Morning pages are three pages of writing (long hand) anything that comes to your head. Julia Cameron suggests that you make Morning Pages a practice that you keep every day while you are working through The Artist's Way, and hopefully, beyond.
When I first read about Morning Pages, my first thoughts were...Everyday? 3 pages? Only by hand? She's GOT to be kidding! What will I write about?
The point to Morning Pages isn't to write incredible, novel-quality prose. The writing you do in your Morning Pages may not even be suitable for a letter to a friend! It's the little bits and pieces that run around in your head out of control. The words may not even piece together into full sentences. What you write doesn't have to make sense to any person on the face of the planet -- or even to yourself a few days later.
I compare Morning Pages to my morning shower. While I'm not visually dirty in the morning, I feel refreshed and ready for my day after taking a shower. Your shower takes care of your body. Morning Pages is a shower for your heart, mind, and soul. There's no visible "dirt," but there might be something under the surface that needs attention. Or maybe a dream or two looking for a place to land. Or maybe a list of things you want to get done during the day. Or just random thoughts that plague you like a song you can't get out of your head.
When you start doing Morning Pages, you'll be surprised at the things you find lurking within. And, just as you feel refreshed when you step out of the shower, your mind, heart, and soul will feel refreshed after writing Morning Pages. You will walk a little lighter. Your mind will be more focused on the task(s) at hand. Your thinking will be more clear. Your heart will be open -- so you may find yourself more patient or less irritated with the day's events.
Tips and Techniques
---Choose a format that will work for you.---
• Start with a beat-up old spiral notebook if you are afraid of messing up the pages of a pretty journal.
• If you are afraid of someone seeing what you have written, use a notepad. When you are finished writing your three pages, tear them off the pad and tear them into several pieces and throw them away.
• If you dread the thought of writing long hand, use the computer. Personally, I know that I can type much faster than I can write. I can get more down typing. And if you are worried about privacy, put your morning pages on a website that can be privatized. I have a website on Tripod that is password protected.
• Be choosy about your pen and paper. I have friends who love the way a special pen feels gliding across paper. This tactile pleasure keeps them writing.
• Try one format. If that doesn't work for you, try another format. Make a change that will allow you to keep up the Morning Pages rather than dropping them completely.
---Choose a comfortable setting.---
• Is there a window in your house that has a great view. Julia mentioned writing from a window where she could see Taos Mountain. That would definitely be my choice, if I had it!
• Where are you the most comfortable in your house. If you don't have a comfortable spot where you can go to write, create one! You don't need an entire room. All you need is a chair that suits you, and a hard surface to write on. If you need to get away from the "traffic" in your house, find a quiet corner for your chair. I've heard of women who put their comfy chair in the laundry room. The hum of the washer or drier drowns out the other noises in the house. And, no one will come to find you in the laundry room for fear of you putting them to work!
• To make your writing spot more inviting, surround yourself with a few things that inspire. Sometimes I enjoy lighting a candle when I write. Having one of my creations nearby is helpful, too. Or, since I don't have a view of a beautiful mountain, having pictures on the wall that allow me to put myself at some other place, like the ocean, is really helpful for me.
---What if I'm not a morning person?---
Morning really is the best time for morning pages. Or, if you work the night shift, whatever time you get up to start your day would be more appropriate for you. I have tried playing with the time I write. If I wait until the evening, I don't find it as helpful. Plus, I find myself recording the events of the day. I feel exhausted because I'm living through all the days events a second time!
---Tips for Finding Morning Time---
It can be very difficult to make time for Morning Pages every morning, especially if you have a houseful of children that need to be readied for school.
• Try getting up just a half hour or 20 minutes earlier. This gives you 20-30 minutes of quiet time before the house comes alive.
• You may have a few minutes after the children get on the bus.
• You may find 15 minutes in a coffee shop on your way to work gives you the time you need to write, and, will add to the pleasure.
• Taking 15 minutes before you start your work routine may be the time for you. You may think it will cause you to stay later at work to get everything accomplished. I can almost guarantee that you will be surprised to find that you are finished with work even earlier than if you hadn't taken the time to write your Morning Pages. Your head it just that much clearer that you can do your job more efficiently and effectively.
Morning is best for Morning Pages because it allows you to clear the fog in your brain. You'll notice affects more readily. But, if the choice is to do Morning Pages at another time or not do Morning Pages at all, do it at another time. But if you can ever find the time to squeeze Morning Pages into your morning routine, take the opportunity, even it is only once in a blue moon.
Please stop by the message boards and share you own strategies for writing Morning Pages. Or, share your struggles. Just posting your challenges may help you find a way to meet them. Plus, others may have suggestions that will work for you.