I write daily...I start my day with a cup of coffee and my journal (Blueline hardcover notebook with grid pages) and write my Morning Pages, a technique first described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way:
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages-- they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind-- and they are for your eyes only.Sounds easy, huh?
I don’t recall my initial reaction when I read that... but I was encouraged by Julia Cameron’s description and her explanation for writing in the morning – before one’s inner critic wakes up. And that got me – my sporadic journaling often had a self-conscious quality to it. I’d write during crises but didn’t maintain the journaling habit during “ordinary” times because I was waiting to write something profound. Something interesting or insightful, pithy or witty. Just not ORDINARY.
Now that I’ve kept it up – having written Morning Pages almost daily for over 15 years – I know it is more about the process and less about the details. Oh, every so often there is something I wrote that I want to save – to reflect back on or to include in another piece of writing. But what’s most important to me is having a place to check in daily – to keep myself honest and to watch my own patterns. I notice when a seed of a thought grows into something larger because my morning pages notebook is the right environment for it. Or when a thought or feeling that I’ve been ignoring recurs (what I describe as “keeps knocking on my door”) and so I finally listen to its message.
I find it easy to credit the morning pages process for my big accomplishments and projects – from writing books to taking the Dream Year sabbatical. I also know that it continues to be helpful on a daily basis. Acknowledging and understanding and, in essence, honoring my ORDINARY life.