Julia Cameron knocked some sense into me.
As a writer, the terms “ego” and “inner critic” can be scary and overwhelming. We want to perform and write our little hearts out. We want to share brilliance and magic. We want to hit the best-sellers lists and see our photo on the back of a book jacket. We want to be the writer without always having to do the work.
Why? The work is scary. The work is vulnerable. The work is… work. Or, is it?
A conversation between Waylon Lewis and Julia Cameron had me nodding and smiling, and yes, it knocked a little good sense into me as well.
She reminded me of the mindful methods we have at our disposal to listen to that inner critic inside and simply keep the pen moving. A critic doesn’t have to be an enemy to our practice. Her personal story of finding her way toward writing in the spirit of service is a beautiful reminder for us all, writers or not.
As Waylon summarized: writing, at its heart, is not about writing—but about listening, about finding our voice, about being of benefit—a spiritual path of catharsis, of turning confusion to wisdom.
Watch a clip of the conversation below, or watch it in full.
These handful of quotes from Ms. Cameron herself were highlights for me:
“What you say to your critic is, ‘Ah, thank you for sharing.’ and you turn your critic from a voice of doom and gloom into a little cartoon character. And the cartoon character can be as negative as it wants and you can step past it.” ~ Julia Cameron
“You may start off wanting to sound ‘good’ but pretty soon you’ll find yourself wanting to sound ‘honest.'” ~ Julia Cameron
“We’re learning to be imperfect and to be perfect in being imperfect.” ~ Julia Cameron
“We welcome our whimsical thoughts.” ~ Julia Cameron
“Writing is not so much about thinking something up as it is about taking something down. It becomes a listening process rather than a process of the ego.” ~ Julia Cameron
“I found that when I wrote from a spirit of service I was a better writer.” ~ Julia Cameron