When I talk about doing morning pages — which I do kind of a lot — I often get questions about how it’s done and how I work with them.
I don’t feel like I quite do it in the same way that Julia Cameron, who introduced morning pages to the world in her book The Artist’s Way, does them, but it works for me.
What Julia Cameron Says about Morning Pages
Morning pages are considered one of the “basic tools” in Cameron’s ideal creative — or recovering creative — life. You write three pages, longhand, on real paper, every day.
She says the point is just the writing, getting out everything that “stands between you and your creativity.” It’s a way of quieting your censor because you’re just going to write anyway.
Cameron says the pages are essential to get us to
the other side of our fear, of our negativity, of our moods. Above all, they get us beyond our Censor. Beyond the reach of the Censor’s babble we find our own quiet center, the place where we hear the still, small voice that is at once our creator’s and our own.
My Morning Pages
I don’t know that I’ve gotten to the still, small voice, but I do feel like the pages are good for me. They give me a place to go, a place to rest, a place to get things out that I just need to get out of my brain.
I do try to do them in the morning, before I take the girl to school if I can. It doesn’t always work that way, and I still consider afternoon pages to be better than no pages at all.
I’m pretty firm on the three pages. I write in a spiral notebook, usually college ruled because I write big and it feels like less work that way.
I write whatever’s on my mind. Even if I have to write “I don’t know what to write about.”
There’s a lot of whining in mine, about being tired or resisting some work I have to do.
Many days it reads like a to do list. Literally I’ll just write “when I get home I need to start some laundry, then work out a write a blog post…”
It drives me crazy when it’s like that, but I know it’s still important to get through them, even when I feel like I have nothing to say.
[Tweet “Morning pages can be whiny, insightful, frustrating and fun. I think they’re essential.”]
Sometimes an insight will come out of nowhere that will spark a blog post.
Sometimes I go into the pages thinking about something I want to write and will end up drafting a post in my notebook. That’s where I think I deviate from Cameron because I don’t think she’d approve of me writing with a particular purpose.
I started rereading the last year or so of morning pages recently, and while I still have a long way to go, I have been finding some gems in there. Sometimes it’s ideas for things to craft, sometimes it’s the outline for an ebook or an article idea.
Sometimes it’s just a little phrase that catches me with its truth, like
I need to build spaces for calm into my day, whatever that looks like.
Sounds like I was already working on simplify and I didn’t even know it.
Do you do morning pages or timed writing in the morning? I’d love to hear how you use it.