Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Morning Pages

After having numerous people recommend it for what seems like the past decade, I finally picked up a copy of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Based on Cameron's workshops, the book seeks to equip readers for a spiritual path to deeper and more consistent creativity.

One key tool that Cameron emphasizes early on is something she calls the "morning pages." The assignment is simply to write three pages each morning, stream of consciousness, unpolished, non-evaluative, just what is on one's mind. A brain dump so to speak. Usually what pours out are the blockages to creativity, the excuses, the self-condemnation. All the reasons not to be creative.

Always eager for a new process to help kick-start creative momentum, I immediately went to the store and bought a fresh spiral notebook and a decent pen. (There's something symbolically energizing about actually going out and getting new paper and ink, as opposed to finding whatever is laying around.) I've decided to experiment this week with this whole pursuit, taking my notebook instead of a book to my 5:30 a.m. workouts and seeing what kind of creative flow takes place.

I actually began this morning when I arrived at Starbucks for my weekly 6 a.m. creative writing time, and found my work on my newest memoir project to be quite fruitful. My relationship with journaling has been sporadic, but this is a different angle to get at accomplishing what the best writers do best: write every single day, despite the mood.


At 5:50 PM , Blogger Rebecca said...

When I was working on my dissertation, one of the best books I read was Joan Bolker's Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes A Day. Of course the general principle is that everyone has fifteen minutes and on the days you are truly unmotivated, you can probably commit to fifteen minutes. On the better days, those fifteen minutes will turn into hours.

I'm glad to see another endorsement of the Cameron book. It has been calling to me for a few years now and you may have just sealed the deal.

I completely know what you mean about buying fresh materials. Unfortunately, I seem to have a surplus of journals as my inspiration seems to hit when I'm at a cafe at a bookstore that sells them, so of course I can justify buying a new one... :-)


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