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morning pages

morning pages – follow up

It’s been a month since I first discovered morning pages and I thought that I should write a follow up entry.

I must admit to feeling a stab of guilt every time I create journal pages, it seems such a frivolous waste of paper (my Critic is slightly different from the run-of-the-mill you-don’t-deserve-to-be-called-an-artist Critic, he throws words like “recycling” and “eco-friendly”, normally with the dash of “hypocrite” added in), so you can imagine how writing threepages of morning pages can make me feel.

The actual act of writing is very freeing, most of the time the words aren’t legible; it is truly a moving of the hand across the page, letting the words out. But once I done, I wonder what I should do with the pages…

That’s when I found the website www.750words.com. It seems to be the answer to my unspoken prayers – it’s a very stripped down online journaling/blogging site. Stripped down because it doesn’t really let you jazz up your pages (e.g. fonts, colours, images), and each entry is private by default, so other people can’t read what you’ve written. The site counts how many words you’ve typed and would let you know when you’ve reached your goal (they estimate that three pages would equal to 750 words). It also keeps track of each day you’ve written the full 750 words, and whether you were able to write the required number of words in one sitting without any distractions.

Without the bells and whistles it allows writers to focus on the actual act of writing. There’s also a reports page which analyses the numbers of words that you’ve written over the history of your account, the types of words you’ve written (positive vs. negative), the contents (about relationships, work, life etc.), which can all be very interesting to read.

This is where the problem comes in.

There are so many stats – words per minute, number of interruptions while writing, how many days in a row can you maintain a one-entry-a-day streak. It all became number crunching in the end. I was writing to try to get 4-day streak turkey, or I was trying to write without stopping so I could get 0 interruption in my data, or I’d try to type faster to get a better wpm average.

The morning pages became stressful.

I began missing days. On days I did write, the actual act of typing became work-like; I didn’t feel liberated writing my morning pages, I just felt a sense of relief when it was over.

I felt disillusioned by the concept of morning pages.

But I recently received The Artist’s Way in the mail and I decided to give it another go but this time I stuck with the pen and paper way.

The flow of pen over paper, without caring whether the words were legible was liberating.

So the point of the story? I’m back to square one – Morning Pages on paper. I’m thinking of doing the morning pages as a type of word-wash background for my journal pages – we’ll see how we go.

Just one last point – I can’t stress how great 750words.com is. Regardless of all the stuff I wrote above, it is a great site and a great tool to bookmark in your browser. The above issues are just my problems, and they aren’t even a problem if I don’t use the site for my morning pages.

This is just my little rant, my self-justification for going back to pen and paper ;P

discovering morning pages

I’ve heard the words “morning pages” and “artist’s date” from a Yahoo!Group I was a part of , but I must admit that I haven’t really paid much attention to them before; I always assumed that “morning pages” meant finding time in the morning to do pages and “artist’s date” being a thing to do or a place to go to encourage creativity.

Although I wasn’t too far off the mark with the artist’s date, I didn’t realise “morning pages” wasn’t just a flippant phrase, but an activity which means quite a lot to many people.

I’m sure most people who visit this page already know what “morning pages” and “artist’s date” are, so I won’t bore you with the details. For those who are new to the idea, please feel free to visit Julia Cameron’s website, where she has generously uploaded pages from her book, “The Artist’s Way” that specifically describes what the two activities are.

Below is are the pages from my first attempt at doing morning pages (as I was using a Moleskine sketchbook, I counted a double page spread as one page). The first three pages were pre-background and I thought I would stop writing there. However I felt an urge to continue and boy was I glad I did.

It could have been because of the backgrounds that were already laid out, or that I was slower to relax because it was my first try, but I only begun to let go on my fourth page. My handwriting started getting larger and messier until I no longer cared that I couldn’t read what I’ve written – it was all about letting it out. It was quite fun.

Those pages were done after I got home from work. As the point of the pages were for me to unload, I believe I had more to write about after work than if I wrote after waking up refreshed from a good night’s sleep. By doing my pages after I get home, I would have left my stressful work day behind me and free to get on to some creative stuff.

I’ve read elsewhere that doing the pages at the end of the day doesn’t work for them as they end up recording the events of the day which leaves them exhausted. I personally feel that by writing about the day, I would be able to put things into perspective. But everyone is free to do as they will. As Julia Cameron says, there’s no wrong way of doing it.

I know we aren’t meant to re-read our morning pages, nor are we to share them (to avoid feeling the need to censor our pages), that’s why I kept the pictures small. But anyone else want to share their experiences with morning pages?