Getting into the Morning Pages

Today I talk a bit about my daily creative practice, focusing on The Morning Pages, a practice from The Artist’s Way, a book and course designed by writer Julia Cameron.

Part of my routine is recording something daily. It could be audio or video. Today it seems I’m going to be doing some audio, so I am pacing around my flat a little bit recording.

I’ve been developing a daily routine. Part of my desire to build a routine came out of doing The Artist’s Way which is a book and a process that was developed by Julia Cameron in the 1990s. If you are an artist, you might be familiar with this book because it’s pretty popular even though it was written a while ago. I was in high school when it was written. 

There are things in it that really resonate, and one of the things is the morning pages. The morning pages are a process where you wake up in the morning and you write three pages longhand. And that’s pretty much it. 

In the book, the author goes into a little more detail, but not really. When I first started doing the morning pages I thought, okay, I know how to do this. Then I had to stop the second morning in. I stopped and was like, wait, there much be more guidance, there must be more instruction, so let me find it. I flipped through the book and realised nope, that’s pretty much it. Write three pages in a notebook, longhand, and stuff is gonna come up.

Part of the point is that we bring a lot of the subconscious with us and around us, and if we don’t get it out it’s going to hang there. And this idea that you wake up, put that stuff on the page, and then you don’t have to carry it with you throughout the day. 

The other thing is, is that it’s a space, at least for me, it’s kind of space to work through problems. And when I first noticed this happening, I hesitated, and I think I even wrote in the notebook, I’m solving a problem right now, should I be solving a problem? Is like a problem-solving space? And I kind of question that. And now it feels fine. But I wasn’t sure I should be doing it. I felt like work in a space where I should be looser. I’m sure exactly sure why I hesitated. But now if I feel like I am starting to solve a problem, or work through an issue on the page, I just let myself do it.

And the then the next thing that has come up is that it’s a space for rest. I have to say, I’m now on week four of the artists way, so I’ve been writing every day for nearly four weeks, and I haven’t really used it for rest. She says something like “we rest on the page,” or “we use the page for rest” something like that. I haven’t really felt like resting so much. I pause sometimes and think, I have to keep going, I got to finish this. Sometimes by the end, it’s like there’s even more I want to write. Sometimes I move to another book and write a bit more or sketch. Sometimes ideas come up and I want to visualise them, so I sketch them in the notebook or next to the notebook. 

The other that’s come up for me, and she does mention this, is a bit of anger. You know, be angry, and hate the morning pages. That was yesterday. Yesterday, I was like, I hate this I hate it and I write out AHHHHH really big in the book and then just kept going. Then by the end, it was fine. 

It has been a surprisingly emotional journey in some ways to write the morning pages. But I also think I have given myself the freedom to let it be a bit of an emotional journey, too. I could adopt a mindset of it being more of a task, where I need to just be a bit more level-headed and do this task. I am not sure if that is possible if you are tapping into the subconscious all of the time.

I have enjoyed it really. So, I am going to keep doing it. I want to keep doing it because I am on week four of 12 in The Artist’s Way. But I have kind of set an intention to try to keep doing the boring pages beyond the 12 weeks. We’ll see. I do know a lot of people who have done The Artist’s Way at some point in their life as an artist, and the morning pages is the one thing that really sticks for them, Even if you don’t pick up some of the other habits, or even remember the other things you do, you may continue to do the morning pages. I like it. 

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