At the start of the COVID19 lock down I saw a lot of people saying that they were going to use this time to GET SHIT DONE. Hm, I thought, not me. I feel like I need a nap. Nap I have done, dear reader. Many a nap has been had.
But I have also been writing.
In 2019, I completed what I’m pretty sure will be my first of many times reading The Artists Way – an incredible book on creativity and living a creative life written by Julia Cameron. One of the things that I have found so helpful from that project was the morning pages. Cameron encourages you to write at least three pages in a journal every day as a practice, much like people who practice meditation. The aim of this writing isn’t to produce a masterpiece, or even to write anything useful. It’s more of a place to connect with yourself, to get those strange thoughts that exist in our head out on the page, and to make some space in your mind for the creativity to fit into.
I’ve kept with the morning pages since I started the Artists Way on 1 November 2019. I have quite a few notebooks now filled with almost entirely random writing. This writing has helped me stay in touch with what is really going on in my head for the past seven months, to pay better attention to the world around me, and also to generate some great ideas for writing.
When I’m writing one of the hardest things for me is to get started. I do all sorts of things to avoid it. Even cleaning. I mean – come on people. Cleaning. What the actual f am I doing? I’m not alone in my avoidance of the one thing that truly always makes me happy to do. Lots of writers face this affliction.
Most of the writing courses I’ve participated in encourage you to generate some prompts so that the first bit of writing is easier. Sometimes this means underlining something you’ve written in the past, and using that to start a new piece of writing (thanks to the workshops run by Rahla Xenopolous, and by Chantal Stewart and Maire Fisher for this helpful idea). Others encourage you to choose a theme and write a little bit each day on that. Others like the Life Righting Collective courses help you to tap into your real life and to use those experiences to write. With the Isolation Journals Suleika Jaouad has got a bunch of incredible creatives and thinkers to send suggestions for a journal entry each day. All of these have helped to get me to sit down and shut up and think on the page.
The lock down also meant that a project I’m very proud of – Living While Feminist – was published into what felt like a bit of a void. But we banded together and produced a podcast that includes excerpts from the writers. And we had a small virtual zoom party together which was a wonderful experience. But I’m not done celebrating this book.
So, I thought, why not combine the tips and tricks that I’ve learned from the writing courses I’ve done with the brains and creative genius of the incredible writers from Living While Feminist, Feminism Is, and the broader writing community, to bring you some Writing While Feminist writing prompts for as long as we can keep it going. So, starting on 18 June 2020, we began with the first prompt, Courage.
I hope you’ll join in, and I hope it helps you get some writing done. Looking forward to seeing you on Instagram and to receiving your prompts there. Happy writing!