The right to write

After I dropped off my kids at Macalester College for their Chinese School in the afternoon, I headed to the Half Price Books store on Ford Parkway in St. Paul. There I came across the book by Julia Cameron: The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life.  

Julia is the author who wrote The Artist’s Way that I mentioned in a previous blog posting.

I read part of the book right there.

The book consists of over 40 personal essays on various topics of writing. Each topic begins with an "invitation" and concludes with a tool or exercise.

One of the exercises I like is to write down 50 things you are proud of about yourself. What does this list tell you about the things you value the most?

Later at home, I tried to do this exercise. It’s not hard for me, but it’s not easy either. I don’t have any problem to start, but I haven’t finished listing all 50 things yet. 

Some of the things I came up with that I am proud of about myself include: 

Even though English is not my native language. I have become good at it. 

I wrote a weekly column for Woodbury Bulletin for three years. 

I have been writing this blog since November 2009 and have not missed a day. 

I have raised two kids who love reading. 

I encouraged my daughter to submit her poems to the Minnesota State Fair and she won the first place. 

From this short list one can easily tell what I value most. 

I think this is an excellent exercise that everyone should take some time to do it. What things are you proud of yourself for? 

In Cameron’s mind, people who like writing are the luckiest people in the world. In this sense, I consider myself one of the luckiest people. 

Writing – a gift to yourself

In 2006, I joined a group of people at Woodbury United Methodist Church for a 12-week study of the book "The Artist’s Way: a Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity" by Julia Cameron.

The 12-week program helps to recover our creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity. It also helps to discover ways to link creativity to spirituality.

One of the daily assignment is to write morning pages. We are required to write every day. We can write about anything and everything. It is a way to declutter our mind and allow the creativity to flow freely.

It was a great study and experience for me. Prior to that, I hardly wrote, didn’t even keep a journal. After the study, I started to write regularly.

I gave the book study a lot of credit to the creative transformation that happened to me in 2006.

Today I got an email from a friend who wants to write about her childhood memories but is concerned about offending her families and relatives.

I encourage her to write if she feels like writing. It’s a gift to herself.

By writing down our feelings, thoughts, and memories, we can free our mind and let go of our past, of any fear, anger, or other negative emotions. Then we can offer forgiveness and move on with our life.

If you feel stuck in your life and desire more creativity, consider this suggestion – pick up a pen and a journal and start writing, whatever comes to your mind. Make this a gift to yourself for the new year.

Don’t be concerned about offending others and what others might think. You don’t have to show your writing to anyone if you don’t feel comfortable.

You are doing it for yourself, to let go of the past and move on.

Make writing a gift to yourself in the new year!