Several years ago, I read — ok, I skimmed — The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In it, she proposes a creativity-building exercise of writing three pages in longhand immediately upon waking. She calls it “The Morning Pages.” I thought it sounded intriguing, but I am the least morning person you will ever meet. If I have time to write in the morning, that means I could be sleeping. Becoming a mom has made it even less likely that I’ll do the three pages first because most mornings I am awakened before my alarm by a little Fig asking for her “Papoo” (rhymes with cashew), also known as a pacifier. (We have no idea where she got that name from, but it’s so cute, I call it that too.) I can’t really put her off for 15 minutes while I sit down and write three pages of stream of consciousness babble.
So I’m adapting The Morning Pages into the Once-a-Day-when-I-Have-Time Pages. I’m still going to write them by hand because that’s one of the key components of the exercise. It forces you to slow down and connect with your thoughts. You’re meant to write things immediately as they come to your mind, no worries about grammar, syntax, or clarity. It’s supposed to help clear your mind so your creative ideas can come to the surface.
I’m starting this Thing tonight and I will continue for 30 days. It’s going to cut into my coloring or TV watching downtime, but I’m hoping the creative benefits will be worth the decrease in relaxation. I probably won’t share my Pages, unless there’s something especially funny or interesting.
I wanted to talk about one more Thing in this post: the Publication Thing. That’s the one where I submit something to publications over and over until it’s finally accepted. When I first thought of this Thing, I assumed that I would submit the essay I’ve been working on in the Laurie Notaro online workshop. But last week it occurred to me that my dream has always been to publish a poem. I haven’t written anything new in a long time so I might pull out the last thing I worked on and try to get it ready. Or I might write something completely new. I’m hoping these “morning pages” will help me get those creative gears going again and maybe a poem will come to mind. The idea of people judging my poetry makes me feel queasy, but the idea of seeing my poem published in a journal…. Well, I can’t let go of that dream. So, in the spirit of the Things, that’s what I’m going to do.
One thought on “The Morning Pages Thing”
If I had to write something first thing in the morning like one word, much less three pages, I have to purchase LOTS OF PENS, because I’d drop them as I fell back to sleep and either break them or lose them. Additionally, it would be difficult to read anything that I had put down on paper, because my drool would make it all squishy-runny and the paper all warped. Any creative impulses would be obliterated by my morning self. Oh I’ve tried to read my Bible and journal first thing in the morning with similar outcomes. Most Bible pages do NOT fair well with drool. Let me know how 3 pages anytime goes.