Last month when I started my conversation series on my blog, I thought I would have a real conversation with some of my readers, a few of them at least. I thought as a writer, I would be engaged in conversations with writers about other writers and their writing. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.
I feel that all I’ve done is jot my feelings and thoughts on my page. Which is quite well, of course, although a bit disappointing. After all my blog articles are nothing more than ramblings, random thoughts shared on the internet.
So I think what I would like to do now is stop and end my conversations with one last blog in the hope of continuing them sometime in the future.
Lately I’ve been rereading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and doing the morning pages, although with much reluctance. Every morning when I hold my notebook in my hand to write something tells me to stop. I hear a little voice telling me that I have to focus on my writing instead.
I have mixed feelings about these pages, especially early in the morning. That’s the time when I like to just read for an hour while having my coffee. I like to sort of block the world and everything else around me and recharge. And when I can’t do that I don’t feel at peace with myself no matter what I do during the day.
Long before I had heard about Julia and knew about the morning pages, I used to write an article almost every day and post it on my blog. And that kept me happy. But now I find it hard to write after writing three pages early in the morning. After about thirty to forty five minutes of pouring my heart out on the page, writing three pages in a 27.6cm by 21.2cm notebook, all I want to do is just read a book. But I do them anyway. I show up at the page every morning and write.
To be honest I skip the tasks in the book too. I find them hard to do. Not that they are difficult, no. But for me to just sit and write down the answers to a bunch of questions as well as follow some instructions is not something I have the patience nor the stamina for anymore.
For example one of the tasks Julia asks her readers to do is:
“Describe your childhood room. If you wish, you may sketch this room. What was your favorite thing about it?”
And three years later Sarah Ban Breathnach writes:
“See yourself at ten: Walk through the rooms in your childhood home. What did your bedroom look like?”
Then for another task Julia writes:
“Write and mail an encouraging letter to your inner artist. This sounds silly and feels very, very, very good to receive. Remember that your artist is a child and loves praise and encouragement and festive plans.”
While Sarah writes:
“Write a long, wonderful love letter to yourself from your authentic self. Let your authentic self encourage you as you would a young child. Mail the letter and save it for when you’re feeling discouraged.”
Maybe I am getting too old for this kind of assignments. Because for me the most encouraging and truly inspiring thing to do is read or listen to interviews with the writers I like.
Reading about other writers, listening to their interviews, hearing about the difficulties they faced both on the page (being blocked) and in the publishing world, and how they overcame them, truly moves me. Their success stories teach me how to beat the odds and gives me some kind of hope that maybe, just maybe I can also do it one day.
Jalai Ud-Din Rumi writes:
“Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about. … Say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.”
Julia used this quote in the beginning of her book The Artist’s Way. Is it surprising that of all the quotes on artists and creativity out there, Sarah used the exact same quote in her book?
In his advice to beginning writers a well known author once said: “Borrow widely, steal wisely.”
Happy reading and writing everyone!