Tuesday, June 15, 2010

a goal

Yesterday I spent a lot of time thinking and writing about what kinds of habits or practices I could put in place that will support my vision of myself as a writer. Immediately I thought of Morning Pages, a classic tool for artists of all stripes from Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way. I last did Morning Pages regularly many years ago, when I was living in San Francisco and trying to decide if I wanted to go to a M.F.A. program for creative writing. As soon as I thought of the idea, I rejected it as not possible. My mornings are not my own, I thought. They're run by the 3-year-old dictator in the house.

But then I thought some more: what if I could spend a little time every morning establishing my identity as a writer? I already have a lot of morning practices that reinforce my identity as a mother. In fact, I've been feeling just a tad bit resentful lately about my son's early morning tendencies to wake up too early and then fuss a lot, as if someone forced him to get up by 6:30 every day when he really just wanted to sleep in till 8. I can't convince him to be in a better mood; all I can really do is control my response to his mood. So I decided - what the heck!? I'm going to give it a try.

Julia Cameron has a specific method for her version of Morning Pages. My version will be a little different. I will write, free-hand and stream of consciousness-style, in my journal, for 10 minutes straight, 5 days a week for the next 3 weeks (until the end of the e-course I'm taking). The idea is to not think about what you're writing - just do it. I think of it as brain-drain writing: a place for daily cares, to-dos, lists, fears, thoughts, memories - anything that comes up in those ten minutes gets drained onto the page.

Ten minutes of showing up at the page, of reminding myself that I am a writer, an individual with her own creative life, as well as a mother. Today was my first day. I did my morning pages in the car after dropping Elan off at preschool. I wrote 3 pages. My hand got tired. It felt good.


  1. Hi Rebecca! I can't believe you wrote 3 pages in 10 minutes - I don't think I could. But I go back & forth between doing 3 pages front & back or just front/back of 1 and front of another. Not sure which is really 3 pages, but I guess that doesn't matter. Whatever works for us, right?

    I think you're about 5 weeks ahead of me? This is my 16th week. Right now my morning sleep is still more important than getting up & writing. But then again, I've never been much of a morning person.

    BTW, I find it interesting that you're also a writer. Do you read a lot of freelance writer sites? Pls let me know if you need a recommendation or two. I'm also working on building up my writing biz. :)

  2. I love that you are bending Cameron's rules to suit your situation. I am inspired by this simple action. I have her book too and 3 little ones under 5! and feel like I can't do it the right way so why bother! But NO! That's not it. I must bother. 5 minutes. I manage to check my email in the breakfast hour... what if I opened a notebook instead of my email every morn? You have officially challenged me. Thanks! (I'm over at Flying Lessons)

  3. I am a huge fan of Morning pages. I am in the process of incorporating work from Cameron's book "Finding Water"-a book about staying fresh creatively. -Robin, a fellow flyer

  4. yes, i too have read the artist way (and a couple of her other books, which seem to repeat the general lessons and messages) and go in and out of morning pages phases.

    when i'm doing them, i do seem to have a cleaner slate each day. 10 min a day seems very do-able. good luck!