Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Just Write Anything

Julia Cameron in her writing guide, The Artist's Way, spends a lot of time examining how and why we avoid engagement in creating art or music, writing, fulfilling a creative dream. I'm not interested in getting into that here. She does have a series of helpful exercises for forcing the (wannabe) artist to actually roll up the shirtsleeves and get something accomplished. One of the cornerstone exercises she advocates is the Morning Pages. Every morning you wake up, roll out of bed (or keep the notebook next to your bed for handy access) and begin filling up three lined notebook pages. That's three sides. It can be, and usually is, complete drivel. If you're really stuck, you can write This sucks and I don't know what to write, etc. I haven't sunken to that level yet, but often I'm describing the disheveled state of my room, the inane list of errands I have to run today or some maudlin adolescent-girl type of diary entry. And my handwriting is illegible.

None of that's supposed to matter. The point is, you're actually filling up a page, and that's significant enough. On some subconscious level, you're showing yourself that you're not going to be intimidated by a blank piece of paper.

Now, you're supposed to do this every day. Every. Day. Then again, we're supposed to be banging out our bona fide literary efforts on a daily basis. This one you can accomplish even Before Coffee, and it's allowed, even encouraged, to be a random stream of verbal garbage. And there's something to be said for filling up a notebook. It's a start.


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