• Morning Pages
The concept of Morning Pages is founded on a few observations from a writer who discovered her secret for creative writing. Julia Cameron describes this process of writing in her book called, The Artist Way. She had been writing for several years before she stumbled onto her creative writing process. She noticed her best writing occurred in the morning. Her editing worked best in the afternoons, and she would read in the evenings.
What emerged was the discipline of writing three pages every morning. These were hand-written pages, about nothing in particular, at first. She just started with what was happening to her and began to ramble on with no agenda, rhyme or reason—just a conscious stream of uninterrupted thought.
This was a lot like one might write a letter, fully expressing oneself with little or no thought about editing, grammar or spelling. She discovered as she began collecting pages of written work that within those pages were articles, short stories and anecdotes and narratives about her daily life experience. She would write three pages and stop.
Later she would go back and began the task of editing, sorting and bunching thoughts together that became another draft or copy, suitable for the beginnings of good written work. At first, the writing discipline was merely the daily exercise to experience creativity. It was tapping into that flow of conscious thought by moving the pen script in the moment, no matter what it turned out to be. She was really trying to ignore any negative thought that would judge or deny the creative process from finding expression. Basically, this is the difference between the left and right brain in writing. The exercise forces the right hemisphere to stay focused, while ignoring interruptions from the left hemisphere, which is the more judgmental and critical side.
After a few years, I have discovered that some of my best writing is also in done in the morning. I have found a subject or theme, idea, thought or something of interest to write about. My goal is to write one page the same way, just a stream of consciousness written without regard to how it comes out. I call this my “first draft.” Later, I come back to edit, wordsmith, to format, to check spelling and to consolidate my thoughts.
Here is the Challenge: Try to set aside some time every morning to write some morning pages. Perhaps you just write one page at first, or more on mornings that you have more time.
The discipline is just staying with it day after day. Often I write from an observation from my daily experience or I draw from conversations with my students. Then I formulate a written dialogue with them in my mind. Writing one page really works for me. My first draft is just that…my first draft. I use the principles of Fast Write. I leave it and come back and develop the draft, still keeping it to one page. The more you do this, the easier it becomes to write. For me, writer’s block is really gone now. No judgments are allowed for the first draft. It is always terrible. The second and third drafts are for improvements.
It just works!