Julia Cameron in The Right to Write, tells us emphatically that we will write better if we don’t made a big deal out of it. When we first take up writing seriously, we decide we’ll write perfectly. Ms. Cameron says that’s a mistake. We must be willing to write badly at least in our first drafts and then go on from there. She says wanting to write perfectly has kept many people from writing at all. After working with her books and protocols for over twenty years, I have not found one thing she says that doesn’t work.
For Julia, writing is a normal part of life. You cook breakfast, clean house, feed the kids, and the pets, go to work, meet with friends, read a book. But sometimes I get to working so hard on my writing that I can hardly think about anything else.
Recently I’ve been doing just that with a draft of my novel, Go West, and I’ve left a lot of things undone, both in the house and in the other creative parts of my life. For one thing, I’ve been allowing my painting to stagnate to the point that I was beginning to think I’d never get back into it. I had come to a place where I didn’t even know what kind of art I wanted to do anymore. My art studio was a cluttered mess and even though I had supplies available in a couple of other parts of the house it had all clogged up.
Now, I don’t know how many drafts of, Go West, are waiting in the wings, two or three, I would think, maybe more. But I decided that since my publicist and public relations rep are on vacation at Hilton Head, I’ll treat myself to a vacation too.
Yesterday, Bill was so kind as to take me to Sam Flax Art Supplies in Orlando before we went to lunch with our son. Before going I looked over my supplies. What a clutter! I went through a catalog to think about what I might like to buy, and gave some thought to what I might do as a project.
I only needed half an hour of wandering through Sam Flax to get inspired. The first thing I did was to look at all the art books: no, I don’t want to do wood burning, no, I don’t want to paint portraits, no I don’t want to learn to do Anime, oil paint, watercolor, acrylics. What do I really want? Eureka. There it is! And it’s exactly what I’ve been dabbling in for at least six years — art journaling or visual journaling. I found just the book I needed, and came home and ordered not only that one, but two more at a reduced price from the same authors. I’m so excited. This morning I got up at 5:00 a.m. to work on art before I went for my walk. When I got home I worked for three hours on de-cluttering my art studio, and delicious hours they were. The cat thought so too. She almost wore herself out trying to keep up with me.