Monday, May 24, 2010

Are You A Morning Person?

Okay, I should rephrase the question.
Are you a Morning Pages person?
If you've read The The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, then you probably know what I'm talking about. If not, let me explain one of the coolest ways I know to tap into all the awesome creativity slumbering in your brain. The simple description is: write three pages of longhand in the morning. Yes, I write mine soon after I wake up. I know, scary. This is stream-of-conciousness writing. Nothing fancy, unless custom drapery patterns or new ways to fold dinner napkins are running through your mind when you wake up. One of the functions of Morning Pages is brain drain. This point frightened me at first, beacase really, how much of the grey stuff can I afford to lose? What else about the pages? (Yes, I'm now quoting phrases from page 10-11.) The great news is there is no wrong way to do morning pages. See, this is my kind of writing exercise. No wrong way - so freeing. Also another function of the pages. Write whatever comes to your mind. It doesn't have to be pretty or make any sense. Sometimes they will, mostly they won't. The pages are a way to get all the stuff that stands between you and you're creativity - out of the way. Worries, fears, rants, petty stuff, deep questions - get it all out on the page and make room for the patient creative works waiting for your attention. Another benefit? Doing the pages help you get past your Censor. I'm not going into a long explanation of your right brain/left brain here, but if you have ever tried to write anything - then you know what I'm talking about. The little voice in your head that might say, "Are you serious? Calling him Darrin? Where are you - on an episode of Bewitched?" (Yeah - way too much airtime for my censor -sorry!) So the morning pages trains your Creator to take center stage and your Censor to sit down and be quiet. And the obvious benefit of putting your Censor on the bench? Yep - you guessed it - the major block to your writing is out of the way!

This would be the point in my post where I would show you examples of some the free-writes I've done in my morning pages. But I'm not. If my psyche thought there was any chance I was going to put morning pages on display - I'd lose all that creative freeedom. Antoher rule of the pages - don't show them to anyone! It's tempting, especially when you've done it for a while and you want to show someone that you've been writing something. But don't do it. So forgive me, you'll have to create your own example. Go ahead. Give it a try. Stick with it for at least two weeks and I'd love to know if you notice any changes in your writing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I've been waiting ever since the conference to post this awesome power point about writing legends and what it takes to become one. Love it.

More conference highlights here.
Some pics here. (mostly random people, but if you scroll to the end of the chap 8 series, yep, that's me with the third place envelope, trying to replace my "Are you serious" shock with a "I'm so happy I could cry" smile.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Meet My First Novel Pancake

I decided writing my first novel
is very much like cooking my first pancake.
Imagine loving gourmet pancakes your entire life
(or as early as you could eat them.) Imagine appreciating the satisfying flavor, the perfect fluffiness and undisturbed golden brown edges.
Picture a perfectly cooked pancake, not underdone, no liquid center. Not overcooked, no frisbee prototype.
Now imagine that you decide you want to cook your own gourmet pancake. You use the best recipe and have a great griddle at your hand. You pour, wait for the bubbles and flip. And it looks like. . . a first pancake. A little flat, misshapen and very new. You move it to the plate, stifle your sigh and hope whoever gets that pancake will be able to look past it's superficial flaws and appreciate it's fresh, warm taste.

That's how I'm feeling today.
And no, my novel is not about pancakes.
It's a Christmas Story.
About trees.
I like the story so much that I've stuck with it for a year. 
I'm beginning the second draft and I'm wondering-
Can I count the rough draft as my first pancake?

(Note about my post: I should probably eat breakfast before I conjure up writing analogies!)


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