Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity (1992) offered an exercise called Morning Pages. Simply stated, immediately upon waking, one writes three pages in longhand. There are no other guidelines; wake up, write three pages of anything emerging from your pencil, get out of bed and begin your day.
The purpose is to rid one’s mind of interfering gunk so creativity can rule. It is similar to, weed a garden to grow flowers, or clear a path to reach a summit. Purge thoughts every morning to release one’s potential.
No matter the genre, writing is a creative art, and all writers access creativity individually. I personally need quiet, a clutter free space, and a lurching deadline. If an idea has not sparked, I sit and stare at the screen, or I labor over every word and sentence.
Morning Pages truly clears the brain. Worries, guilt, and negative self-talk flood onto the pages, and free space is made available for good stuff. I often destroy what I write as I seldom reference it again, and my thoughts are private.
Morning Pages are different from a daily journal or a diary because they are written upon waking, are not chronologies, and are not concerned with grammar or penmanship.
Sometimes my Pages look like a war zone; fear, frustration, hurt, and unfairness visible in my script. Just as often, my Pages are seeds for an essay or article. But always, they start my day with a sense of lightness.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear also speaks to unleashing positive action. She encourages us to allow our dreams and curiosities to materialize even if the endeavor does not reap wealth or fame. She suggests we do what we fear, to not be hampered or limited by what we don’t know.
Like Julia Cameron, who, by the way, self-published The Artist’s Way because she couldn’t find a publisher, Elizabeth Gilbert understands and gives credence to the value of creativity. Both are courageous writers.
Like portrait or landscape painters, writers are artists. We all have wonderful stories trapped within our skull waiting to fill the pallet and define the canvas, our computer screen. Morning Pages can help.
How do you jumpstart your creativity?
Until the next time: Live while you live