Written by Franque Michele
I jumped on the bandwagon. I have several artist friends who have been talking about their “pages” and raving about the “Artist’s Way.” “It’s amazing!” they say. “You have to buy the book!” they say.
Ughhh. One more thing? I already meditate, make a healthy breakfast and exercise in the morning. I swear to God, if I take everyone’s advice, my morning routine will become a full time job.
But my life kind of fell apart this summer (broken engagement, unexpected move, vehicle breakdowns, yadda yadda yadda), and I was desperate to get out of what was becoming a nasty, ugly depression. So I opened my journal and followed my friend, L-Dog’s lead. I started doing the morning pages and talk about mind blown. I reconnected with my voice. I regained a sanity that I feared was leaving me. I acquired a tool that helps me to be honest and see things in my life for what they are. Because let me tell you, it’s hard to be superficial for three 8.5” by 11” pages.
For those who haven’t heard about these “pages,” morning pages are a part of a motivational program called the “Artist’s Way” created by writer Julia Cameron. Morning pages are a journaling tool meant to clear the mind so that you can approach your projects fresh and unblocked. You are to get a letter size journal, date each entry and write three full pages first thing in the morning. Kinda strict, but each guideline comes with a reason and an intention.
There are lots of people talking about morning pages:
These posts outline the benefits, describe the guidelines and remind you why the morning pages (mp) are important to do with discipline, etc. etc. They spread the good news. I won’t repeat what they’ve already said, this is a writer’s blog. I’ll focus on that.
How my mp are impacting my writing.
I show up for my writing with a clear mind
This is one of the biggest benefits. Before my mp, I would show up to my writing projects with a brain full of worries, thoughts and looming plans. But check this out, that’s now a thing of the past because I give attention to all of that brain junk during my morning pages. I let it all out, three full pages worth. I sit in quiet. I give myself what I need. I mean, the brain/heart is like a neglected boyfriend. He needs your focus, a little bit of attention. After the morning pages, he’s satisfied, ready to scratch his balls and play video games.
“Of course I couldn’t focus, why didn’t I think of this before?” I wasn’t taking time out to nurture my worries and thoughts. With that out of the way at the beginning of the day, I feel so much more clear about everything I approach. I’m not carrying around my worries and cares with the same intensity. I’ve already worked them out in my pages and can move forward with my day.
I have a deeper trust in my ability to write well
This rigorous, daily writing is allowing me to trust myself better. My mp have helped me to reach a deep revelation. I couldn’t trust myself, because I wasn’t listen to my own voice. I wasn’t listening to my instincts. I wasn’t listening to my needs.” Morning Pages, again are 20 – 30 minutes of quiet and listening, and what comes up is beautiful.
The fact that I do morning pages with discipline is a first step that is helping me build self trust. The second is what is coming up in my morning pages. I’ve been inspired to apologize to folks, speak up to others, reprioritize things and handle my business. I’m seeing myself as a more trustworthy person. I like this person more. I believe in her more. I can submit my precious novel idea to her. I know she’ll do just fine.
I can free flow write my first drafts.
I constantly hear that the first draft of a novel needs to flow from your brain and heart to the page. I am told not to edit, not to overthink. That’s always been hard for me.
Practicing free flow writing in the mornings allows me to do so in my own projects. I’m more productive. The evil demon voice in my head is much quieter. I can open scrivener jump on in and only stop a couple times every ten minutes. Much better than what I was doing before . . . which always essentially ended up being not finishing crap! Now I’m making progress, finishing chapters and scenes and seeing my story unfold. Thanks Julia!
If you are considering morning pages, stop what you’re doing, buy a letter-size notebook and begin.
Happy Writing y’all!
Franque lives in San Antone starting trouble. To learn more about what she’s doing check out @franquemichele on instagram