I Suck at Daily Morning Writing Exercises
By Karen Ballum on June 13, 2012
When I mention Julia Cameron or The Artist's Way, chances are one of the first things you will think of is morning pages. When I signed up for the My Artist's Way Toolkit, I was a bit hesitant. I knew that morning pages were part of the bargain, and I've never been good at them. After a few weeks of using the service I can tell you that I still suck at morning pages.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of morning pages, allow me to explain them to you. They aren't hard. Really. They are actually very easy to do. Simply put, morning pages are three pages of longhand writing that you do every morning. They don't need a theme or a structure. You just sit down and write whatever is in your head until you have three pages full of writing. It could be your to do list. It could be a dream that you had. It could be a very stream-of-consciousness log of everything that is happening around you, including the fact that you just need to be able to write your three pages without answering a bunch of questions from your husband.
Despite the fact that morning pages are not at all difficult, I suck at them. I haven't figured out when in the morning I'm supposed to them. My morning routine is as follows -- I roll out of bed, grab a glass of water and a cup of coffee, sit down in front of my computer and then do not leave for several hours. I start work early, and I've been operating this way for the last decade. The mornings I've tried to do morning pages before I sit down at the computer look a bit like this:
"I am writing morning pages. I should be at my computer. I should be working. OMG. I am behind. I can feel it. I'm going to feel like I'm behind in everything all day. I HATE FEELING BEHIND. I can't do this."
Um. Yeah. It's not quite the quiet meditative experience that Julia Cameron espouses. I understand why Julia Cameron loves morning pages, and I get that they allow us to start our day with clearer intentions. I can do them on the weekends. But during the week morning pages make me twitch.
I do, however, excel at afternoon pages. And evening pages. I love sitting down and writing three pages of whatever is in my head when I can relax to do it. When I don't feel like I'm putting my whole day's schedule behind, the words that come out aren't about how stressed I am about the fact that I'm falling behind. Sure, sometimes it's still just a list of to do items scrawled across those three pages, but sometimes there are gems. When I do my writing time in the afternoon or evening, I find things that could be stories or blog posts and I don't have the panic and stress in every line. I have been able to write regularly in a notebook in a way that I never could blog daily.
One of the joys and frustrations of the creative process is that it is unique to each of us. Morning pages work for Julia Cameron, and they don't for me. I am, however, grateful for the push to write daily. I don't always succeed in writing daily, but Julia and My Artist's Way Toolkit have made it so that I miss it when I don't.
Are you able to write morning pages? Do you write daily?BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.
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