Julia Cameron has had a remarkable career—and one which has in turn given remarkable help to others. Herself an award-winning poet, playwright, and filmmaker, she has written thirty eight books, ranging from her widely-praised, hard-hitting crime novel The Dark Room to her volumes of children's poems and prayers.
Despite her extensive film and theatre credits, which include such diverse work as "Miami Vice" and the prize-winning romantic comedy "God's Will" which she both wrote and directed, Cameron is best known for her hugely successful works on creativity.
She is the writer of one of the best creativity tools, The Artist's Way. The book tries to awaken the creative child we all have inside ourselves by making many writing exercises to overcome our "censor", like the morning pages. Those are 3 pages we have to write when we wake up and are about whatever comes to mind. The Artist's Way has sold over two million copies worldwide.
Her follow-up bestsellers The Vein of Gold, Walking in This World and The Right to Write are likewise flagship books which are taught in universities, churches, human potential centers and even in tiny clusters in the jungles of Panama. In The Right to Write, she proposes many exercises which include: the morning pages, the artist's date, writing like a 80 year old version of yourself, writing like a younger self, making lists of things we like, movies we like, stories we would write, among many others.
Credited with having founded a new human potential movement which has enabled millions to realize their creative dreams, Cameron eschews the title "creativity expert," preferring to describe herself simply as an "artist."
"Artists have always mentored, I just do it on a wider scale. . . My books are not creative theory," she explains. "They spring straight out of my own creative practice. In a sense, I am the floor sample of my own tool kit. When we are unblocked we can have remarkable and diverse adventures."
She knows whereof she speaks. A writer since the age of eighteen, Cameron has published highly praised short stories, award-winning essays and hard-hitting political journalism. Her credits range from Rolling Stone to The New York Times.
As a teacher she has taught everywhere from The Smithsonian to Esalen, The New York Times to Northwestern University where she served as writer in residence in film. As a filmmaker, she collaborated with former husband Martin Scorsese on "Three films and one daughter, Domenica." As a playwright, her work has graced such prestigious stages as Princeton's McCarter Theater, The Denver Center of the Performing Arts and the tiny Taos Community Auditorium in her hometown. It was there that she first workshopped her musical "Avalon," under the guidance of legendary director John Newland.
On her musicals, Cameron serves as composer as well as libretto-writer and lyricist. This musical aspect of her career began in her mid-forties and she laughs, "I have only myself to blame for suddenly sprouting a new career. If you teach unblocking, you do get unblocked!"
Championed by such people as Washington Post music critic Joseph McClellan who cites her "enormous gift for melody," Cameron explains, "Most of us have no idea of our real creative height. We are much more gifted than we know. My tools help to nurture those gifts." Citing creativity as an authentic spiritual path, Cameron's work has been embraced by such diverse spiritual groups as Buddhists, Sufis, Roman Catholics and Church of Religious Science and Unity with "quite a few British Wiccans thrown in."
Her three affirmative prayer books, Heartsteps, Blessings, and Transitions, are widely used, beloved for both their optimism and their pragmatism. To those familiar with the range of Cameron's work, which is frequently taught in theological degree programs as well as in the arts, her book, God Is No Laughing Matter, will seem a welcome and refreshing dose of often hilarious straight talk about America's wildly conflicted and confusing spiritual landscape. This is partnered by a book of "wicked" spirituality cartoons, God Is Dog Spelled Backwards, illustrated by noted artist Elizabeth Cameron, a younger sister and frequent creative collaborator.
These new works showcase Cameron's trademark wit and piercing "emperor's new clothes" clarity. As a chaser, Supplies is a book that allows those in the trenches to actually win the war. Having formulated this trio of books bent on helping others, the mischievous Cameron turns her naughty storyteller's eye to Hollywood and her years in "the business" in her story collection, Popcorn: Hollywood Stories, which led Erica Jong to call her "The Real Animal."
Cameron released the long-awaited sequel to The Artist's Way entitled Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity. She has also published her memoir, Floor Sample.
Julia Cameron lives in New York City.