I’ve been reading The Artist’s Way, and I’ve been writing the Morning Pages. Faithfully. For about three weeks now.
I’ve heard mention of the book a few times over the past few years, and recently it came across my radar again, twice, in a very short time. And so there I was on my Amazon account, buying things and thinking, “Before I check out, is there anything else I need?” And the book crossed my mind. So I found it and added it to my cart.
The book arrived a few days later and I contemplated whether I would actually put it to use. I mean, I wanted to, but I didn’t fully believe I’d stick with it. (I’ve got two skeins of yarns and some crochet needles sitting around the house that, if they could speak, would tell great tales of my inability to see a project through to the end.) The size of the book and the layout of the pages alone kind of fascinated me though. I dove in to read as soon as possible and I got a little bit stuck at the introduction because it laid out the rules for Morning Pages. Write three long-hand pages first thing every morning. Non-negotiable. Just write what’s in your head. The good, the bad, the ugly, the stupid. Just write it. Don’t try to write something. Just write anything as long as it’s three long-hand pages.
I was intimidated and I sat on the idea for a few days. I had a lot of what-ifs and too many doubts about my ability to follow through. How long would it take me to write three pages by hand anyway? Who writes by hand any more? There was also the issue of time. I already wake up very early. I have all my energy in the morning. I like to work out by 5:00 am. It gives me a mental boost to take me forward into the day. How was I going to squeeze in the writing too and still have time to shower, dress, dry my hair and start work on time? And no, I couldn’t really move the workout to a later point in the day. I tried it once. I knew I wasn’t going to stick with it. It’s early morning or nothing.
But I wanted to try this writing thing. I wanted to go on the journey to unblock my creative spirit and (as promised,) reach a point where it becomes so much easier to write than to not write.
So I started the Morning Pages. I made some concessions in my morning routine. Get up just a bit earlier than I already do. Write. Work out a little bit later than normal. Start work a little bit later too. (Because I ridiculously realized that since working from home, I’ve consistently been working more hours a day than expected anyway.)
And so I started writing first thing in the morning.
I thought I would hate it. I thought my hand would cramp up. (It does sometimes.) I thought I’d struggle to find any words to write. I don’t. I became hooked almost immediately. Even while struggling to open my eyes and get out of bed just after 4:00 am, I have wanted to get up and write, every day.
I think the beauty of it is that there’s no expectations. There’s nobody to impress because the pages are not to be shared with others. I’m not even supposed to go back and reread them myself. Just write the words and work out the muck so that my brain is free to be more creative for the rest of the day. Sometimes what I write feels so scattered, so mundane, and other times the writing leads to stunning revelations. I feel these personal break-throughs that were probably sitting there just below the surface, yet I had absolutely no idea. Like the day I realized that I have a problem with anger. Not that anyone would know this because I don’t show it. I don’t voice anger. I just get quiet. I stuff it down inside and I allow it to ruin whole days, whole weekends, or special times that are meant to be treasured but instead get clouded over. I get angry, usually over something really stupid, expectations that I assume someone else understands without me spelling it out. I don’t express anger, I think because I don’t believe I can express it productively and I don’t want to fight. And so I swallow it and go inside myself and allow it steal precious time from me. I am really just punishing my own self. This. This revelation came from writing words I didn’t know were going to come through my pen to the paper. This realization allowed me to start changing for the better, taking the pressure off of myself and learning to let go. It was kind of easy really, and mind-blowing all at the same time.
I started The Artist’s Way and the Morning Pages simply because I want to blog more routinely, like I used to three blogs and a hundred years ago. I like to write. It’s cathartic for me. It used to be so easy and I could barely go a day or two without writing. And then one day I started letting it go and then not writing became too easy. Trying to write seemed like so much effort. I want it to be effortless again.
I worry some days that I’m not achieving what I wanted. I’m still not writing formally all that much. Then again, I’m only on chapter three. The book reminds me that I’m going to go through some stuff. Some exciting, some frustrating. It will all lead somewhere if I stick with it. So I’m trusting it. Maybe I shouldn’t decide what the end result will be. Maybe I should just keep rolling with it and allow it to lead me wherever it goes.