Category Archives: A Writers Journey

A while back, while writing my first novel, I got myself stuck in a major rut. Not just a writers block, but a major life rut full of bad habits. One of the life saving tools, that got me finally writing, and thinking about writing in the best way possible was doing morning pages. It’s a practice from a book called “The Artists Way”, by Julia Cameron.

You’re supposed to just sit down and write 750+ words every morning before you do anything else. They can be about anything you want. Things your going to do, how your feeling, free flow writing, or anything else your heart desires. And they’re supposed to be private. Only for you. I however have made the decision, to make mine public (mostly unedited).

I thought, it might be helpful for other struggling writers to see what I’ve gone through to publish my first book, or perhaps for my readers to see the twisted recesses of my mind. I’m currently pushing for 365 days of consecutive morning pages, and am already well past 200,000 words in total. That’s enough for a couple of novels I’d say. I’ll be posting these a few at a time, whenever I get the chance.

I should also say, that these journal entries are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, and I have no intention of correcting them. One of the tenants of morning pages, is that you just write and don’t worry about spelling and grammar. It’s more important to get the words out, than to worry about syntax. So, I’ve posted them here in all their tattered glory, as I first put them down.

Also, you may notice a few missing days here and there. There were a few days where I deemed the pages to be too private for public consumption. Those journal entries will remain forever secret … at least, while I’m still alive.

Morning Pages Entry – November 25, 2013

Well, yesterday certainly turned out to be a bit of a crazy day. Never did make it to the swim meet, the snow was just too bad. Spent a good hour pushing the friggin car up the street with the help of some good neighbours. Finally learned the hard way, that the best way to push the car, is to actually turn off the traction control first. With a little bit of snow, the car just keeps cutting the power to the wheels when the traction control is on. That way, the only way to move the car is totally through human power. Apart from pushing cars, the other main activity was shovelling snow. Probably spent a good 4 hours just shovelling snow yesterday. Was even out past midnight after the street and sidewalk plows came buy. Even shovelled the neighbours driveways, since they were the ones that helped us push the car for so long. Felt it was the least I could do. Felt pretty good actually. I’m sure they were pleasantly surprised (especially Tim & Patty) to be able to just drive out of their driveways this morning. Although, I notice the plows did come back again for another pass, which messed up my perfect shovelling masterpiece. Funny how you can get so obsessive about a simple thing as shovelling snow. I also managed to get in a squash game yesterday. Was supposed to play David, but he couldn’t get out of his street from the snow, so I had a little three’s with Rob and Kyle. Not so bad. I think this week I’m going to set myself a goal of no junk food and no processed sugar going into my body. After the first week, we’ll see how that goes. I really need to eat better. I always feel so much better when I do that. Right now I feel like I’m in a bit of a brain fog from eating what I ate yesterday. I certainly did get some good stuff in, but it’s that evening crap that get’s me all the time. I think I need some better “paleo” snacking foods lying around the house. It seems like the only stuff I have is dark chocolate, which is OK, but I rely on it far too much. I know, that a week of really healthy eating would make me feel fabulous. Just imagine if you could make it through all of December with no processed sugar, no grains, and no nasty starches like potato chips. I would feel friggin amazing, and I would definitely clean up on the squash courts . GO GO GO for it! I really do want to get the number one spot on my squash team. The other guys think we have a stacked team now, just wait till I grab the top spot and bump everybody above me down one. That would take us to a victory in the finals for sure. Gotta get my ass in gear and my mind in sync to pull that one off. The other big thing I need to worry about of course, is to start getting some writing done in terms of my novels. The Zombie Parables as they are currently titled. I’ve been stalled for so long. At the point where Chaz and his buddy come across the school bus full of kids. Not so sure yet where I want to go with that. Maybe one of the kids is a zombie in hiding, and somehow during Chaz’s attempted rescue of the kids it comes to life, and massacres the entire bus except for the one little girl. She somehow survives, and carries on to Fort Knox. She would be scarred for years, and Chaz would carry the guilt for a long time. The nightmares from that episode would plague him for years. It feels a bit gruesome to kill kids in your novel though. Especially any that you’ve spent some time with. It seems to be a bit of an unwritten rule, in a lot of fiction not to kill kids. I mean, it does happen, just think of the little girl coming out of the barn in the Walking Dead. That was an incredibly intense scene. Partially because we we’re so caught up in the plot line of trying to find her, and partially because she was a little kid. I suppose perhaps you don’t want to go around killing kid characters too often in your books, but it can certainly create a very dramatic feeling. The build up is important though. The build up is important to a lot of things actually . . . character development is a big thing. Not sure I’ve quite got that figured out, but I will.

