Where do we find inspiration that lights us up and lifts our writing?
We follow clues and collect possibilities. We practice turning true.
What lights and lifts us is likely to help someone else, and so we share.
By sharing what inspires me, I hope to inspire you to do the same.
from the blog …
I have a new friend, Alex, who lives in Berlin. We met through a Barbara Sher connection (she wrote the remarkable book Wishcraft), which gave us initial common ground, but then we discovered that we’re both writers. I love talking with Alex because of his willingness to share about his inner life and to join me in pondering the mystery and art of writing.
During a recent call, Alex told me about burning his Morning Pages.
Doing Morning Pages is a foundational practice from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. They are “three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.” They clear the cobwebs, prepare the ground, loosen writing muscles, and inform us about ourselves.
This kind of writing doesn’t have to be limited to mornings or to a specific number of pages. I fill many journal pages every month, but I had never thought of burning what I write. The idea intrigued me so I decided to try it.
I went in with the cocky assumption that since I’m already so honest with myself, so used to sharing “the truth” on my journal pages, so willing to look at the hard stuff and deal with it, writing with the intent to burn the pages afterwards wouldn’t make a difference.
Oh, how very wrong we can be.
My first intend-to-burn writing session went on for well more than three pages, exposed deep levels of new truths, required many tissues, and led to revelations of such importance that I gave myself over to them instead of working that morning. Holy.
By the time I was done, I no longer needed to burn the pages. I may yet burn them, as I’m not sure I want whoever inherits my journals to find out quite that much about my inner life on those topics, but they contain some juicy morsels worth extracting for further investigation.
Most significantly, by the time I stopped writing, my perspectives about the extremely difficult issues I’d been confronting, knowing I would burn the pages, had shifted hugely away from shame and stuckness toward self-acceptance and self-love. Amazing.
In my second intend-to-burn writing session, I wanted to follow up on some of the gnarly, alarming issues that came rushing up in the first session. On a whim, I sought the solace of our friendly neighbourhood graveyard.
Listen, I cannot recommend this highly enough. Take your journal to a graveyard (an excellent place to cry in public), find a bench with a bit of privacy, and write pages you will burn. Invite your truest self to sit beside you for a spell. Write your heart out among the patient headstones. Let sorrow or shame or regrets or dreams you fear admitting flow up and out. The fresh air will do them good.
With intense earnestness, I tell you that since I began writing to burn, my life has made a drastic turn toward alignment. The way I most want my life to look, in my secret heart of hearts, is suddenly and actually rushing toward me as though we are lovers reunited in a field of wildflowers. Yes, it’s exactly that wonderful and sappy and tearfully joy-filled.
What, exactly, has changed? Before writing with the intent of burning the pages afterwards (whether I ended up burning them or not), the actions I saw to take regarding my toughest issues were mist-shrouded, minimal, and uncompelling. The actions I now see to take are brilliantly lit seven-league leaps of conviction.
Right action has become a jump off a cliff into the hand of god.
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