Thursday, December 15, 2016

In Praise of Morning Pages and Artist Dates

Hi everyone!  Please join me in welcoming author Joanne Guidoccio to Killer Hobbies today.  Joanne has published over 500 articles and reviews as well as three books, with a fourth to be released this spring.  This year she participated in NaNoWriMo 2016 and successfully finished her novel, due in part to time she spent on "artist dates."
Tell  us more, Joanne!
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 even to 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. Three of my novels have been traditionally published, and a fourth will be released in the spring of 2017.

In spite of this early productivity, my bouts of writer’s block became longer and more debilitating. To jump start my creativity, I decided to revisit The Artist’s Way and write my fifth novel during NaNoWriMo 2016.

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. For the first ten days of NaNoWriMo, I focused primarily on morning pages and the manuscript. As I approached the 20K benchmark, I experienced a growing restlessness and other symptoms of that dreaded writer’s block.

And then I saw the brochure advertising the Fall Fibres Fair in nearby Fergus, a short thirty-minute drive away. I spent a delightful Saturday afternoon chatting with artisans and admiring their diverse crafts, among them, spinning, weaving, and basketry.

Invigorated, I returned to my manuscript and reached the 30K benchmark a day earlier than anticipated. The following Saturday, I spend the afternoon at Fair November, a much larger fair showcasing the traditional and modern handmade crafts of over 80 artisans.

Midway between the 40K and 50K benchmarks, I participated in a Boxed Card workshop and produced two beautiful cards that I have proudly displayed and shown off to friends. I coasted to the 50K benchmark, thrilled to have broken my previous monthly record of 20K.

While I didn’t follow all of Julia’s rules—not such a bad thing—I did reap the benefits of those three artist dates. By immersing myself in new and different situations, I was able to replenish my inner well and fire up my imagination. In my morning pages, I’ve outlined several short stories and the beginnings of my NaNoWriMo 2017 project.


About A Season for Killing Blondes:
Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.


Buy Links
Amazon (United States) -
Kobo -

Bio In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne...


Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks for hosting me today, Tracy :)

Lori L. Robinett said...

Book looks interesting - adding it to my TBR List! I'm a big believer in The Artist's Way, too. I still do 3 pages of journaling a day, to keep the creativity flowing. The Artist Dates . . . I'm not so good at, but I think they're a great idea!

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks Lori! I've also found the Artist Dates challenging to plan and schedule, but I'm hooked now. :)

Barbara Bettis said...

I'm impressed with the activities you list--and the fact you do NaNoWriMo. Your book sounds terrific. Best of luck, Joanne.

Barbara Bettis said...

I'm impressed with the activities you list--and the fact you do NaNoWriMo. Your book sounds terrific. Best of luck, Joanne.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks for dropping by, Barbara. I took on the NaNoWriMo challenge not knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised by my achievement. I'm planning to participate next year. :)

Linda O. Johnston said...

Sorry I'm late welcoming you, Joanne, but glad you posted here!

brenda said...

Joanne, that is a wonderfully motivating story. I find her 'Right to Write' my perfect book of inspiration when my heart and head are clogged. I never was able to stay committed to the daily pages.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks Linda! I'm happy to be here. :)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Brenda, I also like "Right to Write" excellent pick-me-upper! Thanks for dropping by.