Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Joanne Guidoccio In Praise of Morning Pages and Artist Dates #giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 5 comments

Joanne Guidoccio is guesting with a post mentioning  one of my personal favorite inspirations  - Julia Cameron and morning pages She's also offering a chance to win a 10.00 Amazon Gift card. Joanne writes seasoned heroines in women's fiction, fantasy, and in cozy mysteries. I read the first Gilda Greco mystery and loved it. I'm looking forward to reading more.
In Praise of Morning Pages and Artist Dates

In 1992, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Hoping to inspire and motivate my inner writer, I spent an entire weekend devouring the book and then decided to incorporate morning pages and artist dates into my life.
That enthusiasm fizzled after only one week.

At the time, I was in the thick of my career and personal life. Busy with course preps, curriculum meetings, extra-curricular activities, and family health issues, I found myself unable to even consider adding one more activity to my schedule.

Fast forward to 2008.

I retired and started to write, following the dictates of my well-honed left brain (I’m a math teacher). Over 500 of my articles and book reviews appeared in online and print publications. Five of my novels have been traditionally published, and a sixth WIP awaits me.

In spite of this productivity, I have experienced several bouts of writer’s block during this decade of retirement.

To jumpstart my creativity during one prolonged hiatus, I decided to revisit The Artist’s Way. To my delight and surprise, I successfully incorporated Julia’s suggestions into my daily regimen and have maintained the momentum for the past two years.

I started with morning pages, “three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness.” Some days, I would go beyond three pages, other days I barely got one page done. But I didn’t fret about those details. Instead, I kept Julia’s advice in mind: “There is no wrong way to do morning pages.”

Artist dates—setting aside two hours weekly for a solo activity that adds to my creative consciousness—were more challenging. While many of Julia’s suggestions—take a long walk, visit an artist supply’s shop, go cloud watching, fly a kite—sounded easy and doable, I knew that I needed more stimulating activities.   

Hoping to find possible “Artist Date” activities, I started reading notices on bulletin boards and the Events sections of local papers. One afternoon, I noticed a brochure advertising a Fall Fibres Fair in nearby Fergus, a short thirty-minute drive away. I spent a delightful Saturday afternoon chatting with artisans and admiring the different crafts, among them, spinning, weaving, and basketry.

The following week, I spent the afternoon at Fair November, a much larger fair showcasing the traditional and modern handmade crafts of over 80 artisans.

Later in the month, I participated in a Boxed Card workshop and produced two beautiful Christmas cards that I have proudly displayed and shown off to friends.

While I didn’t follow all of Julia’s rules—not such a bad thing—I did reap the benefits of those early artist dates and gained the confidence to schedule at least one date each month. By immersing myself in new and different situations, I am able to replenish my inner well and fire up my imagination. In my morning pages, I continue to vent and experiment with ideas for articles, short stories, and future series.


While not usually a big deal, one overlooked email would haunt teacher Gilda Greco. Had she read it, former student Sarah McHenry might still be alive.

Suspecting foul play, Constable Leo Mulligan plays on Gilda’s guilt and persuades her to participate in a séance facilitated by one of Canada’s best-known psychics. Six former students also agree to participate. At first cooperative and willing, their camaraderie is short-lived as old grudges and rivalries emerge. The séance is a bust.

Determined to solve Sarah’s murder, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers shocking revelations that could put several lives—including her own—in danger. Can Gilda and the psychic solve this case before the killer strikes again?


Jim whistled. “You sure don’t like it easy. With all your millions, you’d think this crap could somehow miss landing on you. But you do seem to attract it.” He chuckled. “Might be something to address with a therapist or maybe the psychic you’ve just met.”

“I didn’t just meet Cassandra. I got to know her and her parents very well during those seven months I taught in Parry Sound. They’re good people.” I could tell by his tone that he was dismissive of Cassandra’s psychic powers. While I was also skeptical, I did feel the urge to defend her. She had been so sincere and so open. I couldn’t fathom the notion of Cassandra faking or putting on the airs of a psychic. It wasn’t in her nature to be deceitful.

“I’m sure they are,” Jim said. “But let’s face some facts here. Most psychics need to make a living. I don’t doubt this lady has some intuitive ability—as many women do—but I don’t think it’s enough to catch a murderer. The constable is grasping at straws. What did you say his name was?”

“Leo. Leo Mulligan.”

“Tall, dark-haired guy. Good-looking and a bit of a rascal.”

“He’s evolved.” I immediately regretted my response. Knowing Jim, he would pounce and tease me.

“And you’re interested,” Jim said, chuckling. “What does your boyfriend think about this cozy reunion you’re having with a more evolved constable?”


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A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio


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