In every writer or artist, there is a Well, a deep pool of possibilities that we draw ideas and thoughts and inspiration from. It is important to keep this Well stocked at all times.
How do we do this?
One of the best ways to keep the Well stocked is to journal. Right now, I’m working through The Artist’s Way program, which is a process of unblocking creativity that was created by Julia Cameron. One of the basic tools of this program is called The Morning Pages. Three pages of free thought spilled out onto the page, preferably when you first wake up in the morning (although I’ve been known to do mine on the subway into work, or in the afternoon). Even if you’re not doing The Artist’s Way, this is a great tool to keep you in touch with writing. It will get the sludge out of your brain, that extra layer of “did I turn the coffeemaker off, I need to do laundry, I didn’t call my doctor” that resides in our minds. We need to get below that layer to write. We need to get below that layer to tap into the Well.
Eventually, after you’ve journaled that sludge away, things like, “that’s how to solve the problem that chapter is giving me, I need to cut that character out, this is the real plot of my novel” will begin to come out. That’s when a bucket of water will come up from the Well.
It is vitally important to keep the Well stocked in times when life is getting in the way and you just can’t work on your WIP (work-in-progress). During those times, journal fifteen minutes a day. Yes, you can find fifteen minutes to journal. If you journal for fifteen minutes a day, you’ll find that when you return to your WIP, there will be a lot less sludge to deal with, because you kept the Well stocked.
So tomorrow morning, set your alarm for fifteen minutes earlier (you don’t really need that extra sleep) and journal. It doesn’t need to be brilliant; no one is going to see it. It just needs to be three pages of free thought. And when you’re done, your Well will be stocked for the day.