Training to Be a Writer
Though I've always liked the idea of journal writing, I have to confess that I've never been disciplined enough to keep up a journal with any regularity. I always begin a journal writing goal with tons of gusto and enthusiasm; but then, usually after a remarkably short period time, I end up as a journal writing flunkie. But thanks to Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, I was able to make journal writing work for me.
Cameron's book is chock-full of wonderful strategies and techniques for any artist who wants to live a more creative life. She encourages readers to do things such as "Artist Dates" and "Artist Walks" to practice living in a more creative mindset, but it's Cameron's "Morning Pages" that truly struck a chord with me.
The idea behind these written pages is developing the habit of simply writing about anything (or nothing) in order to tap into the creativity that's hidden, and sometimes blocked, inside us. It's a stream of consciousness-type writing, which for me, turned into an invaluable tool for training myself to be able to write on demand.
The Artist's Way is designed for readers to spend ten weeks working through the text as well as Cameron's suggested activities for living a more creative life. During this ten-week period, artists are encouraged to write "Morning Pages" every day. Though called "morning" pages, this writing can be done at any time of the day, but should be done as part of a daily routine. As the journal flunkie that I am, I was not always able to keep up "Morning Pages" as regularly as I would have liked, but the few times I committed to reading Cameron's book and following its plan, I did "Morning Pages" enough so that now, writing is much more of a habit for me. When I sit down, whether it be to write notes for a new project, work on a rough draft, chip away at revisions, or do last edits on a book that's almost complete, I'm able to tap into that writing habit I cultivated while doing "Morning Pages." Even with my inability to stay true to writing every, single day, while doing The Artist's Way, the benefits of "Morning Pages" have stuck with me for years.
So, in the traditional sense of the word, I'm not a journal keeper, but rather someone who has found a way to make journal writing work for me.
Happy Reading & Writing,