Thursday, April 2, 2009
During the month of April, I'm working on a new habit.
Every morning I'm starting off by free writing for twenty minutes. If you've read Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" you've heard her call these the morning pages. She recommends writing three pages by hand before you do anything else. This exercise is useful for clearing out the junk in your head and heart. There is no rhyme or reason, just dump words on the page without worrying about spelling, grammar, or coherence. If you can't think of anything to write, that's where you start....write I can't think of anything to write over and over. Pretty soon your brain gets bored and kicks in something more interesting.
Another author I'm reading calls this writing her Artist's Daybook. For her, the process is about cleaning out random weirdness from her brain, but also asking God to help her use her talents and gifts in the best way possible. She calls the process a 'purge and merge.' Purging herself of the garbage and merging with the Creator before she begins to create. The more she purges, the more she can merge and finds her daybook filled with ideas.
Whichever term is used, the essential process is the same. Clean out your worries, fears, random ideas, and odd thoughts before the creative process begins.
In long ago days, I sketched ideas before photographing a family's portrait or a wedding. Sketching helped me sort out my ideas, as did writing out descriptions of what I wanted to accomplish. Those sessions were always more productive than the ones where I went in cold. Artistically, I was satisfied on a deeper level.
All this month, I'm committing to writing every morning in my artist's daybook. Yes, for me, it will be a typed file on my computer. Each day's entry is labeled with the date. I may never go back and read them. Certainly, NO ONE else will. (That's important. Write as though no one else will ever read your words...then make sure to keep your journal where your privacy will be respected.)
Because I've done short bursts of this in the past, I know ideas for short stories, novels, non-fiction, events, businesses, and other things will come out of the mulch pile the morning pages create. I need that rich level of creativity in my life. In April, I'm writing every morning in hopes creativity will bloom. Just like April showers bring May flowers....
Have you ever done this? How has journaling in any way helped your creative process?