The term, “morning pages,” has crossed my path many times in the last few weeks. I don’t know if it’s just the type of books that I’m reading (Goldberg, Jenkins, Cameron, Lamott, others) and the blogs I’m visiting, but these pages are on fire right now.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with them, morning pages is a concept developed by Julia Cameron and published first in her book, The Artist’s Way. Cameron contends that everyone–writers and nonwriters alike–should begin the day with writing three pages in their daybooks. Leave the censor at home; tell the editor to take a hike. These three pages are meant for no eyes but your own (and even you shouldn’t feel compelled to go back and read them later). They are to be written without inhibition, without judgment, without thinking. It’s a direct line from your brain to the page, and you don’t stop until three pages are filled.
My students think I’m a nut for doing these pages. They think that they’ll never be “a writer” because they don’t do what their teacher does. But what I keep trying to explain to them is that this isn’t a writer’s thing at all. it’s an individual’s thing. The writing of the pages is not about being a better writer as much as it is about being a better you. Clean out all those nasty thoughts, those bothersome problems, those overwrought emotions. Throw them on the page and forget them forever.
Of course, those who do pages consistently find that one of the natural outcomes is your sudden ability to be creative on the spot. It doesn’t mean just writing. The creativity can hit you in song, in dance, in painting, in pantomime. Pages allow you to open up. Live a more exciting and creative life. Experience the world in a way you never dreamed possible.
I used to scoff at this. Me and my big, bad, stubborn self, telling the world that I didn’t need pages to be a writer.
Maybe not. But you need pages to be an individual who knows how to get on with his life. And that’s not such an easy thing to do these days.
Give it a go. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Nobody’s going to see it. But I promise you that what you get out of it, even after only a few days of writing them, will make you feel like you’ve discovered some hidden elixir within you.
And that, my friends, is because you have. It’s there, right now, just waiting to be set free….Why even wait till morning?
Carpe Noctum! (and write those pages, will ya?)