2016 was not a good writing year for me. I barely journaled, I barely blogged, and I didn’t touch any of the book projects I had been working on. There was so much going on around me and I never took the time to put any of it on paper. I will forever regret it.
I promised myself that after the wedding, I’d get back in the saddle and pick up a pen and make up for lost time as best as I could. So when I was deciding what my morning routine should consist of, I knew journaling had to be one of the things I’d get done in the A.M.. However, just like everything else in my morning routine, that was much easier said than done. If you’re a writer, you know how hard it can be to get back in swing when you’ve been out of practice for so long.
One morning, I had crawled back into bed after the hubby left for work. I was cold and my bed was warm and soooooooo comfy. No desire to get back up. Scrolling through Pinterest on my phone, I thought about writing and how I needed to get my butt out of bed and in a chair at my desk. I randomly remembered this thing called Morning Pages. I’d read about awhile ago but had never tried it. So I did a search on Pinterest. A billion posts came up. People taking about why you should do Morning Pages, how to do Morning Pages, what notebooks and pens to use for your Morning Pages, and how Morning Pages had revolutionized their life. For some reason that inspired me. I got out of bed before my brain could convince me to roll over and doze off and sat down at my desk. After a few more perusals of blog posts, I was itching to try it myself. I knew that if I didn’t do something to jumpstart my writer’s brain, I would be stuck for another year! I decided I had to give it a shot.
In the piles of notebooks I lugged into my new place, I didn’t have a single brand new one. So, again, before my brain could tell me to stay inside and enjoy some peppermint tea, I threw some clothes on, ran my fingers through my hair and drove to Walmart. I found something cute and cheap with lined pages and brought it back home to my desk.
I reviewed the rules. They were simple: write 3 pages without stopping. Don’t edit. Just write whatever comes to mind. WHATEVER comes to mind. It doesn’t have to look good, sound good or posess proper grammar usage and spelling! Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks cause it’s for your eyes only. JUST WRITE.
The whole practice comes from a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’ve never read the book and I’m not sure I plan to. It suggests some spirituality stuff that I’m probably not going to be too keen on. However, the concept of writing 3 pages long-hand every morning captured my interest and need for a change.
So I flipped to the first page in my brand new spiral-bound notebook, wrote the date and “Morning Pages” at the top and began writing.
I’m telling you, it’s like when you’ve had nasal congestion for days and all of a sudden you can finally breathe. Or when the bathtub is clogged and the goopy stuff you poured down the drain works and the water runs down the way it’s supposed to. IT FELT SO GOOD!!!! My brainstorming kicked in and I was sketching out ideas for projects that had been floating around my head. I was writing out thoughts I wasn’t quite sure what to do with. I was being silly. I was being serious. I was being creative. I was being whatever my brain needed me to be at the moment.
I’ve read so many times that writing is something you have to show up for everyday. I’ve also read that it’s best to show up at the same time at the same place. Creativity doesn’t just happen. Problems don’t just solve themselves. You have to put in the work. Or sometimes you need to just sit down long enough for your brain to catch up or for God to get through the chaos that’s going on in there. Writing down all those flyaway thoughts and making yourself aware of what’s going on mentally is a great way to slow down and let yourself get a grip on your life and creativity.
And don’t let the need for perfection get in the way. That’s always been my struggle. I want my writing to look good and flow off the tongue when read. That’s not what this practice is for. Even when the writing is crummy you still have to write it or the good stuff will never appear. Playing around for 3 pages is like stretching before a workout. It’s an easy exercise in the training of showing up and just writing. And it’s in the practice that the good stuff starts showing up.
I’m telling you, IT WORKS. Seriously.
Okay, so you’re not a writer. Maybe you’ve just got a lot of chatter going on in your head. Morning Pages. Maybe you’ve got lots of little projects and ideas that you can’t seem to work into plans. Morning Pages. Maybe you’ve thought about journaling but you don’t know where to start. Morning Pages. Seriously, I can’t emphasize enough the power of writing things down and Morning Pages is the perfect way to start. There’s no wrong way to do it. You just have to write until you’ve filled pages. Even if you write “I don’t have anything to write” 159 times, you’re writing and exercising your brain. The next day you might actually have something else to write!
I write post this now, on a Friday afternoon so you have something to think about over the weekend. Go to Walmart and get yourself a cheap spiral bound with a nice cover. It doesn’t cost much. Just try it. It might take a few tries or you might fall in love the minute the ink touches the page. Either way, it may be one of the best practices you take up. Believe me, if you’ve got a busy brain like mine, your noggin will thank you for it!