Weekly Progress Post #1

Paper Coach : Teach Yourself to Write (A Fiction Writing Course)
Phase:1, Month:1, Week:1
Cameron, Julia. The Right to Write: An Invitation...

I'm a little late with this first progress post, and I did not meet my goal of hitting a chapter per day in The Right to Write. My excuse is that a disaster hit my life this past week, and I had to give it all my attention.

Am I the only one who finds it tough to believe that it's ok if I didn't accomplish what I set out to do, because something difficult got in the way -- even when its true? I feel that if I let something difficult get in the way all the time, then I won't ever write, will I? Where exactly is the line between forgiving oneself and making excuses? I think this is a question about procrastination in general and not writing in particular, but I do hope I figure out an answer one of these days.

In fairness to myself, I think it makes my disaster this past week an explanation and not an excuse. On to the progress post:

This week I planned to read and do one exercise per day from Julia Cameron's The Right to Write. Well, like I said, I didn't do that. Instead, I read and did the exercises for 5 chapters. 2 shy, which, in retrospect isn't as bad as I thought.

Now why did I feel like I'd done 10% of what I set out to do, when I really did 71.4%? Kind of dysfunctionally unfair, self-injustice if not outright self-destructive. I'll have to work on that.

Since all the material came from one book, it's hard to pick a highlight. That said, Chapt 2 "Let Yourself Write" made an impression on me. If nothing else, it showed me how many bad opinions about my being a writer I've swallowed over the years. The exercise at the end of the chapter (all the exercises in Cameron's book are at the ends of chapters) helped vomit up a bunch of that injestion, which was a relief from a pressure I hadn't fully appreciated that I suffer(ed). Definitely thought provoking.

Cameron frequently talks about doing her exercises in longhand. In fact, she insists on the importance of longhand, but frankly, I type far more offten than I write longhand. Typing to me is more natural and self-connective; so, I'm going to keep typing instead of switching to longhand. Maybe I should try it first and see if there's any real difference?

Other than that, no concept has been all that puzzling (just stimulating). Interestingly, I described some of what I'm doing to my wife, and she (an ABD PhD in clinical psych) thinks that some of Cameron's exercises bear similarity to the more successful therapeutic approaches favored by congitive psychology.

I ascribe falling short of the plan to neither over-agressive objectives nor a failure in the material. Sometimes life just happens, and there's not much to do about it.

No changes planned at this time.


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