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Monday, January 25, 2010

Artist's Way Morning Pages

    One of my goal's this year was to take time to think my own thoughts.  This could come in the form of meditation, long solo hikes or stream of conscious writing.  Actually and preferably, it would take the form of all three. 
    Over the last three weeks, I have been consistent about writing in a stream of conscious style every morning.  You can read more about the whats and whys here, but the basics are as follows:
  • Write until you have completed 3 pages, long-hand.  Even if you just write "I don't know what to say" over and over again, get all 3 pages.
  • Write as soon as possible after waking.  For me, I hit the power button on the coffee maker and start writing immediately.  I want as little outside influence as possible.  Waiting for a few hours allows your brain to get bombarded by commercials, work stress, and whatever the hell else you got going in life.
  • Don't feel like the writing has to make sense, or follow any kind of formatting rules, or follow any kind of rules really.  Just write.
    While I usually mock such excercises as being a bit too "hippy-dippy," this has actually helped quite a bit just in the short time that I have been doing it.  Since it allows my mind to wander, I tend to circle back to the things in my life that actually matter and are important to me.  Problems in my life find natural solutions, and I come up with a lot of good ideas during these sessions.  In fact, I have taken to keep my dayplanner close at hand, because I almost always come up with 3-4 things that I want to make sure that I follow-up with.
    More than anything, this practice has given me the mindset that I am "starting the day off right," and everything else is better because of it. 

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10 comments:

linda said...

so this is creative writing and not journaling I'm gathering? so you make things up instead of documenting?


I wish I could do that. I get stumped

Clara said...

As always, I admire the discipline. I hope you successfully work out those life tangles.

P.S. Nice girly pen picture. Surgery sure made someone soft... ;)

 ALH said...

I've been trying this since the new year started and I agree that, not only is it a wonderful way to reflect and meditate, it has also improved my writing by scraping my brain for every last word that's been hiding away. The 3 page requirement really forces me to keep thinking and not just to stop at one idea. I cherish this journaling time in the morning. It's surprisingly difficult for me to just let go though and not feel like it should be somewhat readable and should make sense, but I'm working on it. I can write a short story in 30 minutes but churning out these three pages of simple journaling is a real challenge, and a great challenge for me. I'm glad I came across the idea in your blog. Thanks!

Sarah said...

I usually avoid exercises like this as they stress me out if I can't think of anything to write, but I like the idea that simply writing that over and over again is acceptable if need be. Takes the pressure to write something brilliant and insightful off.

Good luck!

Lorien said...

You want stream of consciousness? Shit, give me your address and I'll write you long, long letters as I sit bored in class. That's stream of consciousness, and a lot of run on sentences. Actually, give me your address after I deploy. You'll get letters that are sleep deprived stream of consciousness :-p.

I think it's cathartic, and you'll find your mind going in a direction you never thought it would. It'll reveal more about your subconscious than you think... at least that's why I do it (I think).

Lorien said...

You want stream of consciousness? Shit, give me your address and I'll write you long, long letters as I sit bored in class. That's stream of consciousness, and a lot of run on sentences. Actually, give me your address after I deploy. You'll get letters that are sleep deprived stream of consciousness :-p.

I think it's cathartic, and you'll find your mind going in a direction you never thought it would. It'll reveal more about your subconscious than you think... at least that's why I do it (I think).

Amanda West said...

Man, that is an awesome idea.

I'm gonna give it a try.

Deidre said...

I used to write everyday in a stream of consciousness format...It's a really good groove to get into!

So, nice work!

Martin said...

Linda - On the contrary, it's not creative at all. You basically just write whatever comes into your head. It doesnt have to make sense.

Clara - Writing with one of those old-school pen and quill things is badass. Dont hate.

ALH - Glad its working out so well for you. I'm getting the same benefits as what you described.

Sarah - Good luck to you as well.

Lorien - Absolutely, I want those letters. Send 'em!

Amanda - Do it for at least a few days before you decide if you like it or not. For me, it took a little while to start noticing the benefits.

Diedre - Agreed! Thanks.

Trouble.Thinks said...

This is brilliant - I love the idea, hippy-dippy or not & I'm going to try it starting tomorrow!

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