Morning Pages - an everyday practice

1. Tea, pastries, library books and camellias from the garden - happy days
2. Busy nights at the bench
3. Dew drops like strands of pearls, in a spider's web in our garden

  1. 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. - Julia Cameron
My first week of morning pages has been disappointing, and yet I'm committing to the daily practice long term. 

I've heard mention of 'morning pages' over the years from so many creatives that I admire, and after Pip's encouragement last week I committed to the daily practice. A morning routine that allows one to clean out their mind and allow for more creativity and greater focus throughout the day? A way to discover buried thoughts after hitting the magic three pages? A way to gain perspective, keep your thoughts on track and anchor new habits? Yes please! 

Pip advises that the key to successful morning pages is getting up early and getting straight to it. Rising early to have a quiet house to yourself. Only, I am not a morning person. I'm only awake before the sun because I have three early risers. I'm much more of a tea and blankets morning person, preferring to snuggle in and cuddle my babies for as long as possible. More often than not I will pop out of bed to boil the jug, grab my overnight oats from the fridge, and jump back in to bed. But I was prepared to change for my creative betterment.

And so I did on Monday morning. With tea and notebook I sat at the kitchen table in a quiet house. Then five minutes later all three children joined me and demanded breakfast. I scrawled a sentence here and there, but it was far from stream of conscious. I was coming down with a cold and Cohen was sporting a runny nose and a cough, so I declared a sick day. As the day progressed the cold got worse. Monday I did not write three pages. 

Tuesday I'd optimistically planned to awaken earlier and put pen to paper. However, at 11 pm Cohen had his first wheezing asthma attack and I spent half the night standing in his door way listening to his breathing. I slept badly and dragged my cold-addled self to the table and wrote my sleepy sentences at 5 am when the baby woke. We got the first available doctors appointment. I did not write three pages. 

In fact all week, despite my best efforts, I did not write three pages. I gave up sitting at the kitchen table and kept my book on my bedside table and wrote in bed if I could. I wrote with tea. I wrote with a baby on my lap. I wrote between making breakfasts, lunch boxes, changing nappies and wiping up spilt milk. I grumbled. I wrote in my pages, 'surely Julia Cameron wasn't envisioning morning writing with three children under six'.  

Looking over the week's pages I felt disappointed that I had not achieved my task of writing three pages each day. I wallowed in that feeling of failure for awhile. Then I made a greater realisation and found the positive. I HAD achieved something equally wonderful. I had managed to write everyday, despite what life threw at me. I might not have hit the magic third page, but each day I had written two pages and captured thoughts, ideas, to dos, memories, complaints, plans for new collections in fourteen handwritten pages I may not have written otherwise. And I felt good. And I committed to the practice. Maybe I will write three pages, maybe I won't. But I will keep trying, because an attempt is better than nothing.

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