Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Sound of Paper by Julia Cameron

Reviewed by Marcie

This book is about writing. Well, really it's about all creative work and how artists of every trade have to keep doing what they do even when times get rough. The book is comprised of short essays and accompanying "Try This" ideas for writing, which makes it more interactive than most books. For example, the author will write about her home in New Mexico and the drought and how everyone keeps hope that it will rain. Then she connects her life experience to some aspect of creativity and that we need to have hope of a breakthrough even when we are experiencing brain blocks. The next page would be a "Try This" exercise that would say something about making a list of five or ten tiny ways the reader can continue to create even when times are rough.

In the beginning I adored this book. I enjoyed everyone of the essays and followed every "Try This" writing prompt. Actually, I think every "Try This" prompt is fantastic and guaranteed to give you something to write about. Unfortunately, the last half of the book (if not more) got boring because I felt like all the essays were about the same thing.

Verdict: Stick it on the shelf, but not for the essays; put it on the shelf for a "Try This" reference if ever you need a writing prompt.

Warnings: None.

A lesson for all of us: According to Julia Cameron, everyone would benefit from three things:
  1. Morning Pages. Every morning write three pages by hand. Vent, plan, praise, plot, complain, reflect. Doing this establishes routine and keeps us writing.
  2. Artist Dates. This is a solo experience that should be done weekly. Think mischief rather than mastery.
  3. Walks. Two or three times a week we should embark on a small walk to give us time to think and observe. At least once a week we should go on an hour-long walk or more.