LOCATION: Home Office TODO: restore some sites, write 1000+ words TV: Dr Who, Dawson Creeks, 70s show BOOK: none EXERCISE: squash, shovel snow WEIGHT: 181 BREAKFAST: none LUNCH: big ass salad DINNER: roast beef, brocolli SNACKS: chocolate, dark chocolate with almonds, chips, nachos ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 1:30 am AWAKE: 9:50 am

Morning Pages Entry – November 24, 2013

Well, this is not going to be an easy morning. It’s another early day for the swim meet, and there is a ton of snow outside. Not sure if the little care is going to make it down the street without getting stuck. We don’t have snow tires on it yet, so that won’t make things any easier. I’m sure Karen is going to start complaining about shoveling the driveway or something soon. I think we should just run the car through it, and see how it goes. Yesterday when I was safety marshalling for the swim meet, coach Andrew came up and shook my had, and told me what a great kid Samantha was, then also said how great all the kids were. I’m sure he meant all the Campbell kids, and not the swim kids in general. But that’s neither here nor there. He’s a funny sort of guy, but it certainly cheered me up from my drudgery of working a swim meet. I told Sam later what he said, and that certainly made her day. She is a little bummed out this weekend, since she’s not able to swim due to her twisted ankle. Andrew is the kind of coach that everyone wants to please. At least all the kids do. At least our kids seem to. He’s a pretty driven character. I also have a squash match this afternoon, challenging for the top spot on the team. Probably not going to get it, but I was pretty happy about how I played yesterday in Derek’s little tourney. I didn’t beat the better players, but I did seem to hold up pretty well. My fitness does seem to be getting a bit better. It likely would be a lot better, if I had more discipline when it comes to staying away from the junk food. Yesterday, I didn’t eat anything till about 4:30, what with all the rushing around to swimming and squash tournaments. And I did eat pretty healthy till about 7, then as usual, I start reaching for the junky stuff. I actually ate some potato chips last night. I think I get cravings for them when I miss one of my other big meals like the salad that I didn’t get yesterday. It’s kind of like I need to fast completely for the entire day if I’m going to stay away from the junky stuff. I know, that I feel so much better in the morning when I haven’t eaten any processed food or sugar the day before. The junk food is just another substitute for making me feel happy every day. I really hope these morning pages can become a better subsitite for my feelings. While I’m not sure they actually clear my mind, I do believe, that they get me thinking in a more positive light. I think they may even be helping my squash game a bit. Squash really is as much a mental game sometimes as it is a physical. And, I do seem to be a bit happier and at peace when I write these pages. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m actually doing something that feels productive at the start every day or what. Heaven knows I haven’t had a lot of those productive feeling days as of late. More like, a lot of guilt come the end of the day for not getting near enough of what I’d like to have done. Maybe that’s all it is. I think the pages may eventually start to work as a catalyst to having more productive and inspired days coming up. We’ll have to wait and see. It hasn’t happened yet. I do feel like I am getting bit addicted to doing them, even though, I do feel a bit rushed this morning to get this one done. I’m really watching that word counter. Doing these first thing is likely a good idea, but I think doing them when I’ve had a full nights sleep, and a non-junk food day prior would be even better. I do need to get moving here, as we are going to have a hard time getting out of the driveway, and hopefully I won’t end up wrecking my back in the process. I do know now, that my head will be a little clearer before I walk out the door from getting these pages done. I did mean to get up a little bit earlier to do them, but hey, they’re done now. So that’s all that matters. Thank goodness. Well let’s get on with the day.

