I was first introduced to the concept of Morning Pages when the book The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron was recommended to me by a creative writing tutor. In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron insists that writing Morning Pages should form an integral part of the artist’s daily routine. So what you may ask, are Morning Pages? According to Cameron “Morning Pages do get us to the other side: the other side of our fear, of our negativity, of our moods.” Essentially Cameron asserts that the process of writing three pages in stream of consciousness, uninhibited and free to release all our inner most fears and feelings, including venting about the fight we had with our partner the evening before or lamenting about how the new boss hates us, should prove cathartic, leaving the artist unburdened and no longer distracted by the complexities of daily life.
Inspired by Cameron’s uncompromising belief in the usefulness of Morning Pages I embraced the concept and, for a month at least, committed to the task. I initially found writing every morning daunting, and rather than write freely I felt compelled to place my experiences, thoughts and feelings into context. However, determined to follow Cameron’s instructions to the letter I overcame the temptation to over think what I was writing and simply wrote what came to mind. Once finished I would immediately feel better and the very process of putting my inner most feelings down on paper seemed to expel some of the toxic, ego based emotions that had dominated my conscious and unconscious thoughts for weeks previous.
Soon after beginning to write Morning Pages I experienced several revelations relating to my writing. These insights enabled me to truly understand some of the issues that had forced me into a place of artistic stagnation. Just as Morning Pages had helped me to flush out feelings relating to my personal life, I felt able to work through some specific problems that were blocking the development of the novel that I was working on. Admittedly, my commitment to Morning Pages did not last long and I soon found that I could not (or was unwilling to) fit it into my day. A poor excuse I know and even now I tell myself that it would be no great feat to wake up half an hour earlier or possibly, despite Cameron’s stance that Morning Pages be written in the morning, write my Morning Pages in the afternoon when I have a bit of spare time.
That said and whilst I would encourage all artists to give Morning Pages a go, I do not feel that my writing has suffered as a result of abandoning the ritual. To the contrary, my writing, especially the novel that I am working on, has gone from strength to strength. I think that this is due in part to the fact that since reading The Artist’s Way I have connected with fellow writers with whom I can share experiences and setbacks, and I continue to draw inspiration from successful authors and writing enthusiasts.
Ultimately, I have arrived at the conclusion that books like The Artist’s Way and tasks like Morning Pages, may prove useful to artists in terms of motivation and encouraging a sense of discipline. However, whilst a variety of techniques can be used to assist the writer, no technique can substitute that which reflects the one and only route to publication, write write write!
Written by Michelle Shakespeare @ www.ready2write.co.uk
Read my previous blog here: http://mshakepeare.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/the-daily-slog-of-writing.html
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