So for the next two months I’m going to be doing weekly, short blogs covering the 43 chapters of Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write, self-help/work guide on how to be work on yourself to work on the writer in you.
I’ll be joining YT vlogger and fellow writer/author, Burgess Taylor on her journey going through Ms. Cameron’s book as a group. Burgess kicked off this idea, so make sure to follow her own 2-month journey during May and June at her website/blog and with her YT vids.
If you want to join in, pick up a physical copy or ebook version of The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life Amazon (US) or at B&N or if you’re Canadian *waves to fellow Canucks* here at Indigo/Chapters…or your local library or any other place else you prefer.
So to keep this short as promised, likely also going to be my longest post, my blog posts will be covering my thoughts under Invitation and how I did with the Initiation challenges following. Cool? Cool.
Covered a range from the mythology we have of “real” writers and the process of writing in general to what Ms. Cameron calls “the time lie”, etc.
For the first exercise, we start off with what are morning pages.
In her The Artist’s Way title, Julia Cameron challenges her readers to start writing what she calls three morning pages every single day in that 12-week program/challenge. Thee morning pages are supposed to be stream of conscious thought – you write whatever you want to write because there’s no right way to write these pages. Only you gotta write them first thing in the morning. (But what if you’re not a morning person, you say – well tough! I’m kidding. I think there’s wiggle room if you’re a night owl and late riser. Just write them whenever you wake up. That’s probably the prime time when your head is full of random creative nonsense anyways.)
And it was the same with this 1st challenge from The Right to Write. Honestly the reason I’ve been sitting on The Artist’s Way is because I don’t like the idea of having to write 84 days/12 weeks worth of 3 morning pages by hand. Maybe I’ll type them up. Or talk into a recorder…?
Whatever. I did these 3 pages by hand and boy did it hurt. 8 x 11 pages single spaced…my hand was cramping. I’m a fast writer, too, not that I had to write it quick. The words sorta just flowed out of my head. I woke up with a rejection from an agent that morning, and I needed to get the poison out and DID IT EVER WORK. Guys, I’m going to start doing this whenever I feel like crap. I poured it out in the pages and stood from the couch, stretched and felt like I’d woken up that morning for a second time.
So there were another six exercises. Each one was supposed to open the writer inside of you up, like a spring bud or something equally poetic. I liked them even though I had to tailor a few. For instance one exercise asked you to send 5 postcards to five family or friends you haven’t connected with in a while. I wasn’t down for doing that, so instead I wrote 5 letters to people who will never get them:
1) my stillborn baby brother
2) my grandfather (who died almost 2 years ago)
3) my kitty (who we gave up for adoption)
4) my family (who just don’t need to read my random nonsense)
5) my Teen self
Another exercise had you clipping out articles from gossip/entertainment columns of newspapers and magazines that specialize in that area. I don’t do print, so I searched online and found my articles, bookmarking and reading as I went. Then I jumped into the rest of that exercise.
I like to think Ms. Cameron won’t mind if I play around with her ‘initiation’ activities, so as long as I continue to be engaged in the book and give all my attention to it.
All in all though, I enjoyed what this first week’s worth of exercises have brought. I already feel that I’m opening up my stilted perceptions of writing and enhancing my own definition of productivity.