Tool One: The Morning Pages

‘There is no wrong way to do morning pages’

The morning pages are three pages of writing. Not stories, not poems or dramas. Just what Julia believes stands between us and our creativity. Whether it be whiney, self-pitying or even childish, we’re basically draining our minds of all the clutter that enters them when we wake up. Before you do anything, even if it means setting your alarm 20 – 30 minutes early, you are to write three pages of what pops into your head.

For me, I write about what’s worrying me. For someone who suffers with anxiety that is quite a lot of worries. Sometimes I do run out of things to write, but Julia encourages us to write simply that: ‘I have nothing to write’, over and over until we fill three pages. At the end of each week of the course, the check-in questions always ask how many morning pages we’ve done this week, preferrably seven.

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The last time I did this course, I never missed a morning with the morning pages. It was only after I completed it that I began to falter. Unfortunately, I missed a morning this week. I fear that I’m already starting to repeat history. See? Anxiety!

Another function of the morning pages, unofficially in my opinion, is that they can also help you realise things that you may have overlooked. Small epiphanies, if you will. For instance, thanks to the morning pages (this time around), I realised that writing out story ideas is bad for me. I wind up writing out every part of the story, beginning, middle and end, in a spiderweb and because I’ve used so much detail, getting the story typed up in its entirety becomes a chore. Therefore, I lose interest. Why do I do it? I actually like writing out story ideas, it’s the procrastinator’s favourite to avoid writing the whole thing, which will only take more time and patience.

So I’ve stopped.

I’ve written one short story. It wasn’t easy. Even though I had avoided writing down the full plotline and structure, it was still in my head about how I wanted it to go and I fear that that is my downfall. Would I not be better writing it as I go along? I would love to hear opinions from other writers on how they develop a story, and what works for them. It may not work for me, but it might help me figure out what does.

The short story is completed, but I’m far from satisfied with it. However, I won’t go back and alter it in every petty little way until I think it’s perfect, because I never will think that. I’ll just keep writing and follow the cliche: practice makes perfect!

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One thought on “Tool One: The Morning Pages

  1. I have yet to figure out a good way for me to get stories written down and completed. Sometimes I write just a simple sentence down which contains the idea of the story. Other times I will write down a scene that is part of a larger story. Other times I just start writing the story itself. Every time it turns out the same, it never gets finished. I have about three story ideas that have been the main three in my head for years. They tend to rotate on which I am thinking about at the time. Someday I hope to figure out how to get them on paper, which means I am interested in your question and would love to read others answers as well.

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