I promised an update on how my journey with “The Artist’s Way” has been going. I’m only in week 7 right now because while I was away on vacation, I just stayed in week 6 instead of bringing my book along. I did continue with my journaling however.
The journal writing is what I think I’m now enjoying the most. For several years now I’ve tried to keep a journal, and I always let it slide. I never felt like I had anything important enough to write about. I saw it as a way for later generations to know something about me. In retrospect, I think that idea is what crippled my ability to actually write anything. If it didn’t feel big enough to tell all of my future descendants, it didn’t feel worth writing in my journal. So I just didn’t write anything at all.
With the assignment from the book to just fill up 3 pages every day no matter what I wrote about, that pressure to be important was lifted. Now I babble in my journal. Navel-gazing gibberish or dull details about what errands I ran that day. 3 pages of it. Every day. Heaven help anyone who tries to read it, they’ll be put to sleep in seconds.
But for me, it’s been a sort of therapy. I guess that’s the idea. Somehow it’s easier to let things go once they’re written down. I remember my favorite class that I took in college also required daily free writing. I think we only had to do one or two pages though, or maybe it was just 15 minutes of writing. . . anyway, as I’m rediscovering the fun of stupid writings I think that assignment might be part of what I liked so much about that class.
So what have I really gained so far? Well, I’m starting to think that I’m having so much trouble finishing a story for the same reason I was having trouble keeping a journal. I worry WAY too early in the process about what others might think about it. About where I might try to submit it. Then anything I’m working on instantly doesn’t seem good enough and I stop. No one needs (or would want) to read my rambling journal, and no one needs to read my first drafts. After editing and rewrites, I can decided if I ever want anyone to see a story. Until then, they don’t. I can just have fun.
This is what I think I need to learn.