Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Right to Write

We got a dog in October. She was found with a dozen or so other neglected English Springer Spaniels in a back yard in Idaho. Rescued by the English Springer Rescue Association, they cared for her until we adopted her.

Just like the birth of a baby in a family, her arrival has changed our lives.

Since we got her, I've had less time for writing. Or rather, it's been harder for me to make time to write since we got Shelby. And then, right on the heels of getting Shelby, I was working the holidays at the bookstore, which were absolutely crazy and hectic. With the holidays and the dog, I was TIRED. And not writing much.

With not writing came frustration, the same frustration I felt when my children were born and I wasn't writing. I missed that creative outlet, felt as though I was unconnected to who I was, yet felt too tired and utterly drained to do anything about it.

Since the new year, it's slowed down at the store and we're settling into more of a routine with the pupper (who is, to the vet's best guess, about 18 months old and still acts quite a bit like a puppy). I have been carving out time to write, acknowledging to myself and my world the importance of my writing life.

The other day at the store I came across Julia Cameron's THE RIGHT TO WRITE. Shelved in the Self Improvement section, rather than in the writing section where the other writerly helping books are (such as WRITING DOWN THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg, BIRD BY BIRD by Annie Lamott and Stephen King's ON WRITING), I think this is likely why I hadn't seen this particular book before.

THE RIGHT TO WRITE, has small focused chapters with a writing exercise at the end of each.

The chapters include exercises (or "initiations" as she calls them) to help with all sorts of aspects of writing...such as exorcising the influence of people who have thwarted one's creativity (our "creative monsters"), helping get the words on the page, addressing loneliness, how mood relates to writing, dealing with our own writing drama and so on. Each initiation is an opportunity to cut through some unhelpful thinking patterns and consider more positive, invigorating ways of thinking and looking at my own writing.

Her hopes are that...

"This book will be a cheerleader for those trying the writing life, a companion for those living it, and a thank-you to my own writing for the life it has given to me. It is my hope that this book will help to heal writers who are broken, initiate writers who are afraid, and entice writers who are standing at river's edge, wanting to put a toe in."

This has been the right book at the right time for me. Not that it's giving me permission to write as the title suggests, I'm finding rather that this book is gentle encouragement and a delight to read and work through as I reclaim my self through writing.

       The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life

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