Whenever I finish a meaningful book, I want to plant a stake in the ground or stack some stones of remembrance to mark what I’ve learned and make it stick. I’m worried the new ideas will slip away if I don’t keep them tied down or in plain sight.
These worries are with my as we wrap the High Calling Blogs Book Club discussion on Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life.
What will stick with me? What changes have come and will remain as a direct result of this book and the people who’ve invested in my processing of it? I don’t want to lose the ground I’ve gained, but I know how I can be. I am praying for God to keep me moving forward—you know, no retreat, no surrender.
Cameron suggests we make a contract with ourselves in regard to our writing to keep the momentum in our forward progress. She outlines a few exercises with time lines attached, with a use it or lose it sort of caution. Using “it” (all these newfound writing tricks and tips) should be a joy given that writers have a push, a passion, for writing and creating.
This push was referred to in our final reading assignment as “bliss.”1 Following this bliss will lead to a writing life that is full and rich and meaningful . . . although bliss is not found without some effort and strain. The first step toward this writing life is always the hardest to take, just as the first lines are always the most difficult to plant on a clean white page.
Getting started truly is the worst of it, but it’s made easier with a clear vision. As a writer, I need a clear vision for what my heart is beating for and how my heart’s passions can be used through writing to make a difference in this world for God and His glory. Cameron says this: “Part of our duty as writers is to do the work of honestly determining what matters to us and to try to write about that. This may take a certain amount of courage.”2
Courage, indeed, for when our hearts burn and beat with passion, that passion will come out on the page for all to see. Some will love that passion; others will not. A strong and steady vision feeds the courage that is necessary for releasing that passion to be both embraced and shunned.
A writing contract encapsulates the vision. It keeps the vision steady, even when the writing bliss wanes. I am reminded of this from Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish.” Likewise, where there is no vision for writing, the writer doesn’t write.
What does my writing contract include? What fills me with such passion that I must put it to the page?
Well, I need a few more days to pull those thoughts together, but I plan to post it later this week—for all the world to see. [gulp.]
Read other The Right to Write posts from this week here.
1. Julia Cameron, The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life (New York, NY: Penguin Putnam, 1998), 218.
2. Ibid., 218.
Book Image: http://www.theartistsway.com/