Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Learning to Write

I ran across a reference to Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. It sounded interesting, so I got a Nook copy. It's a book on breaking through creative blocks. I guess that's as good a way of describing it as any: part 12-step program, part self-psychoanalysis and part the practice of writing. It makes me uneasy, because Cameron talks about God a lot. However, I've been playing with the book, trying some of the exercises.

One exercise is to write three pages every morning, without planning or revising. Just get words on paper. I have found this very hard. Mostly I write, "I have nothing to say." Of course, I don't have a writer's block, and if I am writing, I want to be writing my current story. Though I could write more. I figure the exercise is to get one in the habit of writing. Maybe I need that.

The next exercise I like: make an artist's date with oneself, a block of time to go out alone to do something that feeds the creative impulse. So I went walking along the river last week. I'm thinking of going to museums, attending concerts. None of these require company.

Another exercise is pick five careers you'd like for yourself. I picked paleontolgist, bird watcher, traveler, poet and social thinker. I do three of the five, to one extent or another. I could do the fourth -- traveling. Nothing holds me back. The fifth -- paleontologist -- is a dream. I don't really want to be somewhere in the desert with blazing heat and no bathrooms, digging up fossils. And I don't want to be sitting in a museum somewhere, using a dental pick and a toothbrush to free bones from their matrices. I like reading and thinking about paleontology.

I guess another dream career would be union organizing. But I've tried organizing. I'm terrible at it.

Maybe it would be easier to write.


Post a Comment

<< Home