So often, it’s distraction, demands of daily life that take me away from my creative life. But there’s another element. It requires a certain devotion, a willingness to put my creative work at the top of my queue, in order to have the backbone to stand against the forces of obligation and distraction that can, no WILL take me away from my work.
Sometimes it’s dramatic: “oh! I must rush to the emergency room!” (Take a notebook, whispers the Muse.) But more often it’s the way water wears away the stone. The phone rings, the dogs need a walk, you go grocery shopping and it takes longer, your job keeps your mind occupied, your kids need something, there’s something on tv, your neighbor asks you “did you hear about the appalling [whatever] that [whoever] did!?”, you decide its finally time to clean out the closet… shall I go on? Before you know it, it’s time to get to sleep.
The challenge then becomes protecting time and inspiration, hoping they will arrive together. Often, of course, they don’t! But if you’ve created the time, there are tricks, techniques, exercises that become habits which can carry you across those inspirational deserts. Protecting time for writing is a way of creating time. How can you declare the time more important than anything else?
One really effective method I’ve used Morning Pages, comes from The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. I write my Morning Pages before anything else but coffee. It’s important for me not to ingest any words from outside sources, so I don’t read the papaer or watch the news or talk to anyone until I’ve done them. Cameron defines the practise (underscore mine):
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.
I use the computer to write mine – I just flow better that way. Choose your more comfortable medium. Morning Pages are a highly effective way to get in touch with your ‘voice.’
Tomorrow I’ll give you more ideas for defeating blocks and exercises to inspire you! In the meantime, what can you do to devote daily time to writing?
Let me know!!