Julia Cameron is the author of a bestselling trilogy on the creative process-The Artist’s Way; Walking in This World; and Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance
In each one of these books, she starts out asking the reader to make a commitment to using a basic, but powerful tool: Morning Pages.
Morning pages have been a part of my life off and on for many years. What are morning pages? They are simply three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing usually done upon awakening-whenever that may be for you. It could even be done after a nap.
There is no right or wrong way to do morning pages. Just let it flow. These pages are just for you. Nobody else is allowed to read them. So let loose and dump it all out on your 8.5 by 11 pages.
Don’t know what to write? Then write that you don’t know what to write or have anything to say and how that makes you feel and blah, blah, blah… off you go. Just get that hand moving across the page and write whatever comes to mind. Nothing is too stupid, silly, petty, whiney or weird. Just write three pages… and then do it again the next day.
I’ve used this process at other times of the day, as well. Just recently I used it to bust through a great big ball of fear I had created around writing the web content for a new program I wanted to offer my niche. It is something I feel passionate about and I was stuck. Frozen in my fear. Nasty brain chatter telling me no one will be interested, natter, natter, natter. After a few deep breaths, I grabbed up a pen and started pouring it all out on paper. It started out pretty pathetic but as I kept writing, I soon came around to knowing that I was on the right track. It didn’t take long for that great big ball of fear to fade away.
Another morning pages modification I use is stream-of-consciousness mind-mapping. I write my theme or problem in the middle of the page and circle it. Then I just free-flow words onto the page around the theme, circle those words, and draw lines and arrows connecting the relationships between the concepts. It sounds and looks pretty messy, but it results in much more clarity and direction for me.
When people ask Julia, “Why do we write morning pages?” She says it is to get to the other side of our fear, our negativity, and beyond the reach of our internal censor, which tends to reside in our Logic brain-to move us from our neat, linear logic brain and into our creative artist brain where all things are possible.
So, how does clarity come from writing longhand, stream-of-consciousness pages every morning? They are immediate. We are grounded in the “now” of our lives. We drain away our negativity and in clearing out the gunk, we gain a clearer picture of where we are and where we want to go. Try it for at least 30 days. It works.