Walking in This World

I first did The Artist’s Way back in 1998 and again in 2000. I bought Walking in This World in 2003. I never did anything with it until this weekend when I dug it out and got all fired up again about revitalizing my writing practice and my creativity. It’s built upon The Artist’s Way using morning pages and artist’s dates. It introduces an additional tool to one’s armoury, the weekly walk.

I’m now doing week 1 of the 12 week programme.

I’m also a bit overweight, a lot in fact, a side effect of giving up smoking 15 years ago so I’m also looking at Julia Cameron’s The Writing Diet which looks compatible with Walking in the World.

It’s a case of I have to change aspects of my life and I want to write and share the joy of writing with others. Is writing for therapeutic effect incompatible with writing for communication? A resounding NO.

I believe that authentic story telling is driven by deeply held view’s and feelings that the writer or storyteller needs to get out of themselves and wants to share with others and in doing so, the shared experience resonates between them. That’s when you know good writing.

It’s beyond spelling and grammar. The use of language should be transparent; it should not get in the way of the meaning through poor grammar or spelling that irk some people, or use of dialect that becomes a chore to read, or using vocabulary that’s out of place, or showy language just to prove you’ve a great command of the language.

Let it be what it needs to be, to get the thought into the mind of another soul, to be understood, to be felt, to be identified with.

More on Developing a Writing Practice.

Guildenstern Words. Words. They’re all we have to go on.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.

And how true that is for me. I do enjoy various sensory experiences, watching a video or observing a painting or having a dance, but I think in words and enjoy speaking and listening and reading and writing more than my other sensory channels.
It’s through words that a lot of my understanding has developed and my day job is totally dependant on the use of literate communications.
But, it’s not me that I communicate but the ideas and views of others and that has left me jaded and wanting to do more to explore my own views on life.
Firstly about ten years ago I came on Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.
It is a useful book for any kind of artist but I think it’s a great motivator for the aspiring writer. The great tool it gives you is the idea of morning pages. Yes it’s been put forward by many other writers before Ms. Cameron, but I discovered her first.
Morning pages are three pages you hand write as soon as you get up in the morning and before you do anything else like listen to the radio or watch TV or make your breakfast or even just a cup of tea. You trying to use the quiet time when you first get up to bridge between the conscious world and the subconscious world and to let those thoughts come out on the page. What troubles you no matter how petty or how often the same thought comes up you just put down the words one after another. That’s writing; putting one word down after another on the page.
You don’t write these pages to be read. You can read them but distance is needed, weeks, months, or years. They may produce usable snips, but that’s not why you do them. You write every day and you can call yourself a writer.
Don’t worry about the size of these pages. I find that it takes me thirty minutes to fill three pages regardless of the page size. Just write without stopping, judging, or analysing the writing. It’s the process that’s important in this exercise, not the product.
I’ve been doing, on and off, morning pages for almost ten years, producing millions of words. When I let my morning pages lapse I find writing harder at other time. The catharsis that comes from doing morning pages helps me be a more productive writer.
It might work for you

How to develop a writing practice.

it passée to write about writer’s notebooks but since I’ve started to think in visual terms i understand the need for doing sketches to practice specific drawing techniques.
Trying different cross-hatch patterns to assess their usefulness for different types of shading. Drawing eye after eye to make sure that you get the shapes correct.
Probably learning to see without imposing any meaning or symbolism onto the image getting down to those quintessential drawing skills that only hit home when you know them experientially. Betty Edwards’s drawing books are a great guide to experiencing these fundamentals (more of this in another post sometime if anyone else cares). She brings the art of drawing what you see down to five skills. Five skills or rules to practice and master and you can quickly achieve a high level of competence in drawing in a few months. Taught in the traditional way in art classes , in spite of years of tuition most of use can barely move beyond that childish symbolism of our formative years.
Now I accept that I’m talking about the technical skills of drawing but we need to achieve the technical skills of writing which include grammar, spelling, figures of speech, dialogue.
It’s getting your tool box equipped and developing competence at using the tools.
Then the real task for artist and writer is to use those skills to develop works that intrigue, inspire, inform, amuse, titillate, bemuse, entertain, move to action, invoke emotions and on and on.
It’s the old chestnut of doing unimportant stuff well or doing important stuff not so well or best is to do the important stuff well. And what is important is defined by you and your reader. What have you to write and will anyone want to read it? More to come.

Script Frenzy 2008 Now Finished.

I’ve participated and have by the end of April 2008 completed 44 pages of script. Not a winning performance but 44 more pages than I would have had had Script Frenzy not taken place.
I intend to complete a 100 to 120 page script and at the current rate of production I should achieve it in 6 to 8 weeks. Then I’ll know I’m a winner.
If you have an interest in writing anything Script Frenzy(http://scriptfrenzy.org/) and NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) are great motivators to get those shitty first drafts done.