Laying Trackby Sue Meyn on 05/21/11
Some time ago I was able to attend a workshop given by Julia Cameron, and it was every bit as wonderful as I’d expected. Julia is a profound teacher to many of us, and combines her zany spirit with the humbleness of her 12 Step approach to life, to inform, support, and encourage.
I’ve heard Julia now in person, on tape and through some of her books, and find her words both delightful and inspiring. She talks about writing even when one doesn’t feel like writing—which is where I am today. It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s that I’m not sure WHAT I want to write ABOUT. She talks about getting something down on paper as “laying track”. It doesn’t have to be good, or well done and is far from a final draft, but it does get one started.
“Laying track” is where I am, knowing I don’t have to see just where this is taking me. It’s one of the reasons I like doing short pieces on the computer where you can cut, paste, or delete whatever you choose.
Of course most journal writing has this “laying track” feel to it, since there are no rules, no shoulds, no direction that you or your journal have to follow. Can you afford to take a few minutes now to be quiet and listen to your inner musings? Can you sit, without direction, without special focus and just let your pen take you where it wants to go?
Freewriting, which is what we are talking about now, according to another Journaling guru, Kathleen Adams, is one of the harder ways to journal---and yet is what most people think of when they think of journaling. Most people who have not done much journal writing think that they have to “think up” things to say, rather than learning to stop, listen, and just let whatever you want float out of your pen, or if using the computer, your fingers.
Freewriting is very much “in the moment” writing and calls upon you to simply transcribe your experience, your awareness or your thoughts. It reflects back to us where we are. I’ve noticed that when I am feeling empty I don’t like having that reflected back to myself, preferring to be full of ideas, creativity and flow. And yet, I’m now understanding that some times we just ARE empty—and it’s okay.
Being empty simply means that we need to fill up. And writing and being allows that to happen. It’s hard, though, if our expectations are high and our willingness to see the yin opposed to our yang, is weak.
I urge you to be gentle with yourselves and to try some freewriting about where you are today, what is going on in your life, mind, body and spirit. When you are through read it over, responding then as though you were your own best friend, offering love, support, encouragement and inspiration. You can be your own mentor, just as Julia Cameron has been for so many of us. --Sue