A Thousand Words A Day

A writing journal _____________________________ PROFESSORBLOG@HOTMAIL.COM

writing: _ Christian Writers _ _ NaNo _

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Reader, writer, podcast listener, and TV watcher. And real nice guy.

Monday, February 10, 2003

I am working my way through the book "Walking In This World" by Julia Cameron. So far I find it an interesting mix of the philospphical / spiritual and teh practical. Some books go way too far one way or the other, so you are either pulling apart a single sentence or paragraph to find the exact write way to express a thought and are givn seven great tips for outlinging or whatever, then there are a huge number of books that focus on the inner writing life, the zen mysticism of creativity and that stuff. I believe that both of those views have shreds of validity, but what I like about this book is the mixture of the two. The whole zen stuff that Natalie Goldberg is into (not an exageration or a swipe or a sly reference to vaguely New Age thoughts . . . she actually refers to it directly as zen buddhism, so I trust her that that is what it is) does not do it for me. I believe in God and His creation and that we can express part of His character by being creative ourselves, but she goes out a little too far on the limb for me. But it is a stretch for meto read those things and so I do. There are few good Christian (as opposed to general religious or more or less universalist) books on writing out there, at least that is my impression. I need to check out a Christian book store for titles, then run them through the public library catalog to see if I can get them . . . assuming any exist. But this book talks about a living Creator who more closely resembles to God that I know that other books do, so I am pretty pleasantly surprised by the spiritual aspects. They do not seem to out of left field. Of course, I am an accountant by trade and training, so most things seem out of left field to me.

Among the disciplines that Cameron proopses are three: Morning pages (every day), Artist's dates (once per week), and Writing walks (also once per week minimum, but additional times are allowed). I will address these either in this blog today or in future ones. In addition, the book has a number of little tests and writing exercises that I will explore today or at some other point.

I suppose that Morning pages are the best place ot start in this regard, as they are similar to other techniques I know about and are the most familiar to my mindset, so I have already figured out what I think and feel about this as a technique. As the name implies, this is the notion of writing the very first thing you do in the day. She refers to it as a "brain drain," as in getting out of your brain the junk you wake up with. She says that they serve to prioritize, clarify, and ground the activities of the coming day. This may be a little too spiritual (in a New Age way) for me, but I understand what she is getting at. Conceptually, I like it, and I will put it on the back burner, but I may revisit it. I like the notion of doing this "first thing" when it is quiet.

Cameron describes the techniques in more detail evidently in other books she wrote previously, so I may need to get those in order to catch the full import of what she is saying and the particular manner in which she recommends that this be done. The purpose is to do a free write, writing about anything to get the juices flowing and get something written. I like it in the sense that it is in the same spirit as this blog and so may work into this format well. Not a big stretch, and probably do able in the family circumstance I am in now. It would take discipline, but it would give me one (two, if you count it as a double-dip for this blog) thing off of the list really early. Cameron recommends heartily and strongly that Morning pages be done by hand, but of course I could then transcribe them into this blog). I like the effect this blog has had on my ability to free write, and I think that a techniques like Cameron describes and proposes and pushes could be effective. Like I said, let me back burner it for a little while before committing. This blog has been tough enough to do (even though I do think I am probably just over 50%, but I am NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT going to go back and count up and check that number. My goals is five a week, and I am not going to be satisfied until I am at that goal. If a Morning Page routine can help me achieve that and not be an additional commitment, then it may work. I am still letting it jump around my brain for the time being. I am not sure that I am interested in finding the inner teacher that Cameron says I will find, but I like it as a technique, and even if I don't do it "her way" I am still doing it, right?

She recommends three pages of stream of consciousness work, but gives no idea as to how long (in word count) that actually is. Based literally on paper size, front and back issues, and writing size, this could actually make a difference. I know I am being picky, but again that is my personality. I like to know what I am getting into on a specific basis and have goals that are spelled out. I am thinking that a thousand words, or close to it, would count. Front and back of a single sheet of memo pad is about six hundred to seven hundred pages, so maybe that is what I can shoot for. But I have not committed, so don't push me!


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