This exercise from The Right to Write by Julia Cameron (p 170) is about feeling like a real writer, and finding a way to live that “writer’s life” that is authentic for you. This is just a quick one, but it frustrated me more than some of the longer ones, because it asks some hard questions.
You are asked to take a notepad, get out of the house, and take yourself to a sacred place. For some this is a church or synagogue. For others it is a library, a park, a cliff overlooking the ocean. Settle into your sacred space, take the pen in hand, ask for inspiration, and then brainstorm. Fill in the following sentences:
- It would be a support to my writing life if I let myself: Write without distraction, without the feeling that I should be doing other things, other things that are “more important” like doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. If I let myself make writing the priority, not the “hobby”. If I really respected my writing time and treated it as a job, something necessary every work day, and dedicated a space to my writing that wasn’t just haphazard or wherever I happened to plunk down that day. If I gave myself permission to really think of my fiction writing as being just as important, just as worthwhile, and just as necessary as other parts of my life.
- I would feel better about my writing life if I tried: Getting something published, and succeeded at it. I still can’t let go of that barometer being the standard to which “real writers” are held. Which is why I’m so scared to do it, I think. If I believed in myself more. If I worried less about what others would think of my writing. If I could manage to be more dedicated and on a timetable to write more often and regularly. If I could produce more. If I could stop editing and just let go and write freely.
After filling out these brainstorming questions, take five more minutes to acknowledge yourself and go back over five ways in which you have already helped your writing life to prosper. Fill in the following: I have helped myself to have a writing life by:
- Belonging to and participating regularly in my writers group.
- Working steadily on the piece of writing I care the most about.
- Creating and maintaining my blog as another creative outlet.
- Reading books like this on improving my skills and abilities as a writer!
- Determination to keep plugging away, no matter what.