Sunday, September 22, 2013

Three People, Three Opinions

Here we are at the very beginning of fall. Thus, the picture heading today's post. Lovely autumn colors although some of them appear a bit unrealistic. Still--they are very pretty.

Friday I told you about a writing exercise called Morning Pages. The idea is to write up to 3 pages in longhand each morning before you begin your usual activities. You're to write anything that comes to mind, not necessarily anything related to being a writer. Often, nothing about writing will come forth but once in awhile, perhaps your thoughts on what is going on in your writing life may spill onto those pages. Or you could end up with a grocery list. I'm certain that each day brings something different.

I spoke to two writer friends who have been doing the exercise and received their permission to tell you what they think. A reader also commented on Friday's post.

Harriet Cooper, one of my guest bloggers awhile back, likes doing the Morning Pages. She said:

   when i do them regularly, i find they simply keep me in the mood. even if i do no other writing that day, i can point to my morning pages as an accomplishment. i use them for many things. i write down ideas so they're all in one place. i write drafts of articles and then i staple the finished article on that page. i write general stuff that may have nothing to do with writing. i put down my feelings. i'm beginning to also put down lists of what i want to accomplish for my writing. and i'm starting to glue in pictures or short articles of things that interest me. i may also jot down some notes about the picture or article that i may one day turn into my own article. for me, the pages are like a safety deposit box. i put my thoughts in it and can come back later to look through them and pick out the jewels.

Joyce Finn is the moderator of my online critique group, writersandcritters. She has also tried doing the Morning Pages exercise. She told me she is erratic in her effort and it makes her angry at times, Joyce added that nothing good seems to be coming from them and that she is only doing 1.5 to 2 pages, not the suggested 3. She conceded that the one good thing is that she is writing.

Theresa Hupp, novelist, is the person who commented on Friday's post. I appreciated the fact that she took time to comment. Her remark on yesterday's post was:

   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.

There you are--three people, three opinions. After learning what these three people think about doing the exercise on a reasonably regular basis, I felt inspired to try the exercise myself. No more good intentions gone astray. What I saw in each of these people, even though they all had different things to say, is that Morning Pages was a good tool to keep them writing. And I noted that even Joyce, who wasn't overly thrilled, has kept up the practice even if not on a regular basis, so she has gotten something from this project. 

Check the links to each of these three writers, learn a bit more about them and then read what their opinion of Morning Pages is again. Food for thought!

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