When you write for a living–in my case as a grant writer, blog writer, newsletter writer, appeal writer, e-blast writer, and every-other-type-of-miscellaneous-communication-writer for the non profit, Plant With Purpose–every word counts.
I budget my time and my words. I only spend time working on projects that could be useful, writing words and sentences that will end up on donor’s screens and mailboxes.
There’s no time for fluff or play when the words I write could impact the lives of families around the world (more on my narcissistic, save-the-world guilt complex later).
Which is why I’ve decided to let go and let flow.
Specifically, Morning Pages are three pages of handwritten (who still hand writes anything longer than a to do list these days?!), free flowing, stream of consciousness (ie purposeless) writing, done first thing in the morning before you’ve even had your coffee.
But Julia Cameron and her apparently millions of followers swear by the pages as the first and most crucial step toward unleashing creativity.
So I’m doing it. For the past two weeks, I’ve (mostly) written my morning pages everyday. Although sometimes they don’t happen till after a workout or a cup of coffee, I’ve been pretty good about sticking to the regimen. And, you know what, I kind of like them.
For me the real discipline–and the real reward–is letting go of my compulsion to craft, to polish, to edit my thoughts and words for public consumption. To spend somewhere between 26:03 and 28:37 minutes (not that I’m keeping track) being Aly, uncut and uncensored, and remembering that my worth is not found in my ability to string together coherent sentences or complete a report or article or blog post. That my worth is not found in my own ability to create, but is inherent in me because of the One who created me.
The great poet, Scott Cairns, who I had the privilege of taking a class with this last semester, said, “Why would you want to write when you already know what you’re going to say? That’s called propaganda. We write to comes to terms with our lives.”
The Morning Pages are helping me “come to terms” with my life. Through them I am reclaiming writing as a journey to self-discovery and God-discovery.
And, so far, I’m liking what I see.
To learn more about the Morning Pages, watch a video explanation here.
Or, if you absolutely refuse to write longhand or can’t even remember how to form letters with a rudimentary object called a pen or pencil, there’s a website called 750words.com where you can privately write the equivalent of three pages of longhand. This site has a ton of cool statistics, word trackers, and can even give you insight into your subconscious and metadata. If you’re like me and love to geek out on words, I highly recommend this site.
What do you think? Would you consider writing Morning Pages? What are your biggest objections?