Friday, September 20, 2013

An Early Morning Exercise

We're home from our mini-getaway and happy to be here. Time for laundry and catching up on several things. It's also nice to be back writing in my home office with computer and printer working like they should. The hotel we were at for two nights had wi-fi. And it was free. But it didn't work! I used the lobby guest computer and had formatting problems when posting here on the blog. Frustrating.

Yesterday, I gave you a writing exercise and am wondering if anyone tried it. I've heard many writers say that they think writing exercises are a waste of time. The ones who are selling their work on a fairly regular basis have the attitude that they don't need that kind of practice anymore. There may be some truth in that concept, but I firmly believe that writing exercises are helpful to both beginners and intermeidate writers, even those who make a living writing. Who can claim that they already know it all?

One of the exercises that some writers practice is one termed Morning Pages offered by Julia Cameron, author of The Right To Write. She suggests that every writer write 3 pages in longhand every morning, early in the morning. If you do this soon after you rise, she claims, you will not have your natural defenses up yet, your thoughts will be purer and more instinctive. People will whine that they don't have time to do that. Her response is to tell them to get up half an hour earlier and do it. Ms. Cameron says she has seen a profound change in people who practice writing Morning Pages.( Last June, I posted a short review of the book. You can read it here.)

Ms. Cameron also says you must give it a full ninety days to make a real difference in your wriitng life and perhaps even your personal life. There will be a neurological change in that amount of time as well, fully integrating the practice into your mind. 

I had the best of intentions after reading about Morning Pages. I fully intended to try it but you know what happens to many of our good intentions? I'm going to make a concerted effort to do this. Today, I'll purchase a notebook of 8 1/2 by 11 size with ruled lines to keep a running journal of my Morning Pages. By Christmas, I should be seeing some kind of difference if what Ms. Cameron claims is true. And I have no reason to disbelieve her at all. 

Who would like to try this longterm exercise with me? You're probably wondering what kind of things you should write. It's merely a place to write about your thoughts on anything and everything. You're not trying to write a full story or an essay or plotting a novel. Just let your mind flow to your pen or pencil and capture whatever is on your mind when you wake up. It may have nothing to do with the craft of writing. That's OK. It doesn't matter because YOU ARE WRITING. 

A side benefit might come when your mind begins to nourish a seed of an idea for a story, poem, essay or article when you are writing those 3 longhand pages. I know two writers who are practicing this exercise on a daily basis. I haven't discussed with them how they feel about it but I think I will do so soon and then report back to you. 


  1. I have been writing "morning pages" for close to seven years now. I confess I don't write them as soon as I wake up, but I do usually write them before I do anything else productive in my day.

    I'm not sure if the practice makes me more productive or creative, but it has definitely made me more self-aware. I see themes repeating themselves around what I worry about. I also see evidence of long-term progress when the daily progress seems so slow.

    I hope you find benefit in the next 90 days.

    1. Thank you for your comment re the Morning Pages. You've given me incentive to stick to my intention and give it a try.