I have been blogging for a few months about my experience of The Artist’s Way programme by Julia Cameron. I may not have finished drafting my novel yet, but I am finding it a great creative outlet to use Morning Pages. Put simply, you try and write three handwritten pages each morning. She gives you prompts for each chapter and I would recommend her book to go into the process in depth. But here is my realistic guide to writing Morning Pages even though life gets in the way.
Step One: Wake and Write
Mum life means I do not get to rise on my own steam and reach straight for a pen. I am usually woken by the juggernaut that is my son. You know what they say “I’m up from son rise to son down.”
This mean I do not complete my morning pages at first light with a cup of herbal tea, the birds singing. Instead I have no option but to get him entertain himself first. This is a lot of effort and involves being asked several times where the blue pen is or being sat upon. Cute, but annoying if you are supposed to be staying in a steam of consciousness flow. If he lets me sit to them, it is already thirty minutes after I have woken and I have started to notice the jobs I have to do around the house. It’s hardly surprising that I often end up writing them with Peppa Pig on in the background.
Step Two: Write Everything Down
Although Cameron prompts you, she also advises that you should write down all the thoughts you have as you write “This is annoying,” or “I haven’t got time” or “This is so dirty.” Not dirty thoughts, of course, but just wondering why the arm of the sofa looks almost blackened and how to get that off. It is not surprising that these thoughts preoccupy me because I have shoe-horned in my morning pages when I am already trying to complete my daily to do list in the hour before I have to get ready to take him to school or going to work. And as I wrote here, this means I have a lot of thoughts about home interrupting my visions of creative life that she wants me to reflect upon.
Step Three: Don’t Re-Read
There are points where you are asked to review your thoughts and reflect on your “creative recovery” but otherwise the stream of consciousness is to get all your fears down. I suppose by putting them down, they free you when you do come to the page to write (or paint, or do anything creative you want to do.) This has only sort have worked for me.
It must be how my mind works that in the past I have always used a journal to make lists, set goals or write reminders. Perhaps you are supposed to be so inspired that you remember your intention but for me, I need to refer back all the time to what I wrote in the morning.
This might be as simple as write blog post about wedding rings (coming soon!) or also quotes that I have like that have inspired me. Although I did designate one notebook for the pages, I feel the need to have a secondary journal and this blog as well of course to gather my reflections and write down the inspiration I find.
Step Four: Keep it Secret
Well I haven’t shared everything, but I have definitely been sharing my thoughts on this blog and I have been telling everyone I can in the #WritingCommunity about Morning Pages. I find that your ideas start to spill out into real life anyway. That you start to share the joy you find on your creative journey and on completing Artist’s Dates (more ideas on this soon). This means though you do not pass on your Morning Pages for anyone to read, I can hardly say that I keep it a secret. The risk of course is that you may meet criticism, derision maybe but so far that has been the case.
Step Five: Do it Imperfectly
My final piece of advice is not care less what they look like or whether you actually wrote them on the bus because you ran out of time. Don’t worry that you miss days or write afternoon pages instead. You are doing it for you and although I seen some beautiful bullet journals and journalling online, it is not that. It is as scribbled as you like. It is as rushed as it has to be. It is being as honest with yourself as you dare.
If you dare to be imperfect you will overcome the fears you have. Yes of course I have a pretty notebook because I am a stationary hoarder but it doesn’t have to look like those ones you seen online. It’s just three pages every day. It’s a simple process and you can do it as imperfectly as me.