Friday, September 3, 2010

Getting your mojo back

So you’ve taken a break from writing, or acting, or directing, or (fill in the blank here) and now you’re wondering,…

“How do I get my creative mojo back?”

The answer is easy: write every day.

I’m not a touchy-feely earth-spirit kind of person. I believe in showing up at the keyboard and getting down to work. Inspiration is for amateurs, and besides, if inspiration strikes, as the man says, then I’d rather be at my desk when it does.

 Many years ago, however, I read that fabulous and inspiring book THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron.

In this book she lists two basic tools: the morning pages and the artist date.

I believe these are crucial for any artist for obvious reasons. But let me share my thoughts on the first activity, the morning pages.

These are merely three pages of stream of conscious writing (She suggests longhand but I type them…). There are no rules of what to write about, no boundaries and most importantly, NO ONE will ever see them. Unless you want them to, I guess, but what’s the point of that? It is a brain dump activity.

I find the morning pages go from negative thoughts to uplifting thoughts to grocery lists, to regrets, to desires, to everything in between. Some days it feels like hard work just to describe the morning coffee, and other days, I fly past the three-page mark in a matter of minutes. It becomes a daily ritual.

It may feel like nonsense writing. It may seem silly and useless. Over time, you start to find that your mental attitudes throughout the rest of the day will change. It will sneak up on you. Suddenly you have an idea for a poem, a song, or a way to direct a scene, or attack a character, a way of thinking you might not have had before. It instills in you this idea that you don’t have to wait to be “in the mood” or inspired. You can create anytime, anywhere. It unblocks you.

I took a break from writing these morning pages for a few years. Over the past two or three years, I wasn't writing as freely as once before. It felt harder to be creative, harder to fight my INNER CRITIC. Things didn’t flow.

Recently, I have begun the practice again, of writing these pages every day. Already I feel more balanced. I feel that it is easier to get my thoughts down quicker without thinking about it, judging it, or criticizing it. Sometimes I do them right when I get up (with a cup coffee beside me), and other days I write after a short run. But I always write something, anything, before working on anything else. I find it frees the clutter in my head. I can also use the time to think/write through issues, problems of a personal and professional nature. It’s not just journaling about daily life, it’s more free than that. It’s a creative tool.

Scientific evidence shows that your body adapts to whatever it does on a daily basis. Your mind, contrary to belief, is part of your body. If you train your mind to freely write and ignore your INNER CRITIC, you will carry that practice with you every day, in all things, no matter what you are working on.

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