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Book Review: How To Avoid Making Art

how to avoid making artIf you’re not a creative type who feels driven to create things “just because,” How To Avoid Making Art might not do it for you, unless you’re just a big fan of drawings of dogs. If that’s you, by all means, proceed. Or you could refer yourself to the book’s parenthetical sub-title: (And Anything Else You Enjoy).

But if you’re a writer, a painter, a sculptor, a musician, or you do any other activity that you consider art, I’d recommend giving this book a try–particularly if you’re someone who has a hard time getting it in gear when it comes to obeying the creative urges.

Me? No, I’m not. If anything, I probably enjoy myself too much when I’m writing and will starve to death one day in the middle of a post that has crept up around 200,000 words without my taking a break to eat.

Julia Cameron’s book is a quick read–drawings of dogs in smocks coming up with excuses not to create art. That’s about it. But it’s a lot of fun and I see a lot of the wannabe that I used to be in the comics. I used to love to talk about how much I wanted to write. In fact, I loved to talk about it so much that I’m sure I gave at least 100 people oral outlines of the novel I was going to write before ever setting down a word.

The book didn’t get written until I shut up about it.

Here’s one quick example of the advice given to habitual art-making avoiders:

Get your main sense of self-worth helping others instead of facing the blank page.

There is nothing wrong with helping others, of course. Just don’t expect words to appear on the blank page unless you take time for yourself as well.

I’ve read a few of Cameron’s other books and haven’t been very impressed. I like this one, though.




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