A free writing exercise

Conjurer's Coffee Break - Episode 022


- Hello, welcome back to another episode.

- This week it's an extra short episode, an espresso, as I like to call them, and that's because I have just a quick tip for you.

- Morning pages. You might have heard about this exercise from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, where you write each morning as a way to clear you head and get everything out on paper so that you're ready to be creative for the rest of the day.

- I've been trying that recently, or rather a version of it. I believe that as it was originally described, it's three pages written long hand, as soon as you get up. I don't do it like that, I do 25 minutes at my computer, usually as the first task of the day but not always.

- Anyway, the benefit I'm finding is that I'm just writing, I'm free associating, and I'm getting things out from my subconscious onto paper (well virtual paper) so that once I've written out all of my concerns and dilemmas, my natural background processing can go to work on finding solutions.

- Often I won't find an answer until later that day or the next day, when I'm walking, or in the shower, or having a conversation with someone about something seemingly unrelated.

- The point is though, I feel that the free writing exercise that I'm doing is bringing everything to the forefront and helping me to then notice the connections.

- I guess this is tied to last weeks episode of getting out of your own way. I'm giving myself the best shot of solving any creative obstacles by not ignoring them, but also by not obsessing over them. I'm trusting the process that they will be solved at some point.

- Want to give it a go? Here's what you do, set a timer for some time. I do 25 minutes as that's one pomodoro, but you might like to start with 10 minutes. Then write, or type, anything and everything. Sometimes I'm writing about magic, comedy, business, other things going on in my life, it doesn't really matter. Sometimes I'm imagining I'm writing to someone. Other times I'm just writing, "I have nothing to write." But I still keep going, keeping the fingers moving until the time is up. It's an exercise in keeping things flowing. And don't forget to do it, everyday!

- I've found it useful, but I wonder if you will too. Let me know in the comments for this episode which you can find at edsumner.com/magicians along with every other episode. Don't forget to subscribe and share, and join me again next week for a full length episode.

- Until then, thanks for checking this one out.

Additional Show Notes

- As mentioned, I don't do morning pages as per the "official" instructions given here: https://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

- and there has been some criticism about them also: https://www.fromjenn.com/blog/why-i-dont-write-morning-pages-and-what-i-do-instead

- But what I do find useful is spending some time, (20 - 25 minutes) writing about the things that are on my mind and what I'm feeling, and just keeping the flow going and writing and writing and seeing what comes out from that, and you know sometimes it's a bit rambly like this but that's ok because if I just concentrate on keeping going then eventually I start to throw out ideas and see what works.

- Another idea could be to go for a long walk and talk to yourself (yes, you will look mad!), or how about keeping a journal of things you notice around you, and anything you notice about your feelings, or the struggles with creativity. You could even draw them if you wish. Essentially the idea is to keep the flow going. Creativity doesn't just appear from a blank page / blinking cursor. Instead you have to start filling that page, and then sifting through it to find the answers.

Related podcasts

- Episode 021 - Getting out of your own way

- Episode - Writing your own material [link to come]

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