Inspired to dip in to The Right to Write by Julia Cameron, I found a description of a tool I’ve often used that you might find helpful and enjoyable to work with as well. Julia refers to it as “guided writing” and suggests that “You may want to think of this as calling on the Muse.” The process is very simple and the goal is to tap into “deeper realms” for guidance on issues you may need help with. Here’s Julia’s advice for taking advantage of this technique:
• Think of it as a child’s game and open yourself up adventurously to whatever surfaces.
• Use a question-and-answer format and initially give yourself a half an hour of time for the exercise.
• Use pen and paper rather than a computer or typewriter.
• Ask a question that you need advice on. It can be something personal or something related to your writing.
There are no wrong or foolish questions. Over time, says Julia, if you stick with this technique, you’ll learn to phrase your questions in ways that are most effective for you. Example: What’s the best way to start my first chapter?
• Next, simply listen inwardly for advice and write down exactly what comes to you without editing or censoring.
• You can keep drilling down by asking more and more specific questions and then recording the answers.
If you keep going for 30 minutes or so, the place where you arrive by the end of your session may surprise you. As Julia observes, the guidance you receive may feel “stubborn, hard-headed, and practical. You may find yourself the possessor of some…’tough love’ wisdom that you can use in your own behalf….Answers very often seem simpler and wiser than our normal thinking.” Why not try this and see how it works for you — especially on thorny writing problems you may be struggling with. Would love to hear if it proves helpful to you!