MY DAILY PAPERS
Last week I wrote a post titled When writing is hard. With hindsight, I should probably have called it When writing is harder than normal. That might have been closer to the truth. Because, let’s be honest here: writing is rarely easy.
As ole Ernest Hemingway so succinctly put it “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Yup, that pretty much sums it up. (Minus the typewriter.)
But there are ways to make writing easier. And one of the most important things I do to this end is to write MY DAILY PAPERS. And, believe me, this has made writing so very much easier for me in oh-so-many ways. (Warning: I can get a little evangelical about my daily papers.)
MY DAILY PAPERS is basically my version of “writing practice” as described in Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and “morning pages” as per The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. All it involves is writing three pages in my notebook first thing every morning. Stream of consciousness stuff – about anything – but with my internal editor switched firmly off. And I am convinced that this is the single most important thing I do each day for the development of my craft. I rarely miss a day.
I get rid of all my negativity on these pages, ponder on problems, vent, worry, extol, experiment, play. Mostly what I write is a lot of tripe. Badly written tripe, at that. But it doesn’t matter – and that’s so liberating. Some days I am “empty” and seem to have nothing to say, but invariably it is on these days that I stumble on a gem of an idea or solve a longstanding problem. In the last few months alone, MY DAILY PAPERS have produced dozens of solid ideas for future books and have solved countless problems in my current work.
But best of all, I truly believe that writing daily without constraint or agenda and with absolute freedom has helped me develop a more confident voice. And when I come to work on my “real” writing later in the day, I am ready and rearing to go. (Except for when I’m not – see last week’s post!)