The Narrative Time Line
(The Right to Write, Julia Cameron)
Cameron assigns this activity to her writing classes, along with Morning Pages. The Narrative Time Line is a "longhand, autobiographical account" of your life, best written in five year intervals. "Grab a new notebook, your fastest pen, and preferably a writing buddy," Cameron writes. Prepare to write for one hour, and when you set pen to paper, focus on the major events and people in your life. Try to avoid delving into too much emotional detail (you'll have the opportunity to do that in another activity!) Cameron recommends this activity should be completed in several sessions over a period of one month.
What's the point? "What arises from this exercise," Cameron says, "is a sense of fascination and self worth regarding the events of one's life. Inevitably, certain episodes and people beg for deeper writing than the mere facts will allow." These incidents and people will form the basis for another writing opportunity later on.
"The rewards of the Narrative Time Line are enormous," she goes on. It helps you win a version of yourself that is "self-determined and autonomous." You can "make connections that have eluded you," even in years of therapy. And, you may discover that your own life contains some fascinating material!
I'm off to my favorite cafe, new notebook and pen in hand to begin my own Narrative Time Line. Grab yourself a second cup of coffee or tea and join me, won't you?