Today’s writing advice: “Try morning pages.”(Read on for more … !)
Funny how one thing naturally leads to another. My previous post, Writing advice, No. 2 — “let it flow,” elicited a response from Stuart Danker, a writer in Malaysia:
I had recently shared the idea of morning pages in my e-newsletter and planned to share it as my next piece of writing advice, so it was pretty cool to see I was on the same wavelength of another writer halfway around the world! (By the way, Stuart has some great writing advice on his blog as well.)
Here is that morning pages post:
A friend recently told me about a crisis her family is experiencing. She asked me whether writing might help bring her some calm.
Her question reminded me of a way I have used writing to process challenging times, a technique called “morning pages,” from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way at Work.
The idea is to keep a notebook and pen beside your bed and start your morning with writing — even before your feet hit the floor, if possible. Handwrite three pages without stopping … even if that means writing something like “I don’t know what to say” or “um um um,” just to keep your pencil or pen moving across the paper. This keeps your mind moving and can trigger the next idea.
The thinking is that this practice will help you uncover what is truly on your mind and heart, before the events and issues of the day interfere. I have found that writing morning pages has helped me zero in on what is most impacting me in the moment as well as in the big picture.
I would love to encourage everyone to adopt a writing practice — whether morning pages or other types of pieces — in part because writing offers opportunities to encapsulate our concerns, hopes, worries, dreams, accomplishments etc. in words. This can help us see our blessings more clearly and, sometimes, cut our challenges down to size.
Have you tried morning pages or a similar exercise? I’d love to hear about it!
Morning photo by Jonas Weckschmied on Unsplash
Originally shared in The Same Loon e-newsletter, Aug. 31, 2021.
4 thoughts on “Writing advice, No. 3”
Nice idea, Sarah, to write early. I write every morning, but not in bed. I like to enjoy a cup of coffee and sit with my face to the sun.
Love this — I can picture the peaceful scene, Jill! Sounds like a wonderful way to adapt morning pages to your writing life. Maybe you’re reflecting back with an eye to the future … ?
Oh wow, I just saw this. Thanks so much for the mention, Sarah! I really do appreciate it. I’m still maintaining my morning pages practice, and while I can’t truly quantify how much it’s helped me, I definitely feel the benefits it’s done for my writing.
Glad to hear it, Stuart! I’ve lapsed in my practice and can tell I need to get back on the morning pages plan. Soon … 🙂