What did I do in 2019?

A Review of My Writing Year

During the process of The Artist’s Way Programme, Julia Cameron encourages you to review your Morning Pages. Although she suggests you do not read them back at first, you may get too caught up in your inner critics who chat away at you. After all, the purpose of writing morning pages however inexpertly, is to leave those nasty guys on the page. Near the end of the programme, she asks that you make an overall review. Get your markers ready, it’s time to analyse your insights and highlight your ideas!

Taking stock of my pile of notebooks was a great antidote this week. I was feeling a little glum, I have been stuck in a plotting cul-de-sac for some months. Though I have had burst of inspiration in the last few weeks, the end of the decade dawns and I still haven’t completed that resolution from a few years ago to “Finish the damn draft.” Some people could have given up and I haven’t, slow and persistent plodding through my ideas. But at heart, it’s hard not to feel, like some relations, that this is all a nice hobby.

These critical thoughts and many others are marked in orange, it’s a pastel marker so it still looks pretty but it is a warning sign. Thoughts I have about myself and my abilities, hidden in my journal but still holding me back. Whether those thought originated somewhere else or they are barriers that seem to be in my way, they are hampering the inner Artist. Julia Cameron has a myriad of ways to tackle these thoughts. If you have got actual critics, she suggests ways to put up boundaries and protect your early drafts from those eyes. If your inner Artist is upset or restricted, then she suggests Artist’s Dates and an Artist altar for her.

My ideas, marked out now in a warning colour, spark a thought that in the last six months I have identified over and over the same thoughts that block me. Without giving too much away, a disappointment about wasted time and interruptions feature prominently. Like many things in my life, this can be helped by some productivity ideas so that I use what little time I have effectively.

But in amongst all those things I can criticise myself for are also other insights that she encourages you to write, mantras of self-belief. In amongst two pieces of advice stand out

You have a right to be a beginner, whatever your age”

Because, I often feel I have a lot to learn. Not least, how I can get the balance between planning my work out and let my creativity take the reins. This is at the heart of the strides I have made this year. And let’s be honest, it really isn’t a first draft anymore with so many revisions and moves around so in a way, I achieved something.

The other mantra – now highlighted in lilac – that stands out relates to the tenacity I have shown in carrying on with this and other projects. You have to tell yourself:

I am a prolific writer

Now, there is something in the vision work that someone like Rachel Hollis writes about – to write in the present tense as though it is your present reality. This seems to chime well with the vision boards that Cameron asks you to make. She believes you can give over these dreams to a God who believes in you as a creative. Whether I believe in this, I am not sure, but I can see that my production of work in the last six months has grown.

Thousands of words spent on this blog and in my notebooks. In amongst those books, marked now in bright yellow, new ideas I want to try, poems that have burst out and the start of new work I want to do. These books prove to me that whatever I have or haven’t achieved in my writing, I have been working, ideas have been flowing. Despite everything 2019 has been a great year.

Happy New Year 2020!

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