I’ve recently been given advice about writer’s block. I don’t consider myself a real writer (yet) but there are times when I find myself at a loss. Normally I subscribe to the policy of writing until your brain loosens up and something good pours out. It’s one of the things that makes me love Julia Cameron’s morning pages.
Have you heard about morning pages? I return to my morning pages when life gets confusing or crushing or repetitively crazy. Get a legal pad and a pen. Set your alarm for roughly 20 minutes earlier than you need to get up. Or, if you don’t have anywhere to be, just get up. Don’t talk. Don’t throw in a load of laundry. Don’t check your email. Sit down before you are fully awake and put that pen to paper. And, yes, it has to be pen to paper and not fingers on keys. Write. Write about anything and nothing at all for three pages. Don’t stop. Don’t correct. Don’t go back and read it. After three pages, close the legal pad or put it away. And then go on with your day. After a period of time (6 weeks I think?), go back and read it with a highlighter. What are the common themes? Common worries? What do you wish? Who do you love?
Looking at it from a writer’s stance, I think of it as clearing the garbage disposal. Or something equally cleansing. The exercise is meant to clear your head and bring those ideas hidden by clutter to light.
The advice I was given was this: write about why you can’t write and write about what is in your way. Once you have identified the problem then you can go about fixing it or facing it or whatever.
But what happens when, because of the public nature of blogging, the writer cannot say what needs to be said?
It is the eternal problem with blogging. When you do it as a personal release and as a journal or a record of sorts, you expect just a little bit of privacy. I do understand that the interwebz are not and never have been private. I don’t pretend that they are. And if you have the time to look through nearly 600 posts spanning three full years and a couple of months then more power to you. You’ll probably find that I have written about you. (And you were there and you were there and you were there…)
What I wouldn’t give right now for a legal pad and a pen. I have some concerns I would rather not air. Some hopes I don’t dare speak aloud. A mushroom print or two to smack.
I realize that most of my readership runs the gamut from online acquaintance to close family. There are very, very few (if any) actual strangers who stick around for the late show. What I can say is this: don’t think that you know what’s going on in my life or the littles’ lives because you read it here or, God forbid, Facebook. Not that we run very deep at all but the thousand words or so a few times a week doesn’t do us justice.
When I first started this mess, I wrote about everything with wild abandon. (I miss those days) I used to have a disclaimer note that I wrote for me and not for you. But things have changed. I can feel that this has evolved and I would be a fool to stop it. I write for the both of us and you know it.
All the good bloggers will tell you to censor yourself. A post is a post and never goes away even when you take it away. You own your words so make sure you meant them in the first place. And if you have a question in your head that goes something like “Should I post this?” Don’t.
I can’t argue with the masters of the craft.
So I won’t. I won’t write what I want. And maybe just saying so will unlock everything else floating around up there.