Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thank you, Julia!

Hi all,

I had a very productive day yesterday with the manuscript despite worrying that my author blog was already too personal.  I've blogged since 2007 (on Thoughts.com) and was told on many occasions that my forte was being up close and personal.  I wasn't so sure I should be as personal on my new author blog, so late last night, I decided to take a little tour of other author's blogs before bed.

Many of the blogs I visited are personal in nature and some even add photos of their children, furry children and families.  These authors post a blog a day (which I'm used to doing) and it turns out, they treat their blogs like diaries or journals.  I can do that!  Now, you might not enjoy what I post, but that's another kettle of fish :)

Writing comes easy to me.  Words and ideas in a blog come out in stream of consciousness style and I rarely go back and edit what I've written (unlike my novel and short stories).  In addition to a love of writing, I think this comes from being a devotee from way, way back of Julia Cameron and her seminal book, "The Artist's Way".  

Per Cameron's advice, I dutifully wrote my Morning Pages in beautifully-bound journals in longhand for over ten years.  (I had special fountain pens in all colors for my journals.  There's just something magical about a fountain pen, especially a Mont Blanc fountain pen.)

My father's new wife gave me the book, "The Artist's Way" in 2000 as a Christmas present and I "did" the book alone for a solid year.  The next year, I invited ten women to join me once a month.  One group turned into three and ten years later, the second group is still meeting in Brussels, Belgium.  That makes me very happy!

Cameron taught me to write and push through writer's block, fear, distractions and the excuses.  I kept writing even if I started writing out a list of what I needed at the grocery store, my list of things to do and/or a scathing rant (very healing!).  Just keep writing, she encouraged me, and I trusted her.  Working with "The Artist's Way" was very cathartic and healing for me when I finished.  The experiences truly changed my life and I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true for me.

I love what Cameron says about journaling and truth (and I'm paraphrasing here) - start writing and keep writing anything that comes to mind.  Right smack in the middle of your three pages (or a bit later for me), you will find that your "truth" comes out.  That thing that has bugged you, kept you awake, that fear, the dread or the reason you're blocked, comes out.  As she says, you can't lie to yourself when you journal.  She's absolutely right.

When I returned to the US as a newly separated, single Mom to two college-age kids in 2006, my son introduced me to blogging.  Very soon afterward, journaling turned into blogging and I never looked back.  I blogged anonymously for four years and very soon, I was emailing with fellow bloggers on that site; ones that I had a lot in common with.  On occasion, I still wrote my Morning Pages in long-hand because I'm a Virgo and a stickler to being a purist when I can be :)  But, that soon fell by the wayside as I began to interact with fellow bloggers.  It opened a whole new world for me.

I went on to meet five bloggers who I count as very dear friends today and I keep in touch with all of them to include the women in my "The Artist's Way" groups.  Some of these women still live in Brussels and some returned to the US after I did.  These women have been my sounding boards, my shoulder to lean on and cry with, and we've taken turns being mentors and students for one another.  A creative group is so important for creative people!

Blogging as a writer/author, however, is a totally different beast, I've found. Authors review other author's books, there are contests for free books, blog tours, Holiday give-aways and ways to market your book.  So, I'm learning new things every day.

I highly recommend blogging and as I look back, it can change your life as it did mine.  Blogging kept me sane and writing during the time that I was working full-time and going to school part-time and didn't have the time or emotional energy to pull my manuscript out of the Belgian packing box.  Blogging was my daily exercise, my drug and helped me remain sane through my separation and divorce.  I found a wonderful support group of men and women through blogging around that period of my life.  Yep, I highly recommend it and if you know me, you know I've recommended it to you :)

Good luck to you and happy writing!

Peace and love,
Ellie






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