LOCATION: Home Office TODO: Swim meet, squash TV: Dr Who, Torchwood, Dawsons Creek BOOK: none EXERCISE: squash WEIGHT: 182 BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: none DINNER: none SNACKS: dark almond chocolates, potatoe chips, ice cream cheesecake thing ALCOHOL: none BEDTIME: 12:00 AWAKE: 6:30

Morning Pages Entry – November 22, 2013

I have to start of today, my second day of morning pages with the most bizarre dream I had last night. I suppose it’s not so much the dream I had, but the reaction I had to it. I dreamt that there was some kind of small animal under the sheets of my bed between Karen and I. I lept out of bed and dashed towards the light switch, and turned it on. Which prompted Karen to sit up in bed, and freaked her out a bit. I think, that by the time I reached the switch I was wide awake, but I’m not so sure that I was awake at all when I lept out of bed and moved towards the switch. I’ve never had a reaction like that before. I’ve had plenty of dreams about animals chasing me or coming after me. Usually dogs. I think, because as a small child I was chased by a big dog. But, usually when I have these dreams, I just make some very loud moaning noises as I’m trying to get away from the animal in my dreams. The noises usually wake up karen, who then wakes me up. Which is often the end of it. Never before have I physically reacted to the dreams. I have to wonder, if perhaps it has something to do with writing these morning pages, as yesterday was the first time I did such a thing. It would be a bizarre connection, but perhaps it has more to do with the wine I had late last night after squash league. Although I’ve done that before as well, and nothing like last nights dream happened before. Will have to wait and see how this all turns out. My squash team won in league last night, which always puts me in a good mood. I won my match as well. We’re currently in first place, 7 weeks into the season and have been there for most of the season. Doing well in squash league always makes me happy. Usually, it also keeps me awake on Thursday night long after I go to bed. Which, it didn’t seem to really do last night. Perhaps because we won, and everyone played well, but perhaps it has something to do with these morning pages. I seem to keep wanting to attributing changes in my life to the morning pages, but I likely haven’t been doing them long enough for that to happen. Of course, what I really want to have them do, is kick start my writing again. Or at least convince me that there is value in me becoming a writer. It seems almost strange to write that last sentence. As if telling myself that I’m a writer is too much for my own brain to believe. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be though, I mean writing is something that I’ve always enjoyed once I get going at end. Even writing simple business emails, that I send, I would often go back and read them over and over, getting some sort of happy reassurance that they were well done. Can you imagine, how I would feel about crafting a wonderful story that others enjoy. So many of the authors I read about on the KindleBoards forum say that feedback from readers is such a wonderful motivation for them to write their next stories. I would probably love that as well. They also say how crushing negative feedback is. I wonder how I would truly react to that. Part of me thinks I would just blow off the negative, that I’m not so sensitive that it would bother me. I do seem to be at a point in my life where I just don’t care about so many things. Both good and bad I think. I really wish I could care more about things. Like our whole money situation. I think if it bothered me more that somehow that would get my ass in gear and writing more. I mean it does bother me, but perhaps I’m just not at the point in life where money is a motivator. Although, I sure would like to have more. A nicer boat, pay off the mortgage, and be able to leave more money for the kids would be pretty awesome. Especially for Jessica, as who knows how her life will go once Karen and I are gone. Hopefully her sisters will continue to look out for her, and I think if there was a bunch of money left behind that would certainly be easier. It certainly would be great, if I could hit it big enough with the books to buy all the girls their first homes to start out. That would be such an amazing thing to get them started in life. It would make the last few years of financial challenges with my business worth it all.

