now to seriously inspire me in the right direction. Thank you.”
~Rosanna Fante, artist
Sacramento, California
“I LOVED this video! Thank you for posting!
I always struggle with trying to keep up with the tools and balance responsibilities.
Loved your honesty and the idea
to spread the teachings over 12 months.”
“Thanks for posting.
Very honest and very true.”
~M van Booren
“Thanks for this. It was helpful.”
“I am so glad I came across your videos!”
“I love this idea of monthly chapters
to fully integrate the process.
Thanks for the inspiration!”
~Michelle Fox, actress / model
Denver, Colorado
“Your idea to take The Artist’s Way on a
year–long journey is really wonderful and inspired… I am treading a path you have blazed. I see you ahead with a light.”
~Erin Ivey, singer / song writer
Austin, Texas
“I have just found your vlog entry How I Live the Artist's Way and it is wonderful! I, too, read the "Have you found it creepy?" [] question and all the 'attacks' that were posted and was very disappointed.
Thank you for your reaction to all that.
You have helped sooth the sting.”
~Sara DeJesus, artist
Seattle, Washington
“I've just read your blog. Wonderful.
It has particular significance to me right now, as I just started
The Artist's Way a week ago
for the very first time.”
~Brett Magdovitz, entrepreneur
Boulder, Colorado