Writing about writing

Posts tagged ‘The Artist’s Way’

I’ve already had to get online….

Well, it’s obviously not going to be a complete week of Reading Deprivation and/or digital [Fasting].  Haha!  Oh well.  It’s to be expected.  I AM an English Instructor at a community college, after all.  Regardless of what I may want to do or not, I do still have to check my campus emails, grade assignments, create assignments, help students with assignments, and the list goes on.

I can, though, avoid reading for pleasure as well as my own personal emails and, the big one, Facebook.

This is already a very interesting experiment, Julia Cameron.

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A week’s worth of Reading Deprivation

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I am currently reading Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY.  I have read other books by Julia Cameron and I really like the things she has to say.  She’s been there, done that as far as writing is concerned and I have come to trust her.  I find it difficult to do EVERYTHING she suggests in her books, but I do find that the things I have done that she recommends are very beneficial for my art–Writing.

I love to write–as I have shared in this blog already.  It is as much a part of me as breathing.  (As is reading, so you may be able to imagine how difficult this week already is and I’m only on the 2nd day of Reading Deprivation!)  I HAVE to write.  I love writing for myself (journaling).  I love writing my blogs–this one and my “Joy Regardless” blog (link to that one is available at the top of the screen) whether anyone reads them or not.  The fact that people are reading them excites me, but humbles me as well.  (Thank you.)  I love doing the writing I do for my job as an English instructor (assignments, emails, proposals, etc., etc., etc.).  I simply love to write.

The problem, though, is that while I have a dream of being a PUBLISHED writer, I find myself stuck in that regard.  I have written several books–mostly during NaNoWriMo (November), but I have never done anything with them.  I know that my serial-killing-teacher story is one that is worth revising and attempting to publish and I know that my Memoir is also one that NEEDS to be revised and shopped for a publisher.  But instead of doing anything about getting them published, they are languishing on my laptop, getting “dusty” from lack of use.

So in an attempt to jump-start my publishing career, I have turned to Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY to help me get motivated.  She is a great motivator.  But I am finding her “suggestion” of Reading Deprivation to be one that makes me want to punch out the lights of anyone who comes near me!  I started it last night and I yelled at my husband and son because I couldn’t find something my husband misplaced–even though I was sure I knew where he had put it!

But I want to give it a shot.  Julia Cameron talks about in week 4, how

“If you feel stuck in your life or in your art, few jump starts are more effective than a week of reading deprivation. . . .Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence, a space some of us begin to immediately fill [sic–split infinitive] with new words–long, gossipy conversations, television bingeing, the radio as a constant, chatty companion.  We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static.  In practicing reading deprivation, we need to cast a watchful eye on these other pollutants.  They poison the well.

If we monitor the inflow and keep it to a minimum, we will be rewarded for our reading deprivation with embarrassing speed.  Our reward will be a new outflow” (87).

In doing this Reading “Fast” or Reading deprivation, for 7 days, I will also have to give up a lot of my computer time because so much of the reading that I do is online–Facebook, emails, blogs, etc.  As an English Instructor, a week’s worth of Reading Deprivation is impossible completely because I will still need to check my school emails periodically throughout the week for important work emails–from my boss, other co-workers, and especially important emails from students.  I have created an automatic out-going message, though, for all my email accounts that state that I am doing this week of Reading Deprivation and have asked that if they need me either to come see me or call me instead of email me.

I have also sent out an announcement/email to all of my students letting them know that I am doing a week of Reading Deprivation, but that does not mean I am unavailable to them.  Again, I told them that if they need me, either come see me or call me.

Reading deprivation also means NO READING WHILE I AM IN THE BATHROOM.  I can’t even begin to explain to you how very difficult this one is going to be!  Even when I only need to be quick, I will read at least a paragraph when I go to the bathroom!  I have been reading on the toilet since I was old enough to hold a book–and knew how to read!  If I cheat on my reading “fast” this week, it will be during a bathroom visit, I’m sure!

Julia, I sure hope your suggestions in THE ARTIST’S WAY, including and especially this whole week of Reading Deprivation work and that I will begin to see and feel results in my creative life!!!!!  I know that I am meant to do more with my writing than just write for myself, so here goes nothing at finding a way to dream and dream big!!!!  🙂

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Speaking of loving to Write…..

I keep a journal that I attempt to write in every day.  I don’t make it every single day, but this is the first year where I have written in my journal almost every day compared to previous years.  Look!!!

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Several years ago, I first picked up Julia Cameron’s book, The Writing Diet.  I ate that book up!  (See what I did there?!)  Anyway, in that book, Julia speaks of her daily writing activity she calls “Morning Pages.”  She discusses Morning Pages in greater detail in her other book, The Artist’s Way, but I first read about them in The writing Diet.  Morning Pages are nothing more than writing three full pages every single morning–freewriting.  I loved the idea, so I gave Morning Pages a shot.  More often than not, I ended up doing my “Morning” Pages in the evening rather than the morning.

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I felt guilty that I couldn’t get my writing done in the mornings.  I wanted so much to do Morning Pages just as Julia Cameron suggested.  I loved every single part of the whole idea and I wanted to be successful with it.  But I could not get up early enough to do my Morning Pages in the mornings.

Then I read Mari McCarthy’s Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul wherein one of the writers shared that she, too, struggled with writing in the mornings, so she simply starting doing “Night Notes” instead.

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Huh.  So I didn’t HAVE to do my writing in the mornings!!!  And I didn’t have to feel guilty for it!  So now I write in the evenings.  I prefer to type.  I did a few practice entries by hand so I could give myself an estimate of the total number of words I wrote in three pages (Julia’s guidelines for Morning Pages).  I found that I could write approximately 750 words in three pages, so I try to write 750 words every day in my online journal.  I don’t beat myself up if I don’t make it to 750 words, mainly because there are some days when I simply do not have a lot to say, but there are other days when I write way beyond 750 words!  I wish my chain would show the days I have written more than once because I have several days when I wrote two or three entries and each entry was more than 750 words.

Currently, I have written approximately 170,000 words just in my online journal this year!!!!!  I will easily hit 200,000 words before the year is out!  Penzu (the online journal I use) sent me a message a few months ago when I first hit 100,000 words so I can have a free year of Penzu Pro next year!  So cool!  (Penzu basic is free, but if you go Pro, of course, there are many options, one of which is the ability to create several journals rather than just have one.  I have divided my by year as well as by other categories as I choose!)

If I am able to win NaNoWriMo, I will easily have at least 250,000 words for the year!  That’s a LOT of writing!!!!!  And I LOVE every last bit of it!!!!  None of the numbers I’ve shared includes any of the writing I do daily for work; I teach English at a community college!  And now I also have this blog as well as two other main ones that I keep!  (See the link at the top of the page, “Joy Regardless.”)

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