Helen Yendall has made a couple of references recently to ‘Morning Pages’ on her Blog About Writing. (Helen’s doing well as I noticed her blog also had a mention on Charlie Britten’s Write On last week; this time talking about writing for womags.)
This concept, devised by Julia Cameron and developed in her book The Artist’s Way, is a means of unleashing your inner creativity by first releasing the rubbish, so you can move on to the good stuff. (I hope I’ve got that right.)
I started last Tuesday – pad and pen, poised – believing I’d really struggle to fill three sides of A4 without necessitating a lot of effort. Not so!
I’d already made the conscious decision that, as this was supposed to be a stream of consciousness, I wouldn’t worry too much about spelling and grammar and would forget, altogether, about paragraphs. The narrative would stand as a torrent of free-thinking.
The words flowed from my pen; in fact, my pen had trouble keeping up with my thoughts and, even though I’m a fast writer, after only half a page, my hand was aching. I persevered, and have to admit it felt wonderfully cathartic. I repeated this for the next two days – wasn’t quite as free-flowing by day three, but still managed to complete the required writing pages – then came to a halt by days four, five and six because of a school run and weekend commitments. (I also cheated because I read the pages back immediately – forgot – instead of leaving them for the suggested eight weeks.)
Although I have recommenced the exercise this morning, I find it only works if you have the spare time, or are prepared to get up 30-45 minutes earlier if you’re on a deadline, in order to fit it in. And if this process is interrupted with lots of activity between getting up and writing, then it becomes counter-productive; you’d need a book the size of War and Peace to rid yourself of the rubbish that had built up in the interim.
I don’t know whether having the flow interrupted by cessation is frowned upon; I’ve ordered the book to discover the logistics. With any luck, it might detail something else that will increase my creative output. After all, I could use all the help I can get!
That wasn’t intended to sound defeatist. I’m not having a ‘woe is me’ moment, although I was feeling a tad despondent when the postman returned the short story submitted to TAB FF almost 14 weeks earlier. Serves me right for imbuing myself with an air of excited anticipation. In retrospect, as I analysed the story, I could see the flaws and why it had failed to make the grade. If I could master the technique of recognising these and remedy them before I submit it in the first place, I might just make a sale and save myself a whole lot of heartache in the process.
Till next time, Happy Writing!
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