“There is no wrong way
to do morning pages. These
daily morning meanderings are not meant to be art.
Or even writing. I
stress that point to reassure the nonwriters working with this book.
Writing is simply one of the tools. Pages are meant to be, simply,
the act of moving the hand across the page and writing down whatever
comes to mind. Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too
weird to be included.
morning pages are not supposed to sound smart – although sometimes
they might. Most times they won't, and nobody will ever know except
you. Nobody is allowed to read your morning pages except you. And
you shouldn't even read them yourself for the first eight weeks or
so. Just write three pages, and stick them into an envelope. Or
write three pages in a spiral notebook and don't leaf back through.
Just write three pages...and
write three more pages the next day.
occasionally colorful, the morning pages are often negative,
frequently fragmented, often self-pitying, repetitive, stilted or
babyish, angry or bland – even silly sounding. Good!
that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning
stands between you and your creativity. Worrying about the job, the
laundry, the funny knock in the car, the weird look in your lover's
eye – this stuff eddies through our sub-conscious and muddies our
days. Get it on the page.
The morning pages are the
primary tool of creative recovery.
As blocked artists [people], we tend to criticize ourselves
mercilessly. Even if we look like functioning artists [people] to
the world, we feel we never do enough and what we do isn't right. We
are victims of our own internalized perfectionist, a nasty internal
and eternal critic, the Censor, who resides in our left brain and
keeps up a constant stream of subversive remarks that are often
disguised as the truth. The Censor says wonderful things like: “You
call that writing? What a joke. You can't even punctuate. If you
haven't done it by now, you never will. You can't even spell. What
makes you think you can be creative?” And on and on.
this a rule: always remember that your Censor's negative opinions
are not the truth. This takes practice. By spilling out of bed and
straight onto the page every morning, we learn to evade the Censor.
Because there is no wrong way to write morning pages, the Censor's
opinion doesn't count. Let your Censor rattle on. (And it will.)
Just keep your hand moving across the page. Write down the Censor's
thoughts if you want to. Note how it loves to aim for your creative
jugular. Make no mistake: the Censor is out to get you. It's a
cunning foe. Every time you get smarter, so does it. So you wrote
one good play? The Censor tells you that's all there is. So you
drew your first sketch? The Censor says, “It's not Picasso.”
than one student has tacked up an unflattering picture of the parent
responsible for the Censor's installation in his or her psyche and
called that his or her Censor. The point is to stop taking the
Censor as the voice of reason and learn to hear it for the blocking
device that it is. Morning pages will help you do this.
Morning pages are
nonnegotiable. Never skip or
skimp on morning pages. Your mood doesn't matter. The rotten thing
your Censor says doesn't matter. We have this idea that we need to
be in the mood to write. We don't. Morning pages will teach you
that your mood doesn't really matter.”
The Artist's Way, by Julia
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