A few years ago, my (then) six-year-old son, Teddy asked what I’d like for Christmas. It seemed that the world and his wife had been recommending The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, so that’s what I asked for.
Well, the book turned out to be very different from the quick little self-help, creativity-boosting read I’d imagined it would be. This was a deep dive into creativity, purpose, and smashing any blocks in the way! And being the personal-development fanatic I am, I was more than up for it. Game on Julia!
Julia starts out by sharing the two pivotal tools in your creative journey: the morning pages and the artist’s date. I’m just going to focus on the morning pages here because (a) it’s the subject of this post and (b) I never got my act together in the artist’s date department!
What are the morning pages?
The morning pages are what Julia calls “an apparently pointless process” where you write three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing as soon after waking as you can manage. No filtering, editing, judging, or skipping. Just sitting your butt in the chair and getting whatever’s in your head out on paper.
“Morning pages [do] get us to the other side: the other side of our fear, of our negativity, of our moods” – Julia Cameron
Why are they so great?
It may take a couple of weeks, it may take a couple of months, but what this practice did for me was nothing short of magical. Getting all the useless crap out of my head – where the banal takes up as much space as the critically important – helped me figure out what to focus on, what to get help with, and what to let go of completely. It’s like Marie Kondo-ing your brain. The result; you enter your day free of all the petty worries, resentments, and general crap holding you back from living your unique brilliance.
You’ve convinced me, how do I do it?
Simple. Set your alarm 30-minutes earlier than usual (preferable before everyone else gets up), grab your coffee or tea, and put pen to paper. My rule is three pages or 20-minutes of free writing, whichever I get to first. I like to end with an affirmation for the day, which sets the intention and tone for my day.
Will you try it?
Now, it’s your turn! Do you have a journaling practice? What does it do for you? Or perhaps you’re like me and always saw journaling as self-indulgent and pointless. Would you be willing to give it a try? Leave a comment below!