The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Wooden Writing Tablets.
Last month, I took an on-line course taught by Cynthia Morris, called the Fall Writing Fling. Each day we received a prompt and photo in the mail, along with a “writual blessing.” All we had to do was write for at least fifteen minutes each day for the month.
Happily, I completed all thirty-one days. It wasn’t always easy, and there were days I fitted it in late at night, and even while visiting family. But I love structure, and I love the “follow through.” This was, for me, the checking in with everyone else in the group by posting comments. It was really what I looked forward to, a completion of the creative act of writing. That’s what Pat Schneider of Writing Alone & With Others would say. She believes that the actual writing is only part of the writing task; the sharing of the writing, and receiving a response completes the process. In Cynthia’s class, no one read each other’s work,only post three words to describe the process that day, along with comments on the work. I liked reflecting on whatever it was I wrote, without sharing it.
I found that by the third week, it became a habit, and by the fourth week, I really enjoyed it. It ceased being a task.
A friend wondered what I did with the exercises. I said I threw them away, that they were like practicing scales, but later I realized that I did go back to a couple for insights into the story I was working on.
Practice makes the difference.
Does anyone else keep a regular morning pages sort of practice? What are the effects in your life? Leave a comment!
Forgot to say thanks for the info about Pat Schneider.
Hi Indira, I’ve had a “morning” practice for years because of my spiritual practice, needing to get my thought aligned correctly with Goodness, but it’s all been mental until Cynthia’s courses (www.originalimpulse.com). Now it’s a question of blending the writing and the praying/pondering/listening together. Learning to fully accept the power of the writing. But, I’m sure it’s going to be a power boost to my spiritualizing thought once I get “settled” with it. Recently came across a book by Janet Conner, “Writing Down Your Soul” which is inspirational to me about the power of this writing. Right now I seem to be doing to much to absorb it all, but slowly getting it organized. Thanks for your soft and lovely light-filled blog!
Thank you, Sandra. I don’t know Janet Connor’s book, but I do know and like Natalie Goldberg’s Buddhist-inspired Writing Down the Bones. I’ve heard she’s a wonderful in person as well.
I have Natalie’s book, but not sure how much I’ve read. My standard seems to have been Brenda Ueland, who was inspiration for Schneider. But something about Julia Cameron in an email today made me wonder why I never got around to reading her classic. But I suppose we always get what we need!
My Temple dog Morning Pages have stopped. Still, I have about 15 years worth in notebooks, now resting together in dusty corners. I say corners because The Pile moves around a lot. Perhaps, I will start again. Structure and ritual are comforting. Thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks for posting, Dana! Once, I tried a verse journal. I lived in Sag Harbor, NY and my window looked out into some woods where a deer would come by. I wrote one entry per morning in free verse, as a kind of meditation, to prepare for my move to Boulder the following spring. Morning pages helped again to get a focus on a time of deep despair. No matter what, it worked, in that change takes place Cynthia’s course was great this way. I need to remember to continue this practice.
Indira, I’ve been writing daily for 20 years now. In the first 5 years or so, the writing led to some very deep healing and it changed my life. Now I can’t imagine beginning my day without writing. Sometimes it’s just a little word exercise, or some self-talk I need, or working out a solution to something on my mind – all kinds of things. After Julia Cameron’s book came out and she advocated morning pages, I suppose that’s what i could call them. But truly, writing in the morning is a meditation practice for me. I center myself for the day (as best I can some mornings) and carry on my day at a much greater level of consciousness. And, the simple truth – it just feels really good! Practice is everything. I learned that from music, and now I know it from writing, too.
Always great to read your blog! Love your honesty, simplicity, directness. Thank you.