Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. -- Gene Fowler

Monday, August 30, 2010

Morning Pages: The Hated Healer (Jan 18, 2010)

Sitting down to do Morning Pages is like having a meeting with someone I dread. Nothing this person is going to say will be cheerful -- they always complain and say nasty things about life. Things won't get better, they'll get worse. Sure it's sunny now, but bad weather's coming. You're going to do WHAT?! Good luck with that.

Trouble is, the person I meet during Morning Pages is inside of me. It's the meeting with that ugly, gloomy, hateful part of myself that I dread. Well, that and the fact I generally write before breakfast, which is its own problem -- I'm hungry!

I don't want to come in here and listen to it dump bad scary things on the page. Worries about my future, regrets about my past, feelings associated with the perceived inadequacies of my abilities and talents. But when I do, which I ought to do every day, I find that all that muck tends to stay behind, stay here on the page where I put it. It's not so prevalent in my mind, doesn't hang around quite so intensely to cloud my thoughts during the day.

I recommend Morning Pages to everyone, artist or not. Three full pages (both sides!) of longhand writing done in the morning, or, presumably, whenever your 'morning' is. If you wake up at 10 pm to get ready for a night-shift job, that's your morning. Get up at least half an hour earlier and sit down with pen and notebook. It doesn't have to be good, or even make much sense. Get all that crud out of your brain so it won't be so pesty later on in the day.

I bought a scary, neon-green 3 subject notebook for my last Morning Pages book, and I've taken to writing in it with green ink. I hate doing Morning Pages, so I tend to want the most horrible book I can find, yet I'm cheap, so I want the least expensive for my money as well. Therefore I hit dollar stores a lot for this purpose. I had it in my head to go to Staples and buy a pack of their shrink-wrapped notebook packets - five or six single subject notebooks for cheaper than you'd buy them singly. So I went to Staples, expecting to find the wide-ruled notebooks they always sell that way, sadly, when my general preference is for college ruled. "This'll be perfect for Morning pages though," I thought, "since I want to write on wide rules for that. Less writing!" And so I was disappointed, in this particular backward way, to discover my Staples store had in stock shrink-wrapped notebooks ... that were college ruled. Oh, the irony. I bought a single wide-ruled book, since my last one was college ruled and it took /forever/ to fill three pages of that thing.

Give Morning Pages a try. They'll help you clear your mind for your day. And yes, you may well hate them. A lot. But, as Julie Cameron says in The Artist's Way, that's a sign that you need to do them.

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