When I began reading The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, I also began her recommended daily practice of writing morning pages. Since then, a little more than 6 months have past, and they have become a key part of my life. I’ve become accustomed to waking up early each morning to write three pages longhand straight from my stream of consciousness, for my eyes only.
They’re intended to be as whiny or petty or angry as they need to be that day. (And sometimes they are.) Whatever comes out, no judgment. Getting all that crap down on the page and off your mind is the goal. It lets you get on with the rest of your day and your creative endeavors without all that weighing on you.
“Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.” ~Ingrid Bengis
My morning pages don’t always happen in the morning. That’s the goal, but what’s important is that they happen. Sometimes I finish them right as the clock strikes midnight. Sometimes I write them on a plane or in the airport waiting to board one. Sometimes I write a little more or a little less. “There’s no wrong way to do morning pages,” according to Cameron, and I take her at her word.
Early on in the process, I scribbled down the following words about the act of writing morning pages, and it’s effect on my writing:
“Another morning begins on my couch with a coffee cup in hand, the warmth (and caffeine) starting to wake up my brain and course through the rest of my senses. This is a great way to start the day. I’ve come to really look forward to it, the freedom to write whatever and the flow of recording it by hand. I want to do this forever. I’m a clear, better person when I do this. I’ve also begun to notice how my writing’s changing. Starting where you are — physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, biologically — helps make my writing more descriptive, more interesting.”
In addition, the mere fact of always trying to squeeze these pages into my day has freed me from the hang ups of thinking that I need to be in a certain place or in a certain mood to write. I don’t and never really did.
“Morning pages map our own interior. Without them, our dreams may remain terra incognito. I know mine did. Using them, the light of insight is couple with the power for expansive change. It is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, month after month, without being moved to constructive action. The pages lead us out of despair and into undreamed-of solutions.” ~Julia Cameron
Morning pages are meditative, but they’re also a safe place to rest and explore on the page. They’re recommended for anyone who wants to live life more creatively or intentionally — writers and non-writers alike. To say that they’ve changed my life isn’t hyperbole at all.
Over the last six months, I’ve written for more days than I haven’t. Today is my 90th day in a row. I made it through the holidays, some work travel, a trip to Tahoe, and into the new year. I didn’t start out expecting anything, but from this habit have come the start of posts you’ll see here over the coming months, other ideas and creative projects, and a much clearer sense of who I am and what I want.
So now I don’t want to break the chain.
It’ll happen at some point, but in the short term, I’ll stick to being fanatical about it.