I Am Officially A Wuss + A Book Giveaway!

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron - it could be yours!

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – it could be yours!

Today is one of those days when I’m trying to keep busy.

We took Bonnie the dog to the vet’s this morning to have that operation and I blubbed my eyes out (probably because the nurse was so nice and Bonnie looked so trusting and ‘Isn’t this fun?!’ and didn’t have a clue what lay ahead..).

When I got outside, still crying, a woman coming into the vet’s said “OH! Can I give you a hug?” and I felt a bit of a fraud because she clearly thought my pet had died and as I sobbed on her shoulder, I had to tell her no, my dog was ‘only’ being spayed, so then, we did manage to have a laugh.

And it’s probably the only time in my life that I’ve been embraced by a total stranger. People are kind, aren’t they, on the whole?

I managed to pull myself together and then, a few hours later, the lovely vet phoned us to say it had all gone well and Bonnie was coming round nicely and I cried again (this time, I think, from relief).

We’re picking her up at 4pm and when I see that collar round her neck and all the gory stitches, I will probably cry AGAIN.

I’m leading a workshop on ‘Writing Short Stories For Women’s Magazines’ tonight at Chiltern Writers’ Group so I hope the crying has ended by then –and the piggy eyes have healed – or it will be embarrassing.

Anyway, on to more cheery things…

Morning Pages – ‘The Artist’s Way’ Giveaway

I’ve been doing ‘Morning Pages’ religiously (yes, even today!) for over two weeks now and I have to say, it’s great.

It’s an idea expressed by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way and the idea behind it is that you write 3 pages of anything (stream-of-consciousness, or lists of what you’ve got to do, or just a general ‘moan’) when you wake up in the morning.

It has to be written by hand and it has to be in the morning. No one else reads it – in fact, you shouldn’t re-read it either, once it’s written, for at least 8 weeks.

The theory is, that all the stuff you’re stressing about, stands between you and your creativity. Get it down on the page as a kind of ‘brain-dump’ and you can get on with your day – and your writing.

And I’m finding that it works. I feel much less stressed about my writing and more ‘in control’. Somehow, the Morning Pages ‘grounds’ me for the day. I write down things I’ve got to do and it helps me to remember but also, they don’t seem quite so overwhelming.

I’ve also, sometimes, been writing snippets of stories, scenes or just ideas. And if you do it first thing, no matter what else happens in the day (and you know how it can just ‘overtake’ you sometimes?), well, at least you’ve done 3 pages of writing.

So, to celebrate this, my first ‘de-stresser’ (I will be telling you about the others over the next few posts), I’m giving away a copy of Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way’, which isn’t specifically for writers but it’s about ‘unlocking your latent creativity’.

I’ve only dipped into my copy so far but I intend to read it from cover to cover soon.

To enter my random draw, all you need to do is to leave a comment about Morning Pages. Do you already do them? Have you tried them – and if so, with what result? Or perhaps you’re feeling inspired now to give them a go?

I’ll draw a name out of the hat on 17th July, a week today. Good luck! (and yes, it’s open to anyone).

Superbreak Travel Writing Competition

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a travel writer, then you’ve got until 20th July to enter Superbreak’s competition, which has a fabulous first prize of a £1000 break in London – and some runners-up prizes too. All you have to do is write at least 400 words about a short break you’ve been on ‘in the past year or so’, which must fit one of these themes:

Theatre Guru
City Sightseer
Country Roamer
European Explorer
Family Adventurers

Have a look here for more details.

This entry was posted in Bonnie, Competitions, Short Stories and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to I Am Officially A Wuss + A Book Giveaway!

  1. Julia says:

    Ooh, you softy (says she who once cried at Battlestar Gallactica). How lovely to have a hug from a stranger. Are you going to pass it on?

  2. I just seem to be crying at everything at the moment, Julia. But yes, interesting idea to ‘pass it on’ (is that what you’re supposed to do?! Eek – how un-British! I will see what I can do! Maybe a Chiltern Writer tonight would like to be spontaneously hugged!?)

  3. Jan Halstead says:

    Hi Helen

    Cheer up. I promise we’ll be really nice to you at Chiltern Writers. Would a cup of tea help?

  4. Ah, Jan, thank you. That made me laugh, actually. I am OK! But yes, a cup of tea always solves any problem, doesn’t it?! See you later!

  5. Angela Watt says:

    Hope you’re feeling brighter now Helen? Yes I have been doing morning pages on and off for about 5 years. I started writing them shortly after my mum passed away and found it really helpful as a way of expressing my grief at the time. This year I have done them pretty much every day since January 1st. I have missed the odd day here and there, but I find that it helps to clear the mind in readiness for the day ahead, particularly in relation to other writing I’m doing. Hope the meeting goes well tonight. Sounds like they’ll be tea, hugs and sympathy awaiting you.

  6. Angela – I am sure by tonight I will be fine – and ready to talk about writing stories for the womags, which I LOVE to talk about!! But thank you for your sympathy. I know it’s a bit silly – after all, she is ‘only’ a dog but it’s amazing how attached to them you become!

