I’m still banging on about the experience of working with Julia Cameron at The Hay House Writers workshop and I know she won’t mind if I share one of her ideas with you.
I’ve already written about how important daily writing is, Julia calls it writing morning pages and its imperative to get the creative juices flowing and writing uncensored, longhand for your eyes only.
But Julie dispelled another myth at the workshop and it was literally a light bulb moment for me. I am so incredibly busy and trying to do an awful lot of things, present, look after kids, run a business and fit in the odd trip to the sea to restore my sense of well-being and charge my batteries, but I often come up against a sense of frustration that I don’t have enough time to write the way I want to. I get very little uninterrupted time, I’m lucky if I can complete a paragraph and then one of the kids needs my help with the homework. My husband who is also a writer gets even more frustrated and can go for months without writing because he just can’t focus and he’s determined he must take a vacation to be able to complete his work.
I meet many clients who I encourage to blog, or write a book to promote their work, and get their message out to a wider audience and while they feel inspired the line I hear most often is…I don’t have time. Often they commit to writing their book but it’s …when the kids have gone to uni…when their current work project finishes…when they next go on a fortnights holiday…
Of course those ‘when’ days often don’t come… even if the day comes around when the kids have left for university, it’s common to find you are still busy and the minutia of life continues just with a different rhythm. There is still not the luxury of being able to take a week, or even maybe a weekend away to focus on writing, so the project remains unfinished, or in many cases not even started.
Julia believes that we do not need much time to write, it’s a myth.
She believes we don’t even need the plan, the important thing is to just write as it occurs. Of course you allow yourself to create rough drafts – and they are just that, rough drafts, for ‘listening’ to your ideas, not for editing, but – and here’s the big light-bulb moment… she suggests we become a ‘time grabber’.
If you have fifteen minutes on the bus and you think of one sentence, write that, if you are waiting for an appointment and a paragraph comes to mind write it down.
Always keep a notebook or a device to write with and remember that ‘Time can be grabbed’
It may be that you are busy, but you can ‘grab a sentence’.
Remember several sentences = a paragraph
Several paragraphs = a chapter
Several chapters = a book
Julia created her ‘morning pages’ tool when she met a guy she wanted to help ‘unblock’ (it worked – he went on to write hugely successful screenplays and movies) and she believes its okay to ‘set the bar low’. Grab your inspiration where it occurs, and if you just don’t feel like it, remember Julia’s other writing myth – mood is a luxury – if you have something to say as a writer, its non negotiable.
I’ve got exactly ten minutes before I need to pick the kids up, I’m going to ‘grab a sentence’.