Morning Pages


So I’ve given several whacks at directing this blog into some sort of focus but I think it’s time to give all that organization and direction garbage the heave-ho. I mean, it’s my blog, and frankly, no one reads it … or do they? Hmmm… Are you out there, Reader? Do you care that I have no tidy theme? I don’t think you care. And that, dear Reader, is why I like you so much! That and you are an awesome listener.

I’m working through the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is self-described as “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” Julia is a patient teacher. She is slowly coaxing me along a path that I used to think was extremely treacherous but it turns out, it’s not so bad.

One of her main ideas is that we have a logic brain and an artist brain. Logic brain is our everyday, survival instinct, keep it all in nice tidy boxes brain. Artist brain is the inner child, the irrational one, the one that still thinks crayons are rad and fashions twisty ties into stick people. Logic keeps Artist locked in the subconscious as much as possible. I mean, Artist just isn’t practical, she makes too much noise. Lock that girl up!

The most essential exercise, says Julia, is the Morning Pages; three handwritten, stream of consciousness pages of brain dump every morning. This practice is supposed to help us get past the nay saying of Logic and let Artist out to play. Have you ever sat there, before the caffeine has kicked in, and try to write three pages? I know, three pages don’t sound too bad but at the end of page one, your hand begins to cramp up. In the middle of page two your handwriting goes completely. Mine starts to look like wavy lines and the last letter of most words don’t even take shape. Oh well, these pages aren’t to be reread, they aren’t meant to be good writing, they just are to be.

I don’t know about your logic brain, but mine screams for order, for a schedule and routine. Yes, “Morning Pages” is now a recurring event on my Google Calendar. Artist is going to have to build up some serious muscles if she’s going to survive.

Through the process, I keep meeting with little snags that I now recognize as my logic brain chiming in. I decided to rip out each page from my notebook as a write it and Logic freaked out. “How will we keep the days together?!” Artist consented to date the pages and list 1 of 3, 2 of 3 etc. I selected a typical mailing envelope to store my pages. I yearned to see that envelope big and fat… I envision a spot on a future bookshelf (it was white, I don’t have white book shelves) that held stacks of fat overflowing obnoxious orangey yellow mailing envelopes. Artist squealed with delight!

I got this envelope and Logic was practically tapping her foot with anxiety… “You ARE going to label it aren’t you? Print a label; it’ll look nicer. Perfect and centered. You can even include little blanks for the date range of the pages within. Better yet, create a template so that every envelope you ever use will have the same label. It’ll look tidier on the shelf.”

I forced Artist brain to embolden herself… Artist wanted to write directly on the envelope in scrolling cursive and in French “the envelope for the morning pages.” With a little help from Google Translate and a Sharpie, it was done.


l’eveloppe pour les pages du matin

French? I don’t know why. It is what it is. I decided that I’d also include in this envelope things like this. Spur of the moment rants etc. Things I wrote as workshop assignments. I want those envelopes fat and stacked!

I’ve even given myself permission to fold this envelope so that it fits into my notebook easily. Artist leaps and chants that the envelope should be:

 used and abused…

beat up and taped up…

doodled on and noodles on…

It should be showing its stripes by the time it reaches that shelf!

Logic is freaking out about that a little. She wants to keep it pristinely flat, organizing the pages within sequentially and perfectly aligned. Just because Logic said that, Artist says, “NO! Stuff them in folded or however they end up. Heck, don’t even be careful when you tear them off the notepad so they end up with raggedy edges! You can pull them out and unfold and stack them neatly later. We’ll let Logic indulge later when we decide it’s time to read some early pages or when there’s no more room to shove in more untidy pages.”

So I tuck the slight wad of folded pages I’ve already written into the envelope then fold the envelope itself, finally tucking it into the inner pocket of my notebook. It belongs there and I smile.

And there it is, my newest challenge, finding a bit of balance between Logic and Artist. I’ve decided that although I feel this method is unblocking my creative spring, it may also be revealing that I suffer from multiple personality disorder.


*Read all about Julie Cameron and The Artist’s Way on the official website

3 thoughts on “Morning Pages

  1. Nice! I started Artist’s Way in January. Something about morning pages resonated with me as soon as I read about them, and that quickly, I was able to wake myself up an hour earlier to write. It’s something I’d been wishing I could do for years, but could never seem to make happen. The whole brain dumping thing, though, suddenly seemed essential. And somehow, amazingly, I’ve stuck with it! I’ve taken a couple of breaks lately; there have been weeks when my body needed rest more than writing, or when I felt like I indulged too many days in a row in the whole “it’s okay to be gripy” thing. 🙂
    I was also really excited about artist dates. It sounded like just what I needed, go out to play, recharge, fill the well. I came up with this whole list of things to do. Unfortunately, it WAS really hard for me to be consistent about planning and executing. Suddenly it would be Saturday, again, and I’d find myself without a plan, again. After a few weeks of that, I sort of gave up. I want to get back to it though, my artist could really use the attention.

    1. Yes, Lynn! We’ve got to give Artist the attention she deserves 🙂 I’m having a hard time with the artist dates as well… it’s actually hard to do them without calling people to come and join in. Let’s compare lists sometime soon and keep each other accountable!

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