Thoughts on Daily Pages

So, first of all, I haven’t read The Artist’s Way. I do have another book by Julia Cameron called The Right to Write which I occasionally skim when I’m feeling blocked, so I am familiar with the idea of Daily Pages. It’s a simple enough routine–first thing in the morning, you write three longhand pages saying whatever is on your groggy mind. I have been meaning to give that a try for a long time now, but I was just too lazy to commit to it.

Well, I have finally decided to stop listening to my own excuses and just give it a try. I mean, it’s not like I have anything to lose. It gives me a great excuse to indulge in pens and paper, which is cool. I’ve got this nice new notebook from a Spanish company, Miquelrius (it’s decently priced and has these sweet rainbow-colored margins) and all these comfy, lovely gel pens. What’s not to like? So, for the last three days or so, I have been doing my Daily Pages in the morning. BTW, I am finding myself much more attracted to gel pens and spiral bound notebooks than I am to my beautiful fountain pen and Moleskines.  I guess I just feel more comfortable jotting stuff, crossing out, and generally being rough and messy with writing tools that aren’t so exquisite. Go figure.

So far, so good. It’s been really useful, actually, in terms of getting myself sort of unblocked for the day. For example, this morning, I really didn’t feel like writing at all, not because I felt drained or anything, but because I didn’t really know what I was going to write about. During my Daily Pages, I ended up outlining the next few scenes, giving myself at least two more days worth of material. Bye bye, writer’s block.

So far, the benefits have certainly outweighed the (very minor) inconveniences. For me, at least, there’s always just a little bit of trepidation before I start writing for the day, the way someone might get a little nervous before a tough work-out or something. Like, I’m excited to feel the eventual high that getting into a scene or a character will give me, but I’m certainly not looking forward to burning through the first few aggravating paragraphs. The Daily Pages help with that transition a little bit, since my brain is already in writing mode.

My progress so far…

Well, I know I keep saying that I’m not going to edit myself as I write, but I was starting to feel like things just weren’t right, like something intrinsically wasn’t working with my characters. I felt like I was controlling them, which is not what I want to feel like when I’m writing. I want to feel like my characters are these slightly willful living people who are letting me come along for the ride.

I felt too much like a puppet master. So I decided to switch things up a little and really expand the world that I was writing about. I’m doing an urban fantasy, so some additional worldbuilding was in order. After expanding things a little and making some changes here and there to my “rules” and such, the story line just kind of opened up to me.

Then I started making my plot cards, about thirty or so. This process is pretty loose. I don’t feel constrained by this rough outline. It’s more like a list of things that I want to happen. So, I’ve got that going for me, which is good. 🙂

As I’ve said before, I’m working on a story right now. I’m calling it a “story” because I’m not sure how it will fit into the plot. That’s ok, though. I’m trying to keep things loose and organic and kind of see how they shape up from there. I have an idea of the direction I’d like to go in, so I think I’m in good shape.