  7. julielees says:

    I don’t think you’re a wuss, Helen. Leaving your pet at the vet’s is akin to leaving your child in the anaesthetic room, pre-tonsillectomy. I haven’t tried the ‘Morning Pages’, but I might start and see where it leads. Your class sounds great. Wish I didn’t live a million miles away so I could attend.

  8. Karen says:

    I don’t do morning pages but I do a nightly journal listing all the good things that happened each day and write down any tricky bits or stresses. I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks. Your poor dog and poor you, I’m the same with my cat, when we go to the vet I stress for days beforehand and then get really emotional when we’re there! Not cool.

  9. Sue Boud says:

    I’ve kept a notebook by my bed for a long time. I write about dreams I’ve remembered on waking, ideas that have come into my head for writing and other random thoughts. It’s useful to index the pages though. I didn’t at first and it took ages to find the ideas some months later. If things are bugging me or tasks are crowding my head I write them down the night before on any old scrap of paper….then I can throw it away!

  10. Virgoan Scribe says:

    I need to do morning pages – I seem to be carrying my worries with me all through my writing days lately – and it shows in my lack of output.
    This time I WILL try the morning pages routine instead of just saying ‘That sounds like a good idea’ and then not putting pen to 3 pieces of paper the next day.

  11. Downith says:

    Have never tried morning pages though have thought about it lots. Does that count?!

    We had our pup spayed last month. When the vet rang and said, “it went really well”, all I could think was “what else would she say?! Hope Bonnie recovering now at home.

  12. Hywela Lyn says:

    Really enjoyed our workshop at Chitern Writers, Helen. I think I need to do ‘morning pages’ too. I’ve just realised I’ve visited your blog before – I remember Bonnie and the horse. I’m a dog and horse lover! Hope Bonnie’s recovering. I understand completely how traumatised you must have felt. As you say, they trust us implicitely and it almost seems like a betrayal even though it’s for the best and much better than risking litters of unwanted puppies! Hopefully in a few weeks you’ll both have forgotten all about it.


    • Thanks Lyn, I enjoyed the workshop too! Bonnie is recovering well, thanks, although she is not impressed at having to wear one of those horrible lampshade collars! (we’ve tried to do without it but she goes straight to her wound and tries to lick/pull at her stitches, so obviously we’re having to keep it on). It’s going to be hard to keep her quiet and relatively ‘still’ for the next 10 – 14 days – eeek! But at the moment she’s still a bit woozy and sleepy so it’s not too bad.

  13. Wendy Clarke says:

    Oh, I know that look of trust on a dog’s face, Helen. Now sure how I would have felt having a hug from a stranger – I think I would have had one of those awkward statue moments!

  14. Hywela Lyn says:

    I’m glad Bonnie’s on the mend. I don’t know if it would work with her, but a child’s teeshirt put on over her head, with the bottom tied loosely in a knot at the back might be more acceptable than the ‘lampshade’. It was the perfect solution for my last little dog, when we had her spayed, although my current dog is male (neutered) so we haven’t had to worry about spayng stitches.

  15. Helen Lowry says:

    Hi Helen, glad Bonnie sounds so much better. My little gerbil, Pumpkin, died last week and I freely admit to shedding a few tears. Never done Morning Pages, but it sounds a very good idea. It might get rid of my stress and improve, well, restart the writing output!

  16. KH says:

    Hope Bonnie and you are soon feeling much better, Helen. Our animal friends are akin to our family so feeling for them and crying when we are concerned for their welfare goes hand in hand with that. I like the hug from a stranger. I hug people a lot although sometimes I know not everyone is comfortable with it I just can’t help it. My heart is always going out to others and their animals too. Kate Hogan

  17. KH says:

    Sorry to hear you lost Pumkin, your little Gerbil Helen (Lowry). Big distant hug for you from me. Kate Hogan

  18. Karen Naylor says:

    Have never tried Morning Pages, but it sounds like an excellent idea. I think I might do this from now on and order The Artists Way for my Kindle 🙂

  19. Keith Havers says:

    I do a bit of flow writing every now and then but never done Morning Pages. Might give it a go if I’ve got time, if I remember, if I can be bothered etc. Could do with a copy of that book though.

  20. philippabowe says:

    Helen, you’re really not a wuss, our animal companions are precious fellow beings and it’s normal to be emotionally attached to them. I hope Bonnie has recovered nicely. I did try reading The Artist’s Way a while back, I thought I would love it but for some reason it just really irritated me – maybe it was the mood at the time. Nevertheless, morning pages are clearly an excellent idea and I will try and establish that routine – I’m currently trying to swap my usual writing time from last thing at night, when exhausted and yearning for bed, to first thing in the morning with that initial burst of energy; pretty easy now in the school hols, but it will be sorely tested come September when it’s back to 6.15 am rising to get grumpy teens out of bed and to school….:-)

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