I’ve been trapped in the house for about three weeks while recovering from a serious bout of pneumonia. It’s a terrible feeling not to be able to take a full breath; I sympathize with those who deal with respiratory problems on a regular basis. I did, however, enjoy watching Keeper Hubby, Artist Daughter and Poet Son run the household; they were impressive at keeping the juice flowing and the soup hot. After the fever and codeine cough medicine haze lifted, I got back to the business of domestic management, pushing myself too quickly (but they NEED me, right?). A relapse continued my forced confinement and put a dent in my quest to explore different places to write. I couldn’t even go out in my backyard, thanks to a series of ozone alert days full of respiratory-distressed air that settled on the city. That usually doesn’t happen here until August. My captivity started me thinking about other ways to kick-start my creativity.
This week I began writing Morning Pages again.
Morning Pages, if you haven’t heard of the term, is an activity promoted by author and artist Julia Cameron in her classic book The Artist’s Way. First thing in the morning, before you do anything else, write three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing, also called freewriting. Author Natalie Goldberg touts this type of mind-freeing activity in Writing Down the Bones, another well-known book in writers’ circles. The concept is to free your mind from the cluttered thinking (read: monkey mind) that tries to smother the creative ideas lurking in your gray matter.
When I first read about Morning Pages, I was enthusiastic, anything for more creativity. But Perfectionist Me, my alpha alter ego, started protesting. You must make sense! Fix that grammar! It has to be three pages! Now you’re behind, so write six pages! When I would miss a day, I felt guilty about it. After more spurts and fits, I gave up. Perfectionism and guilt seem to be common partners-in-crime with procrastination. I’m ready to let go of the excuses and be my most creative me. What to do? Risk it all and be imperfect.
As if there is any chance of ever attaining perfection. Perfectionism really boils down to fear. Fear of failure. But the condundrum is if you don’t start, you are destined to fail for certain. Without risk, there is no success. Conclusion: Do It Afraid.
Our imperfections, bumps, lumps and scars make us our unique selves with a unique voice to share, in whatever shape that voice comes in. Embracing our selves, our gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses can take a lifetime.
Ah, the ramblings of an amateur psychoanalyst. Note to self: try to avoid that.
Back to Morning Pages…
Interested in learning more, or getting back into a journaling mode to boost your creative side?
Check out Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way free online creativity workshop here.
It’s freeing to have a daily brain dump, so I’ll keep doing Morning Pages. If I miss a day, so what? Judging myself takes too much energy I could be using to, say, watch talking cat videos. I think of it as cerebral respiratory therapy. And I need all the therapy I can get. Help your brain breathe, the fresh air feels good!
Question: Do you journal on a regular basis? Do you feel it helps your writing/creativity?