My stack of Morning Pages notebooks tells me that today, 4/8/14, is my one-year anniversary. That means one year of writing every weekday morning, stream of consciousness, by hand, in my notebook. I already wrote about the Gift of Morning Pages, so I’m not going to repeat myself here, but I do wonder what one year of this practice has brought me? Obviously it’s become important to me or I wouldn’t have made it a daily practice. So what is it?
Has my life improved because of Morning Pages? For sure. Writing in the morning, seeing my handwriting manifest itself on the page means I don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of my busy family life. I relish the daily ritual of being able to say, i.e. write, whatever I want. It’s become a place to offload anger and disappointments and work out frustrations, and to celebrate accomplishments and joys. There, I can pat myself on the back as often as I want, or I can gripe about something as often as I want without anybody noting how petty I am. Plus, what Julia Cameron says is really true: Once you’ve written down your anger, it does dissipate, while a joy becomes augmented. Funny how that works.
Has my writing life improved because of Morning Pages? Definitely. I have been more productive. Last year I set myself the goal of one publication per month, and I met that easily. I’m also on track with that this year. The practice to tending to my writing every morning fosters that productivity, but my Morning Pages notebooks have also become the home of lists of ideas, tasks and accomplishments, and so that daily habit of checking in and leafing back through the pages once in a while to visit old ideas just helps in bringing more ideas to fruition.
Has my writing improved because of Morning Pages? I think so. Writing is about developing your own voice, and in writing Morning Pages, you are doing exactly that. You hear yourself. You dump the frustrations and excitements and then you can hear what’s really there. If you’re a nonfiction writer like me, it’s even more important to hone in on your own vision, and to discard the clutter of all the other voices that bombard us every day. For me, Morning Pages are 30-45 minutes every morning of listening to myself. And that, in this busy and boisterous life of mine, is really a gift to myself.
So, far from being a daily chore, Morning Pages are a ritual I truly cherish, and I get antsy when something prevents me from sitting down on the couch with that first cup of coffee, cracking open that notebook and seeing where my pen will take me that morning. If you are doing Morning Pages, what have they done for you?