Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Morning Pages

  If you've been around the writing or arts community for any length of time, you've probably heard of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way or Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones at least in passing.  Both of them recommend doing morning pages - an exercise in daily stream of consciousness writing, a kind of moving meditation, to get the brain unstuck and the creative juices flowing.  (Here is Julia Cameron's more detailed description of morning pages.)

The main thing, really, is not to get too stuck on specifics. If you'd rather type them, type them. If it's easier to fit them in before you fall asleep at night, do them then.  There's magic in them whether you do them "right" or not.  And, over time, they begin to their work.

 Since it is late, and my brain is too tired to think clearly, I am going to offer up a bit of my own stream of consciousness thoughts on the subject done just now as part of my belated morning pages entry, rather than trying to wax on coherently on the topic.

What do I tell them about morning pages?  Morning pages are stream of consciousness at their most dizzying. Without an anchor of topic beyond the fluffed up brain stuff meandering endlessly on repeat between the ears.  You are guaranteed the mother of all rollercoaster rides if you keep them up.  Sure there are pages, there are days, there are endless repetitive riffs of boring stuff and nonsense conversations  with yourself you wish you could get out of.  It is the other stuff, the unexpected gems that you are panning for in among the gravel and the dirt.  And oh, how shocking, and surprising, and glittering they can be. 

I started them "seriously" somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen months ago (Jan 2013).  Before that, I'd started them ... an unknown number of times.  Without success. I put too much weight on them.  I thought they had to be good. I thought they had to be quality. Forget that. That just gets in the way.

Since then, they've become  a life line. A way of getting words out on the page.  Who knew half of "writer's block" is having too many stopped up, un-thought, unspoken words crammed up in all the nooks and crannies of the brain and chest and heart until there's no space for them to move, let alone come pouring out on the page.

So now I do them; and life and art and I go better.  My black gel pen and my battered wide ruled composition books and my stolen minutes, not always in the morning or even all at once.


If you don't keep them now, I dare you to try them for three months.  You'll be amazed at what they come to mean to you, even when they literally say "nothing".


  1. Morning Pages sounds like just what I have been looking for. I will be starting soon. Thanks for sharing. Visiting via the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

  2. Oh awesome! I'd love to hear how you find them after you've tried them for awhile.