There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for Journaling

I’ve written in diaries, journals, and now mini notebooks ever since second grade. I tried journaling every day, but that didn’t always happen. In November, I started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and began the twelve week creative course. 
One of the things Julia insists you do throughout the course is morning pages. It’s three pages of longhand writing first thing in the morning. As soon as you wake up, you do the morning pages. Oh, sure, you can go to the bathroom or get a drink, but the first activity you do after waking up is writing three longhand pages.
I first started doing morning pages a few years ago when I read Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write. I didn’t think they were as amazing as others had claimed. But see, I wasn’t doing them right. I was writing them in the morning, but not first thing. I’d go for a run, shower, eat breakfast, then write them. Or I’d go to my 9 a.m. class and write them afterwards.
While doing The Artist’s Way course, I knew I had to do them exactly as Julia Cameron suggested. And, wow, I noticed a big difference! There is something to be said for writing as soon as you wake up. It’s like your mind is still in a semiconscious state. I got a lot of new ideas for current and future projects. Some of my blog posts are from morning pages. I even worked out a few personal frustrations. Journaling first thing in the morning became a significant start to my day. 
I finished The Artist’s Way course at the end of January, but I’ve continued writing the morning pages the correct way. I keep my notebook and pen on my night table. When I wake up, I prop my pillows against the headboard and immediately start writing my morning pages.
The Artist's Way
I’ve done well writing them first thing every morning since November, but occasionally I miss a morning. I make it up later in the day, but I notice the difference. When I skip the morning pages, my day feels muddled. I have that feeling like I’ve forgotten something or am missing something important. I’ve even noticed that writing feels much more like a chore on days that I skip my morning pages.
It’s still surprising to me how writing three simple pages, just fifteen minutes each morning, helps kick-start my writing routine for the rest of the day. It helps me get into a motivated and productive writing groove!
Have you read The Artist’s Way? Do you write in a journal? Have you tried morning pages?

21 comments:

Bish Denham said...

My mother gave me this book...and I did the whole thing. It was a wonderful experience. (However I don't do the morning pages any more. Maybe I need to do them again....)

Hannah Kincade said...

I've tried morning pages. It didn't last for me. Though I do still do something like that before a day of writing.

I journal almost every day. I loves it. I've journaled since I was ten.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I've got about 30 completed journals, but I haven't done a good job chronicling my adult years. Busy! I've heard good things about Morning Pages.

Summer Ross said...

I haven't read the book- but it sounds like I should. I do keep journals though.

Siv Maria said...

Have not read the book but have kept a journal for as long as I can remember.

Keena said...

I used to journal as a teenager but kinda have let it drop as an adult. I should get back into it. It was theraputic for me. great idea

Sophia Richardson said...

I usually wound up writing about my dreams or what I did the day before and didn't get slammed over the head with epiphanies so after a while I gave them up and only journalled when I had something on my mind.
- Sophia.

Bluestocking said...

I've never read the The Artist Way, though it sounds like a writer rite of passage at this point. Glad you've been so successful with the book and morning pages. Knowing what works for you as a writer is half the battle!

Laura Pauling said...

I have not done this. I'll free write during the prewriting stage. But I can see where this would generate ideas. I wonder if writing them at night in a semi conscious state would work? :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

No I haven't read that book. I wonder if morning pages would work for me. I usually need at least 2 cups of coffee before I write. LOL

Angie Paxton said...

I haven't read this book, but now I think I need to. This sounds like a wonderful way to give focus to your day.

Michelle Teacress said...

Hi Laura,
You've got some great posts for your A-Z challenge. :) We're thinking on the same lines for the letter J! I bet a lot of people are. Journal is a pretty obvious J word for writers, huh?
Thanks for visiting my blog this month, and good luck in the drawing!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've not read that one. I used to keep a journal, and eventually I used it to write down my dreams. (And that's what spurred the idea for my series.)

Thomasina said...

I haven't read the book, but I do journal. I like to journal at night, it's a way for me to clear my head before going to sleep. I used to write every night, but now I don't because I'm usually up reading. I love writing in my journal at the library, somehow it's more freeing. Thanks for the comment you left on my blog!

Brianna said...

I started journaling in junior high school and continue to do so, but I always wait until the end of the day. It's just a habit by now I guess. It never occurred to me to try journaling at a different time of day. Amazing what simple suggestions can do!
Brianna @ Pocketful of Playdough

Catherine Ensley said...

It's a wonderful book. I was blocked when I first read it, and it unblocked me. I did the morning pages, and learned a lot by doing them. But I've fallen away from that. I'm so busy that I struggle to find any time to write at all, and I can't see wasting precious time on morning pages (anymore).

Carla said...

I love journaling! I try to keep journals for my kids too, but that really is a lot of work! I really wish I had more time to journal more.

Carla

India Drummond said...

I use my blog to help kick start my writing--it's non-edited and low-pressure. I tried keeping a journal, but I never went beyond a week or so. I think the social aspect of blogging helps me stick with it.

India Drummond

Dawn Kurtagich said...

I haven't read this book, but now I think I will. Writing in the morning seems like a wonderful idea. I tend to jot down things during the day, but I doubt I have ever done it first thing in the morning.

Definitely worth a go! Thanks for this blog post!
D

queenofenglish said...

I haven't read the book, but I will definitely look into buying it. I'm like Jennifer, though. I need two cups of tea before I'm civil to anyone. Wonder if Morning Pages can change that.

MM the Queen of English

queenofenglish said...

I haven't read the book, but I will definitely look into buying it. I'm like Jennifer, though. I need two cups of tea before I'm civil to anyone. Wonder if Morning Pages can change that.

MM the Queen of English