The core of The Artist’s Way is writing morning pages. First thing, every morning, I complete three pages of free writing without paying attention to grammar, spelling, or content. It’s a stream of consciousness journal that can sometimes take me up to an hour to complete. It sounds like an arduous and unnecessary task, but oh, boy is it worth it.
I have to wake up at least a half an hour early to complete them before I jump in the shower, check my email, or start my day in anyway. It works best when I get them done immediately after I get up, but sometimes that’s not possible and I sneak it in during the afternoon.
Either way, it is imperative for me to complete them during and after the process of artistic recovery. Even if I am not working directly on The Artist’s Way, I try to maintain my morning pages as a personal journal or way to check-in with myself.
What goes into my morning pages? Anything and everything. I just write. I find that my pages usually start off with me writing down whatever errands I have to do for the day. This helps me focus and gives me daily motivation to be productive. Then, I usually transition to my goals, aspirations, and sometimes my dreams (especially if I had a powerful one while sleeping). This helps me to articulate my plans for the future and acknowledge my emotional state.
I usually end my morning pages with something creative; maybe a poem. Often, I don’t have a poem in me, so I’ll write a popular poem or lyric to a song I already know and use that as a jumping point to create a narrative. This helps me to tap into the ever-present creative energy in the Universe and opens the tap of my creative flow for the day.
There is no set way to write morning pages. I can write whatever I want. Sometimes, I string together nonsense phrases or just write how much I hate writing morning pages. Other times I have no idea what I’m writing. I just write stuff; any kind of stuff. It doesn’t matter. As long as I get my pages done, it’s all good.
What are the benefits of morning pages? They are too numerous to mention and many of them are intangible. The greatest benefit I’ve received is that it gives me permission to write and think freely. I have been known to bang out a full-length play in a day or two. How do I do it? I just write it. I don’t stop to correct my work as I write and if I find myself stuck in the middle of a scene, I simply write some random nonsense and keep it moving.
Only after I have completed the work do I go back to edit and rewrite sections I’m not crazy about. The hardest part of writing can be getting it all down and my morning pages have enabled me to overcome that. Once it’s all down, it’s easier for me to just go back and tweak it. I often find that those scenes of random nonsense actually work within the play and decide to keep them.
Writing morning pages has trained me to write without the burden of a creative block or censor. This releases me to think freely and approach my creative work with little to no hindrance as a writer, director, and performer. It unleashes the flow of creativity, opening me up to artistically brainstorm during the creative process and aligning me with that source of immediate energy during rehearsal or performance.
This is just a taste of the power of morning pages. Even without pursuing The Artist’s Way, simply implementing morning pages as a daily routine can enhance and open up a world of growth in creative, personal, and spiritual endeavors.