Friday, January 06, 2006

Artist's Way: Morning Pages.

Ah, the morning pages. Probably the most-resisted tool in the Artist's Way, and when not openly resisted, the one most often failed at. (Whether that's their inconvenience/difficulty or covert resistance, who cares?)

I've tried the AW before and the MPs were part of my flop on it (though I don't think all). I do think they're beneficial. I also think they're hard and whether they're beneficial ENOUGH depends on what you have to give up to do them, what you get out of them, etc.

Here are my thoughts on them:

Morning is a good time, because you're not wholly awake yet and your censor is blurred. It's also a great time 'cause it organizes your thoughts for the day. It's a lousy time for lots of other reasons, especially for night owls; I'm sure you can list reasons, even if you aren't directly affected by them.

So, I personally will do them in the morning if I can. If not, I won't beat myself up - I will try to do them later. I'll try to defuse the censor and just write them, somehow. I did that today and it seemed to work okay. Morning doesn't work? Make them late-afternoon pages, sitting-on-the-bus pages, waiting-room-pages, lunch-break pages, evening pages.

Three pages long-hand is hard. It's not just the volume of thoughts (after all, anything goes; I once had a day where I spent most of a page saying it was boring and wondering how much more drivel I had to write before I hit the bottom of that last page!), it's the wear and tear on the hand/wrist. If you have problems with soreness there, DITCH the writing. Don't injure yourself. If it bugs you without injuring you, consider ditching it anyway. Extra blocks you don't need. There are alternatives such as typing it up (or even using a speech-to-text if you have that).

You can do it but it takes too long? Or you just can't stand -that- -much-? Try writing a set time - as long as you commit to keep the pen (keyboard, whatever) moving/going. Or try writing fewer pages. You can always add more once you get used to it.

Get bored? Feels bland? Jazz your journal up - or your print. I love writing with colored, metallic, sparkly gel pens, for example. Just to be using 'em.

Don't like writing it? Don't think well in print, which some people don't? (Though how many are in the blogosphere, I wonder? - but there's a difference between 'letting thoughts flow' and 'composing a reasoned post' plus there are lots of art-blogs with relatively little text, so probably there are quite a few.) Why not take a voice recorder (tape or digital) and talk at it for a set period of time? Get a mic on your computer, do the same thing? (Heck, you could talk to a recorder during a long as you're alone in the car. MPs are really not meant to be shared with anyone else, certainly not at the time they're done anyway.)

Don't like words? What if you commit to a certain amount of drawing/sketching/quick-painting of thoughts on your mind? Or just mood paintings? Not what she intended, probably not a full brain dump, but so what? You can always add words if there's something you want to say, without being bound by them.

Can't stand them -at all-? Then don't do them.

Do I think they're valuable? Yes. That's why I'm attempting them again. But if they cause you abandon the AW, they're not at all useful. Nothing you simply stop doing or won't start is going to help, period. And it may be that if you forced yourself to it, it wouldn't help enough to be worth the cost.

Maybe one of the tricks I've thought of (some of which I've used) will work for you. Maybe not. Maybe you don't need them. I'm SURE this post is incoherent. But I hope it's helpful to someone. If not, I hope that at least I'm amusing when I'm incoherent. :)


Terri said...

Hi Laura...Just stopping by to say hello from AW.
I SO agree with you on those morning pages...if we can write in the morning, great. If not, better to do them at some point during the day. And we shouldn't feel we "failed" if we write when the clock says it's past noon time.
Wishing you the best with AW. See you at Kat's place.

Marilyn said...

I, too, am in the AW group and wanted to say Hi. MP's are a sticking point for many...often my downfall before, even though I got a LOT out of doing them. This time, I'm going to try sticking to Cameron's guidelines...only because I did get so much out of them in previous attempts...maybe I just wasn't willing to dig deeper, who knows? But I think people should decide what feels right for need to beat ourselves up over MP's...since the whole point of AW is to stop beating ourselves up in the first place! :)

kathryn said...

LOVE these suggestions. I too struggled with whether the do the MP and ended up deciding I could do the AW without them. I'd attempted the AW twice before and abandoned it becase of my failure to do them. (My issue was rebellion against Cameron's statement they are not negotiable.) Surprise surprise, once I gave myself permission, I've been writing them. Because I know I can choose not to.