Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Alternative to Morning Pages: Voice Recordings

In her wonderful book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests that writers write three pages every morning. Just write. Don’t think about grammar or complete thoughts. Write whatever comes into your mind. I found this to be a good “loosening” tool for writing, back when I had time to do it.

Now, I struggle—fight, scheme—to make time in my schedule for my real writing, i.e. my Work in Progress. Morning pages would take time away from the limited amount I have for my story world, where I struggle with my characters’ issues, and my own.

My own issues include grappling with the tools of the writer’s craft which, adequately done, will enable me to render the story I’m trying to tell. Expertly done, they will enable me to create a saleable work of art.

That said, I do understand the need for morning pages. Depending on what gets poured out, they can, potentially, lead to greater self-awareness. Gaining clear self-awareness, and an understanding of our destiny, is the great purpose of our lives.

Let me never be so busy that I neglect to reflect! Because if I do not reflect, I do not grow as a human being. My gifts as a writer are diminished as well. There is less of me to give.

So instead of writing morning pages, I carry a pocket voice recorder with me on my jogs. When I’m not jogging (which is most of the time), it’s in my purse. On my commute, I will often take out the recorder and pour out my thoughts.

I always begin with the date, and then launch in. It’s instructive to listen to the recordings over time to see what issues I was struggling with, and how I resolved them, and how quickly. Speed is important to me. I do not want to be "broken down" for long.

There are always issues. My life is a never-ending rollercoaster of struggles. I expect the same to be true of anyone attempting to accomplish something outside the ordinary routines of daily life.

Often, I am on a long, slow, upward climb toward some end. Then, once I’ve achieved the goal, I enjoy an exhilarating, if brief, ride back down. I take very few moments to rest, and then I start the inevitable climb again toward the next big (for me) achievement.

How do you deal with your issues? Do you find morning pages useful? Do you use a voice recorder? Other ideas?
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