LOCATION: Home Office TODO: Move some more sites, do 1000+ words for novel TV: Dr Who BOOK: none EXERCISE: squash WEIGHT: 183 lbs BREAKFAST: bacon & eggs LUNCH: big ass salad DINNER: none SNACKS: dark chocolate with almonds BEDTIME: 1 am ALCOHOL: 1 wine AWAKE: 8:30 am

Morning Pages Entry – November 21, 2013

OK, so here I go. I’m not really sure where to start, but I suppose I already have. Given the rut I’ve been in of late, I’m really hoping that taking up this exercise of morning pages will get me out of it. I mean, my business has been in a horrible dump for the last year and longer actually, and I’m kind of running out of options of what to do next. This whole wrting books seems like a great idea, and it definitely seems to fit with me as a person, but I can’t seem to get my ass in gear with regards to it lately. It started off pretty simple over the summer on the boat having a few days where I could write at least a thousand words or not more. One day I managed over 2000 words, which actually didn’t seem all that hard at the time. I liked the creative aspect of it, but sometime along the way, it all started to seem like too much. Like writing a novel, or several novels was more then I was capable of. Like, I really wasn’t artistic, or creative enough to take on such a task. Part of me believes, that I can really do a decent size novel a month, but part of me says it can’t be real, that there’s really no value in doing something like that. But, what else am I going to do with my time/life at the moment. I think my Dad would have really loved the opportunity to be a writer, and it does seem these days, that there is a tremendously wide open opportunity to become a writer with e-publishing. So many people have made a go of it, and become incredibly successful with it. Both financially and creatively. It definitely has the potential to be a life changer, and while it can be encouraging to see how well others have done, I must admit to getting a little sick of reading about the success of others. Not sure if that makes me a bad person, as I really think it’s the part of me that won’t let me get started that hurts the most. It’s like this huge roadblock. I don’t know if it’s writers block, fear of success, fear of failure or something else that keeps me from even trying, but I’d really like to get over it. I truly hope starting these morning pages will get me moving in the right direction. I was pretty excited when I read about them last night, and how they help so many people overcome their writers/artistic blocks. I laid awake most of last night, and part of this morning thinking of all the things I would say in them. It’s a bit hard to be honest about writing these pages, even though I’m not supposed to show them to anyone . . . but ever? Part of me wants to show them to others, to express to others how I really feel, but that’s a bit scary. I should warn anyone that starts to read these perhaps after I’m dead, or even more frightening if I’m still alive, that these are totally uncensored and unfiltered thoughts. To those I love, they could seem incredibly sad or hurtful, but please know, that it’s not my intentions. I’m at a time in my life, when I need a bit of therapy, and honesty with myself if I’m to move forward. I’m going to try and be as honest as possible when I write these words, as difficult as that may be. So, be sure you have a thick skin if you really know me or are a member of my family. I don’t mean to be cruel to anyone, I just want to try and heal my self. Feelings are difficult and complicated, for anyone, as we don’t show them to many (if anyone) in the real world. It would be nice if I could, but I don’t really feel there’s anyone I can say these kind of things to without hurting feelings. Anyway, enough about that, you’ve had fair warning. While I think, if I can stick with these exercises for long enough, it will become habit, I really like that idea. I’ve started so many of these sorts of things in the past, and just not stuck with them. I’m going to commit at the moment however to do this for at least 30 days. Many people say, that it becomes a sort of addiction after that, and definitely, that would be a good thing for me. I have so many bad addictions at the moment, that having a healing one would be so good for me. I truly owe that to myself. I remember reading one’s person experience about writing morning pages, and how it changed her life, she lost 40 pounds, got out of a bad marriage, and started a new career. That sounded amazing. Let’s hope I can accomplish something similiar. Well, I think I’ll stop there for today. I’ll be back tomorrow.

ALCOHOL: 0 drinks LOCATION: Basement Office TODO: Restore websites from LunarPages, write 1000+ words of novel TV: Supernatural, Dr Who BOOK: none EXERCISE: none WEIGHT: 183 lbs BREAKFAST: Bacon & Eggs LUNCH: none DINNER: none SNACKS: dark chocolate almonds, nachos, peppermint chocolate paws, s&v chips BEDTIME: 1 am AWAKE: 11 am (woke up at 5:30 to drive Sam for swimming)