The awesome book by Julie Cameron The Artist’s Way was a gift to me by my wife, with whom I am separated. We still love and care for each other and continue to offer support in many ways. This kind of relationship with an ex is crucial, especially since we have two young children together.
She knows my desire to be a writer who can make a living wage from my creative endeavors, so she was kind to give me this book by Julia Cameron.
I had been searching for a means to get myself back into writing daily. Writing creatively and with purpose.
I am more fresh in the mornings to do my writing and I know that is the best time to do it, but I have lacked the discipline to get up and do it. I was unable to focus my mind on purpose. I kept putting it off for years.
I would still write. I had written a few new short stories for a writing class I took back in the fall of 2016. That was over a year ago. I haven’t finished a story since.
My mind flows with ideas of stories, a podcast with my kids, and a podcast for myself. I thought of editing a young adult novel I had written many years ago that has been in the editing stage for just as long.
I just could not focus or find a way to get my mind to stop wandering the trail of “I’ll get to it if these particular things are in order.”
Then I got Julia’s book. I read the first chapter on the basic tools. The two most important tools being the Morning Pages and the Artist’s Date. They are crucial, according to Julia, if I was to truly let my creativity flow.
That was one of the most powerful chapters I have read in any book in a very long time. Years ago, I had read a book about writing and it had suggested that I write three pages a day double spaced and soon I would have a completed novel within a of couple months. But I went one step further with that and I wrote three pages a day single spaced. I had completed my first adult novel in a month and a half.
It felt great to have accomplished that feat that I had been wanting to do for so long. I spent another month or so editing and revising. I gave it to two friends and an aquantance to read. They gave good feedback. I attempted to get an agent and even knew someone who worked for an agent but I was met with rejection.
That is besides the point. The point is that I had disciplined myself to write everyday in the morning and I finished a novel.
The young adult novel came a few years later, but I wrote that whenever I had a moment to write. I also finished a script for a graphic novel around that same time. For both of those, I had an outline that helped to guide my writing and so wrote whenever I got a moment to type something up.
It also helped that I worked at a job where I had a lot of down time and access to a computer.
So, all this rambling. Sorry.
My point is that over the past few years I didn’t have the discipline to get up in the morning to write. I didn’t have the outlines for a story. I had nothing.
Then I read one chapter in The Artist’s Way and it changed the way I thought about the process of writing.
Two things: writing three morning pages in a note book, front page only, and take two hours out of my week to treat the artist within me to something artsy.
Starting December 27th, I got up at 6:30am and wrote my first three pages. The best part of this is that it is stream of conscious writing. All I have to do is just start writing. No expectations. No direction. Just write. Like going for a run to get back in shape. No direction. Just run to build up the cardio.
So I started running. I’ve written everyday since.
I took myself on my first Artist’s Date to the Philly Art Museum the day after New Year’s.
I’ve started to edit my young adult novel two chapters in the evenings that I don’t have the kids. I don’t have them this weekend so I will be editing more chapters at B&N on Saturday. It will be my artist’s date this week.
I’ve only read the first two chapters of The Artist’s Way. The next chapter is Week 2. I’m not sure when I will get to that chapter. And it doesn’t matter to me right now if or when I get to that next chapter. All I know is that I am being good to my artists right now by doing these two simple things. Those two simple things have made a huge impact on how I think about myself as a writer and have freed him.
There is another book I have read over these past few weeks that has presented me with a new way to think about myself and the world with which I interact. It is Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. I’ll post about that another time.
My next post will be another of my music posts, but this one will be different. It will be a song I composed this evening as a way to let my inter musician out to play a little.
Stay tuned for that.