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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ten things I've learned from doing Morning Pages

These are all the notebooks I've filled up since July, when everything fell apart, and I'm sort of fond of the pile of them. I can't remember how many I filled up before then (they're all in storage), but I do know that the number of them has gotten higher as the year has gone on, and the difference is Morning Pages!

The idea of Morning Pages comes from Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way, but I picked it up because it's now floating free on all the journaling and writing blogs I follow. She defines it this way:
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, morning writing about anything. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages, and they are for your eyes only. Doing Morning Pages, we find that we go into our day with more clarity. Although they do take time (about 30-40 minutes), they actually make more time than they take because we move more efficiently through our day.
They are three, single-sided, 8.5×11 pages (so in other words, not 6 pages). Yes, they must be done in the morning. Yes, they must be done by hand.
I used to write every day, when I had a degree dependent on it. I used to start my day with a single page of random fiction based on whatever line or word was the first thing I saw in whatever book I first picked up that day*. I don't do that stuff anymore, and it's showing, so I started doing Morning Pages as a way to sort of get back to that habit...and here's what I've learned.

  1. Man, I complain A LOT first thing in the morning.
  2. But getting all that complaining out while I simultaneously get my first cup of tea in is a great way to clear out my head for the day.
  3. It REALLY fills pages. I'm back to about a notebook a month, where I like to be.
  4. Sometimes, it's fun to write narratively, to keep the habit of thinking of things as stories, and those are usually the pages that go into four or five instead of struggling to reach three.
  5. It's a great way to play with ideas and figure out plot points--just free-writing on something that might one day be a story without any other obligation than filling three pages.
  6. Getting all the annoying BS out of my head is a great way to let the story back in, so I can focus better on whatever I'm actually writing--and on gathering ideas for things I COULD write later, a favorite hobby.
  7. Making lists is a great way to fill pages.
  8. Talking about the writing in books and movies and TV is a great way to fill pages, too, and a really great way to define what kinds of writing you like and don't like and what you can try out later.
  9. Most of the stuff I get on those pages totally doesn't matter later when I look back, but it's nice to have a written history of my brain, little snapshots of what I'm like first thing in the morning--and reminders to be nicer because I suck at mornings and I can be mean.
  10. It's a really nice way to visualize the life you want to live, and then use that visualizing to actually figure out stuff to do about the wanting to make it having!**
Do you do morning pages? What have you learned about yourself and your process from doing them? Do you have any advice you can pass on?

*Ember actually started this way, though the part I first wrote ages ago is so different from how the story turned out that it probably won't be part of the trilogy at all...
**Most of my actual things there are writing or nail-polish related, because I want a life full of books and pretty nails!


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