When I joined The Listening Room this past spring, one of the first things the group creators Jason and Michael encouraged us to do was to start Morning Pages.
What are Morning Pages? Simply writing on pages first thing in the morning for the simple purpose of getting the cobwebs out. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, describes them this way:
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages–they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page and then do three more pages tomorrow.
She mentions they should be called Mourning Pages, because in many ways they are “a farewell to life as you knew it and an introduction to life as it’s going to be.”
As a writer, I respect the concept of Morning Pages.
The only problem is, I can’t get over the sense that in doing them I’m wasting valuable writing time.
This is both revealing and sad for me to admit.
Because what it implies is that the only kind of work that has value is the kind other people can see, the kind I can put to some kind of practical use.
But I need the morning page. I need the quiet discipline of writing to clear out the dark corners, to face the minutiae of my thoughts, to lay down distraction before I begin my day.
I bought a journal designated for Morning Pages but I often reach for it to jot down action lists. I have to fight to keep it from becoming my To-Do notebook and instead allow it to exist as my To-Be notebook.
If prayer is a deep breath in, the Morning Page is a cleansing breath out.
This book is only for day-launching. I struggle to be consistent with these pages, but they are becoming a sacred space to set aside the planing mentality and simply face what is – no matter how scary, ordinary, or ridiculous it may seem.
Maybe you need that kind of space, too.
I wrote here about The Listening Room and the last time we met together. The creators of the group are friends of mine - Jason Windsor, who also produced my two book trailers, and Michael Van Patter, the director of worship arts at a church here in my community.