Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 355: Top 5 things I learned about writing morning pages

I love when someone is inspired to write morning pages after hearing about my project of writing morning pages each day for a year and blogging about it.

For instance, my niece saw me writing my pages today and decided to write her own.
I love how emotions carry through penmanship.

Now that it's near the end of the year and near the end of this project (though the blog will live on), I figure I should report on the experience of writing daily morning pages.

For those not in the know about morning pages: They came from Julia Cameron's book, The Artists Way, which is a 12-week course to help you unleash your creativity. In the book, you are tasked with writing three pages in your journal every single day. You write whatever you want but it must be three pages a day for the full 12 weeks.

When I did this course, my life changed in big ways. I figured if my life changed a lot in 12 weeks, what would it be like in a year? (Read the archive on the right for the long version of how my life has changed... skip to December for the gist.)

I figure, of the last 355 days, I've missed about 20 days of writing morning pages. Sometimes I got busy. Sometimes I just plain forgot. And sometimes I got sick of the project. But in all that writing, I learned a thing or five about writing these pages...

Top 5 things I learned about writing morning pages:
  1. It doesn't get any easier. That third page is just as hard now as it was in January.

  2. We've become friends. Sometimes the pages are a confidant, someone with whom I can share my true thoughts. It's a sweet relief to have this in my life, especially when my actual friends are tired of hearing me drone on... or if what I have to say is so mean that I wouldn't want to share it with my friends. Sometimes venom is best left for the privacy of morning pages.

  3. I can't hid my issues. I can't just write about the mundane in my morning pages. And if I do, the issues end up spewing out by the third page anyway. The pages show me what I could work on.

  4. Big projects get daily face time. Like quitting my job or deciding to travel around the world. None of the decisions I made this year were on a whim. They were painstakingly evaluated and planned out in my pages. Every stinking day. Except for 20.

  5. Morning page don't need to get done in the morning. Julia Cameron and I will have to agree to disagree. She says it's best to do them early for a myriad of reasons. Whatevs Julia. What. Evs. I've learned that sometimes our best spiritual and artistic work gets onto those pages right after a really bad moment at the office, or when we find ourselves with a free half hour and a free window seat at a coffee shop, or at night when we can best evaluate the pluses and minuses of the day.

    Plus, morning is for hitting the snooze button, sipping coffee and hauling our asses where they need to go. Writing morning pages in the morning is a high expectation that can quickly lead to failure. I can't believe I'm still doing my 2010 New Year's resolution. And it would have ended by the third week in January if I only did these pages in the morning. Correction: Third day in January.
So, dear reader, I hope my wee project has inspired you to write a little more in your journal... or even just buy a pretty journal... or a pen with nice flow... or even just think about maybe possibly writing more someday.

Morning pages create a space to write the best story ever told.

Your own.
"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." --Oscar Wilde.


  1. Janice- Kudos for so much success this year and for inspiring us all with your insight, humor and videos of tablecloths blowing in the wind. The Artist's Way would be much improved if all who partook would read your 5 guidelines first. Julia Cameron is outdated. Now it's all about you. -- K. Wile

  2. They can't be over yet! You'll still write for us in the new year, right? Roxanne

  3. I'm so impressed you only missed 20 days. I guess because you didn't always write about them on here, we didn't always know you WERE writing them. Good for you for being so committed. I need to make more time for my journal.

    Looking forward to all your writing in the coming year! Happy Holidays to you.

  4. I can't hid my issues either.

  5. What a journey! I laughed, I cried, I tossed and turned with unrequited lust... What a gift to be able to jump on the Nagini train once in a blue moon (or red sky). You're an inspiration, even to those who inspire you.


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