Morning Pages: Practicing Writing Without “Writing”
I took the image above from my “Morning Pages”.
“Morning Pages” is a creative exercise popularized in Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way”.
The practice itself is straightforward. First thing in the morning you pen three pages of longhand writing.
What you choose to write about is unimportant. There is no aim other than to fill three pages. As Cameron herself puts it:
“There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.”
There are many purported benefits to doing Morning Pages. Some people use them as a way to purge their mind of unconscious baggage. Others to prioritize and create a to-do list.
But I like to think of them as a way to practice writing without “writing”.
Much of what we think of as “writing” is a form of polishing. It is transforming raw ideas into something coherent, and readable. It is a necessary, perhaps the most necessary, part of the process. But also the most stressful.
Morning Pages remove the polish. They let ideas flow without judgement. It is meditation through the written word.
No one is meant to see your morning pages. Your High School English teacher will not give you a grade on them. Your editor will not pick them apart. They will not appall or astonish your audience. They exist, simply, to get your thoughts on page in their crudest form.
Paradoxically, a lot of good ideas come when you relinquish effort and just write. Your self consciousness doesn’t always serve your work… especially in its infantile stages. So why not suspend judgement, let your pen move, and practice writing without “writing”.