Friday, June 12, 2015

The Sound of Paper by Julia Cameron

My morning pages journal
The Sound of Paper

I find that mornings are the best time for reading anything that has to do with writing or art or creativity in general. I have had a copy of Julia Cameron's The Sound of Paper (I love the title!) sitting unread on my shelves for many years and after revisiting The Artist's Way recently, I decided to use it as a daily meditation.

The chapters are short, personal essays reflecting on the writing life followed by a "Try This" exercise. Before beginning, Ms. Cameron reiterates three creative tools introduced in The Artist's Way: morning pages, artist dates, and walks. 

The essays begin while she is living in an apartment in Manhattan in the spring and continue after she moves to spend the summer at her house in New Mexico. Each essay usually starts out with  a description of the weather or the room in which she is writing or the view out her window. She uses these essays to reflect on staying the course, showing up to the work (no matter if one is a writer or painter or lyricist), being resilient, expanding creative horizons, and so much more. She sometimes ties the subject of the essay to the rain or the dry wind or the temperature outside. 

I rather liked these seasonal reports and glimpses into her life in the city and in the desert. As I sat at my desk each morning reading one of the essays, I could easily picture her at her desk each morning writing it.

Her thoughts are clear and the stories of her experiences and those of other artists are inspiring.

After writing my morning pages I would read an essay and if I wanted to write out one of the exercises I would do it right then. Or, maybe I would just spent a few minutes thinking about it. Here is an example:

Try this: Make a list of five tiny changes you can make to improve the serenity and clarity of your environment.


Try this: List five ways you can increase your commitment to the continuity and structure of your day.

This is not a book that you would want to just sit down one afternoon and read. It is better used as a daily prompt to thinking about your dedication to your art. 

As a bonus, I loved the calming cover of the book with its artwork of soaring white cranes. A pleasant image to meditate upon, don't you agree?


  1. This sounds like a compelling writing companion, Belle. I think I will look for it.

    1. Penny, when I first bought this book I sat down and started to read it all at once. It is much better taken one chapter at a time and giving yourself time to reflect. This is a much gentler Julia Cameron than when she wrote 'The Artist's Way'. I really enjoyed it.

  2. I do agree, and I have a well-loved copy of this book on my shelf with lots of little tape flags sticking out of it. Hope you continue to enjoy it!

    1. Hi, Kathy. This book is best taken a chapter at a time with space for reflection. Now that I have read through it once, I will certainly return to it. I love the image of all the little flags noting your favorite passages!