May 292015
 
Photo by Terry Madeley, via Flickr

Photo by Terry Madeley, via Flickr

I don’t think I’ve met a writer who doesn’t know what “Morning Pages” are—but just in case, here’s a footnote1.

I haven’t written Morning Pages in years, but reading Kathryn Craft’s new book, The Far End of Happy, reminded me of this practice. Kathryn’s main protagonist, Ronnie, is a freelance writer and an ardent morning-pager (although it’s not referenced as such). Ronnie frequently wakes early in order to “center herself” by journaling.

A long-suffering friend, this journal, taking everything she’d thrown at it. The questions. The tortured answers. The pros. The cons. Moments rich with beauty. The long slow death of a dream... Today, more than any other, in these last precious moments before her sons awoke, Ronnie needed the ink to offer up its ever-flowing possibilities.”
~ Kathryn Craft, The Far End of Happy ~

I have numerous excuses for not continuing with Morning Pages since motherhood ate my schedule (along with the dog’s homework), but I’m considering resuming a mini-version that proved useful when I was delivering two blog posts per week: writing one page longhand on a particular topic. Pre-kids, I would decide on the topic the night before, sleep on it, and then free-write the article when I woke. These days I’m lucky if I get to sleep on anything, let alone an idea, and I’m left with the longhand option because my darlings have appropriated my computer.

This time I’m toying with the idea of writing flash-fiction during my computer-gone time. That is, if I can write to the tune of the Peppa Pig theme song...

What about you? Do you still write Morning Pages? Do you manage three pages every day, or is that a stretch? Do you do them on the computer instead of by hand? Do you choose to write something you can use (a blog post or your wip) instead of stream of consciousness musings?


1 Morning Pages are the brain-child of writer and artist Julia Cameron. They are three pages written longhand of whatever enters the writer’s mind (the pages could even be filled with “I don’t know what to write” or shopping and to-do lists). The idea is to clear the mind of the mundane to prepare it for a session of real creative work. Eventually (Cameron contends a minimum of 90 days) the pages become both a journal of subconscious perspective and a brain-training system for sharpening focus and exercising free-writing.

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Elle Carter Neal

Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and the teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, holding childhood slumber-party audiences entranced until the early hours of the morning. Elle decided to be an author the day she discovered that real people wrote books and that writing books was a real job. Join Elle on her new publishing adventure.

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