I just started reading The Artists Way by Julia Cameron (buy at Amazon) and one of the things she says an artist must do is write three pages every day in the morning.
These three pages don’t need to be publishing quality prose and can be as simple as an unfiltered stream of thoughts that is not meant to be seen by anyone. And these are not related to any project that you are on. This is just penning whatever comes to your head. You know, brain vomits. Heck, she even says that you don’t have to publish this. She says that this exercise is like a meditative trance that you put yourself into, just that the object that you focus on is the words that come out of your head (and not breadth in most other meditative practices).
I think there is merit in doing this. My best work has happened when I have been regular. When I have been showing up without any expectation or an agenda. Even TNKS happened when I was writing every day on my blog and one of the posts couldn’t seem to end!
However, the thing with such projects is that I tend to lose interest after a bit. I don’t want to lose interest with this one. Writing is THAT important to me! May be I can appoint a few monitors? Say Vivek. Or Arti. Or Krishna. The day I don’t post this in the first half (that’s the point of the morning pages), I would consider it default and I would get penalized for it. Say 1000 bucks for each day I miss? And yeah, I ought to do this even if I am traveling. If I am alive, I need to write a morning page. How about that?
Of course, there would be days when I know I won’t be able to write. If I inform these people at least a day prior, I can take a break.
The more I think about it, the more I think that the idea at some level is similar to what Naval says about 60 minutes of meditation every day. He advocates sitting idle and letting your thoughts run amok. Julia asks us to write. In both, I think the key tenets are a daily routine, flushing your head off whatever is clouding it, and spending time with self.
Oh, by the way, Julia says asks us that these morning pages don’t have to be shared per se. But you know me. How can I do something and not drum about it to the world?
Now, as a reader that may want to read these, here are some “rules” that I want to put forth.
- These would be my unedited, unfiltered thoughts. And thus could be happy, sad, cribby, ranty, boring, interesting, etc.
- I will NOT correct typos on this one. May become an eye-sore for you as a reader but that’s that.
- I will endeavor to write 1000 words every day, give or take. Or write for 30 minutes. I know it’s a lot but let’s see how many I get in.
- Some days when I don’t have a computer with me, I will write with pen and paper and I will take a picture and upload it to this blog as and when I get time. May be I’ll write on the phone. If not even that, I will do a voice note. Something will happen for sure.
- I will not focus on paraphernalia around writing on WordPress. So, no tags, no SEO optimization etc.
So yeah. Morning Pages.
Today was day 1. Lets see how many days I do this.
PS: You know how things that you seek find you? That!
I spotted someone reading this book at a Starbucks and at a whim I ordered it. I am about 50 pages in and so far I like it. I can see myself recommending the book to others.
PPS: When I read the first few pages, I see that Julia talks about writing and creativity being spiritual practices and she connects it to God. As a non-believer, I was tempted to dismiss the idea and discard the book. But the
struggling writer in me wanted to continue. So I did. I see value in what she says and I am reading the book assuming that God is the teacher and spirituality is the routine that we need to create.
PPPS: Writing on WordPress in these blocks is a pain. But I will find a workaround.
PPPPS: I realized I am happy when I am writing. Even if what I write is not read by anyone around. This post is giving me kicks that a beach is not. Guess I am the happiest when I create. I don’t know why. But I am. So, may be, in life, I need to be a creationist even though I don’t want to create any babies per se. M&m is more than enough!