Workshops and writing practice

We’re back to a thorny issue. I’m putting together the workshop outline for ‘Grow and Tell’ in September. It includes a memoir exercise, a ‘taste and write’ based on home-made preserves, and a horticultural section on how to preserve, conserve, and otherwise hang on to, your edibles.

So what’s the issue? Daily writing. I do write every day – it’s my job. I don’t write fiction EVERY day, although most days I do, but I do write every day (except Sundays, as I am now learning to have a day off) and it works for me. What doesn’t work (for me) is the daily journaling or free writing process outlined in ‘The Artist’s Way’. I know it does work for many, but I think there’s a significant minority, like me, who discover that if they give their first writing of the day to morning pages, they end up with second-rate later work. On the other hand, the Artistic Date does work for me and is a profoundly important part of my creative practice. Every time I say this though, somebody in the room will huff and mutter as if I am dissing Ms Cameron. I am not. There are no rules. Really, there are no rules. THERE ARE NO RULES.

The Artist’s Way is a brilliant process for those for whom it works. For those for whom it does not work, it’s deeply frustrating to feel that you are the only person who doesn’t ‘get it’. In saying that I am simply stating the experience of one writer – and I just don’t understand why being non-representative in this area is so controversial. If I said I didn’t get heterosexual love (I do) or sushi (I don’t) or baseball (I don’t) or ballet (I do) nobody would be terribly upset. But as soon as I say that while many find morning pages a great creative spur, some, like me, don’t, this susurration of infamy begins somewhere in the room and spreads like a cold breeze.

Hmph. I shall still say it. And I just hope everybody thaws out when we get to the plum curd, blackberry butter and sloe and apple jelly ….

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