Last week, I spoke to you about two people who inspire me to continue moving forward with my writing. I gave a bit of background on Katy Perry; however, this week I want to touch on a lesson I learned from the venerable Julia Cameron.
Julia is a writer that I really enjoyed learning about in the Writer’s Digest July/August article. Hers is a life of overcoming addiction, mental illness, heartbreak, professional setbacks and a very boisterous inner critic named Nigel. These life issues that have plagued her have not defined her. If anything, they have only proved to strengthen her character and give her insight that has lead to great writing.
So, enough extolling her virtues, here’s the lesson I learned from her (ok, one of them.) Many times a writer will finally settle on what genre or type of writing they are supposed to do and they stay in that place. For fear, or maybe because we just don’t ever look any further, we allow ourselves to be pigeon-holed into a specific “role”. If you make your début with a Thriller novel, you’re more inclined to continue writing in that vein. Many times, we allow our upbringing and stereotypes to dictate what we should do.
Julia started off as a journalist and screenwriter. However, in reading the article, I noticed that in the course of her writing career, she started something which she calls morning pages. She did this because of the lack of response to her screenplays. Just like the rest of us, she endured rejection on top of rejection for many of her works. The morning pages were her way of keeping in the groove of writing. Along the way, the morning pages actually lead her to create a character. Once she created said character, she had an epiphany: She could also write novels.
From there, her career took off in a different, yet fulfilling direction. She began to write novels, non-fiction books as well as creating a book called The Artist’ Way. This book has been instrumental in helping millions of people get past their individual blocks (she helps non-writers also), as well as helping people to realize their own potential.
All because Julia hit a snag and instead of giving up, went down a different street. She was willing to see the possibilities a new avenue could bring. Whether you are in a road block scenario, or just ready for an infusion into your career, ask yourself a question. Are your creative eyes open to the possibilities outside of what you are currently pursuing? Recently, another author friend of mine, Quinn Barrett, suggested that I should start a review blog. My first reaction, of course, was no way. I had enough on my plate with my health, trying to get a series worked out enough to start writing the first draft, learning the writing craft, learning the writing business, two blogs and the occasional editing help to other writing friends.
However, the more I thought about what she’d said, the more I realized that this could be a good thing to look into at least. As a reviewer, I’d have the opportunity to read and learn more with every novel I took on. As I write the review, I’d be able to actually see the technical side of writing and make my own compositions better along the way. And no, I’m not talking about utilizing plagiarism. I am, however, talking about seeing how it’s done correctly and learning that way. Of course, bad writing is a lesson as well.
So I am taking her advice and considering possibly adding Book Reviewer to my résumé. Should I do so, I’m sure that I will reap rewards that I’d never obtain if I just stayed a regular writer. What opportunities have you missed by closing your eyes to possibilities? What rewards do you think await you on the horizon of creativity if you are willing to acknowledge them when they appear? Think about it. You may surprise yourself.