The Beauty of Morning Pages

When I first read the concept of Morning Pages, I was in. Julia Cameron (author of The Artist’s Way) writes in The Sound of Paper-“that Morning Pages are the pivotal tool of a successful creative life”. She goes on to explain that three pages of longhand writing about anything and everything is considered Morning Pages. They can literally be anything: hopes, plans, random thoughts, fuming rants, grumbles or accolades. Upon reading this almost a decade ago, I already wrote on a frequent basis in my journal so this made sense. I had already discovered that the more I wrote, the more me I felt…..the more well oiled I was. It was a sort of priming I had learned to do long ago and had served me well. I had however not tied this act and the daily importance of it to my creative life. So this made perfect sense. If I just stuck to this and wrote…anything everyday I would be ready to really write at a moments notice. I would be ready in season and out.
The first obstacle with this of course is time. Time oh time, where will I find the time. And the answer of course like with anything worthy needing of your time is; you make it. For me that looks like having my laptop charged and “out”. It is within arms reach when I am most likely to pick it up; in the early morning when I sip my tea. I battle, like most mothers, the never ending pull to tidy and get something done. So if this laptop I am writing on right now is near me I am more likely to pick it up and begin typing than if I have to step over all those things I need to do in order to get it. It is as simple as saying no once to the never ending pull or saying no many times. Just because my will can say no many times doesn’t mean I need the exhaustion of it. Leaving the laptop “out” helps me do this. When I get the itch to write I just grab it and begin…often it is a quick 10 minutes. But in these precious 10 minutes I am able to hammer out a blog post, a poem, or even just have a much needed conversation with myself. Its amazing…thank you laptop.
And so it is I begin most mornings after the chores are complete, sitting-laptop within eyeshot ready to think, to wonder and to write. I also choose to type during this time rather than physically write. This was a sad transition for me as I love my handwritten journal and I do still use is occasionally but I found immediately when I made the switch how much more I could process and get out by typing instead of physically writing. For me and my life the switch was necessary and life-giving.
The other thing I love about morning pages beside the cheer practical genius of it, is simply the way it sounds in my head. Morning pages…like an elegant dip into enchanted waters. Morning pages like a showering of pure shimmer from the heavens. Aaahh, its nice; and surely I must let that light in that is morning pages.
But stepping aside from the esoteric notions there is of course the pure practical beauty of writing each day. I am certain I am not alone when I say the inner monologue I compose most days only grows on the days I allow for poetic murmurs and musing to bubble up. One way to allow for these is to simply set the tone of the day by letting whatever is in there bubble up onto the written page as you wake. Some days I only have a few small and already defeated words to say, but it keeps me oiled just putting them down. Julia says to aim for three pages each morning along with a healthy dose of walking outdoors as well as an artist’s date, which she describes as “a sacred time to nurture our creative consciousness.” These combined are like strawberries and fine cheese….when together they create something altogether new and inspiring that they alone could not do.
Now a word on how motherhood fits into all of this. Well it must. If you are a writer….and you know who you are…you peculiar observer, you people watcher and elaborate thinker you. You must know that the writer in you does not sleep or wait while precious littles nibble at your chest or wander from your sight. It is not dormant, but longs to breath in the exhausting but magical air around you as you run to kiss a bumped knee and stir another bowl of steaming oatmeal to perfect temperature. We say things like, “I’ll get to it one day.” But today the pages are lost that are not written. Because the thoughts and unique perspective you encase today cannot time travel, sleep will wipe the slate, and yesterdays musings will be lost.
There are so many valid reasons why writing should wait…I know. But they lie. They mix the lies with guilt and finely crafted to do lists and watch slyly as you take the bait whole each day like the good mother you are. I offer a different perspective. The perspective that to indeed be a truly great mother you might instead give your child the whole you that you are and that includes writer, artist, maker, or whomever you are. Write! Write about your children’s chubby smile for three pages or vent your frustrations to the unseen friend on the page with tabs and tabs of listening skills. Write about how this sucks and how many other things you should be doing instead of pushing dust into your keyboard. Just write wherever you are and do it everyday.
I will be there with you there under shimmering light.
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