I started writing morning pages just over two years ago. I loved it and looked forward to waking up at 4:30 nearly every single day to write in my journal; I relished being able to get the coffee pot ready each night and then crawl out of bed to the smell of hot coffee and then put my pen to paper.
Don’t know what morning pages are? It comes from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a book written over 25 years ago that has remained the standard for people looking to break through their creative barriers and reach their goals. She advises that a person write three pages of stream of consciousness every single morning. The idea is that we need a place to put all of our worries — they are constantly swimming inside of our heads and come out in our work in the least expected ways.
When I started, I had a two and a three year old running amok in our house. At the time, I could almost depend on them sleeping through the night, except for my middlest bug who would play in his room semi-quietly while I finished up my writing time.
Now? I have an 8-month old, a 3.5 year old, and a 5 year old. The 5 year old sleeps soundly most nights, but the 3.5 and 8 month old aren’t as predictable – and the middle one isn’t content to just playing in his room when he wakes up anymore. On top of that, 4:30 seems like an awful early rooster call each morning after moving constantly the day before and wanting to maximize my resting time.
For a while, I’ve questioned whether the time is worth it. I’m down to writing just one page in my Leuchtturm1917, which takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the distractions. That’s a half hour that could be spent getting ready for the madness of the morning, catching up on my blog and blogging buddies, reading to ensure that I have content for my blog, or clocking in for my paid job. Is it helpful to whine, for the twelve thousandth time, that I wasn’t able to get up as early as I wanted and I already feel behind? That I have no voice as a writer and I’m wasting all of my time?? Harumph, I can’t be the only one, I suppose.
But here is my 6-month reflection post after starting morning pages (missing images and all) and I certainly thought it was a worthwhile endeavor then! So maybe it has been helpful and I’m determined to make it worthwhile again. When I write my blog posts, I do a lot of editing to remove as much whining as possible, but some still slips through. Would some of that work be done for me if I spent some quality time with my notebook in the morning before the wild things got up?
So here is my plan tomorrow morning: Just get up. When the alarm goes off, I won’t push snooze for 2 hours like I’ve been doing for months. I’m already awake, I’m not getting any quality rest at that point anyway, just get up.
Pour a cup of coffee.
Settle in at the table.
Open the notebook.
Pick up the pen.
What do you wish you could add into your day? What’s that one little thing that keeps slipping away from you, no matter what you try?
Or — do you journal daily? Do you find it worthwhile? How do you manage the routine to ensure that it gets done every day??