Unblocking Creativity...with a Ton of Notebooks
It has been said that writing inspiration can strike anywhere, and I believe that to be true. It has also been said that really all you have to do is get your butt in the seat. I believe that to be true too. However, no matter what the case you need to prepared, whether it is the striking inspiration or for when your butt hits the chair.
How do I do that? With lots of notebooks.
I adore stationery. I cannot bypass a lovely card store, the office supply section of Target, or a Staples or OfficeMax without at least browsing, touching, and smelling (nothing like the smell of a good book, or journal) And it’s scientifically proven why older books smell divine. Stationery is my drug of choice, and the bookstore is my dealer.
What do I normally buy? Nine times out of ten it’s a journal.
The big joke at home is that when I have finished (or more to the point half finished) a journal I pass it down to my daughter. My writing hand is easily swayed...soft cover, hard cover, ones with fabric ribbons as placeholders, recycled ones, spiral, smyth sewn, plainly designed, wildy designed, personalized, and all with thick paper that can withstand the juiciest of colored or my absolute favorite gel pens, I even love a good guided journal, for travel (this one I used in Vegas and it was amazing!), soul searching, or just to step outside my norm! Currently in that vein I am loving Start Where You Are and Steal Like an Artist. No matter what type I have a notebook or journal at my disposal pretty much 24 hours a day. I have one in my bag, several on shelves at home, and even one on my bedside table.
Because who knows what genius will come in the middle of the night.
Thesis statements, ideas for a paper, a blog post, a poem, a story, or even a to-do I forgot to put in my planner (yes, I have one of those too). As a writer and student, you have got to be prepared. There has been the occasion, like when I am in the shower, that I have not been prepared. It is then, with soap in my eyes that I have slipped out of the shower leaving damp footprints all over my bedroom carpet to grab for my bedside journal. Or I just do what I did the other day, which was scream like a banshee for my husband to come and transcribe, over the sound of rushing water, my incoherent thoughts for later development.
The bedside table journal is not just for the random middle of the shower musings, it is also home to my “morning pages”. If you have not heard of morning pages, I highly suggest that you check out The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This amazing system of helping you unblock your creativity uses the morning pages as the cornerstone of its success.
Similar to a brain dump, the pages are to be written first thing in the morning before checking the weather, your phone, having your coffee, or exercising. Before you do anything. Three pages of free writing, a stream of consciousness about anything, or anyone. Just get it out of your head so the good stuff is welcomed in. The best part? Unlike a journal, you are not allowed to go back and read them. You write them, turn the page, move on and trash them when the notebook is full (or hall full in my case). You do not have to suffer through rereading your oddball thoughts, painful images.
They are gone. Out of your head. Forever. Or at least until you write the next morning.
At least we don’t have to yet, I am still working through the book! It is one of the best ways to start off your morning, clear headed and ready for whatever creative adventures the day brings you. The book also has you do artist dates, and various activities to exorcise your self-doubt and commit to a life of creativity.
Do you keep a lot of notebooks? How do you handle the wayward thought in the middle of the night, during a meeting, or while daydreaming in the shower?
Is there a book that has helped you channel your creativity?
Let me know!