Last month I signed up for a Continuing Education class on the topic of Creativity. I was really looking forward to the class, but Monday I received a call that “Due to lack of enrollment” the class had been canceled.
Now, in the past I’ve taught a class titled “Tapping into Your Creativity” and conducted a session at a RWA National Conference on the topic, but I’m always interested in learning more about the subject. I’ve always admired people who come up with new, innovative
ideas, and I’m always looking for ways to make my writing a little different from what’s generally available.
If you’re like me, looking for ways to jump start your creativity, I would suggest reading Julia Cameron’s book The Artists’ Way. I’ve never followed all of the steps she recommends, but I really like Morning Pages.
Morning Pages are to be written (as suggested) in the morning before you start working. The idea is to write three pages of
whatever comes into your mind. No worrying about spelling, grammar, or content. No editing. She recommends you write three pages, put them away, and don’t look at them again. This is not journaling. You’re not putting down your impressions of a scene or event or ideas for a story. You’re simply letting the words tumble out.
For those three pages (or however long you write) you’re shutting off your internal editor and that in itself can be very liberating.
I don’t always do “morning pages.” In fact, I haven’t done them in a long time. What I discovered when I was doing them was the experience stimulated my mind in a way that when I did start working on my book the sentences I put down were richer. I was coming up with better verbs and descriptive nouns. My story had more texture. I wasn’t padding
my writing, I was enriching it.
Many writers suggest writing the first draft (rough draft or “shitty” first draft) as fast as you can without worrying about spelling or grammar. Don’t worry if the story goes in a different direction than you’d planned or what you just wrote is “crazy.” “The faster you write,” they say, “the more creative you’ll be.”
Well, I’m sure they’re right, but I just can’t write that way. I get started and that internal editor pipes up with “That won’t work” or “Wait, you misspelled that word.” Knowing what I should do and doing it are two different creatures.
So I guess, since I’m not going to have a class to stimulate my creativity, I’m going to have to go back to writing “morning pages”. Anyone else out there doing them? How’s it working for you?
I’ll report on my progress next week.