THE RIGHT TO WRITE by Julia Cameron
Julia Cameron became my ally in 1997. We correspond every day. Not as pen pals, she doesn’t know I exist. We meet on the page on opposite sides of the country as we write through our lives.
In 1997 I hit an emotional block in my work as an actress. I often choked in auditions and on stage. The audience couldn’t tell, but I knew. One of my cast mates at the time suggested The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. A few days later I heard an interview with singer k.d. lang. She shared how The Artist’s Way guided her out of a creative block. I bought the book.
Julia Cameron’s words resonated with me like a long lost friend. I read The Artist’s Way and The Vein of Gold and completed every exercise in each book. Did my emotional block in acting dissolve? Yes—in a round about way. Whenever Julia asked what I would like to be doing in three, five or ten years, my answer was always writing, never performing. Once I invested in my words instead of others, I was able to break free from the self-imposed block I had as an actress and my emotional landscape on stage once more grew potent.
On a creative high from the first two books, I snatched up The Right to Write. But after a handful of chapters I felt I was repeating myself and shelved the book. I did however keep writing. Between then and October 2012 I wrote six plays, three novels, a handful of short stories, and collected 35 rejection letters. In the spring of 2011, I attended a writer’s conference where agents said my writing held no voice. Determine to fix the problem I plowed ahead with my frustration in tow until the “choke” of 1997 resurfaced. That’s when I dusted off The Right to Write.
One of Julia Cameron’s gifts is the gentle, playful way she shows us how to lift off our burdens and unlock the bars that separate us from our inherent ability to express ourselves. Books on Craft—the how to books—are essential. The nuts and bolts of any craft must be exercised and mastered. But unless those craft skills are infused with the heart and soul of who we are the end product will lack luster.
The exercises in The Right to Write coupled with daily Morning Pages have energized my writing and brought a new level of commitment to my process. Since last October I have finished the draft of my WIP, completed a third of the next and written several short stories. Although the quantity of writing I’ve generated amazes me, the satisfaction I feel is a result of the weight of the words on the page. A shift has occurred and I couldn’t be more delighted. I am certain to encounter more rejections and rewrites on my way to publication and that’s okay. Julia Cameron has my back.
Writing is all about attractions, words you can’t resist using to describe things too
interesting to pass up.
Unleash your creativity. Embrace The Right to Write.