For those of you that aren’t familiar with the terms, morning pages is writing practice.
Morning Pages is a term coined by Julia Cameron; writing practice by Natalie Goldberg.
Julia Cameron holds that a writer, upon waking should write three pages of longhand. “In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it” she says.
Unfortunately I can’t find my copy of Writing Down the Bones so I won’t be able to quote Natalie Goldberg. But take my word, she is a master of teaching the art of writing. And if you haven’t read Writing Down the Bones then go get a copy. And don’t lose it.
Natalie Goldberg holds that in order to become a writer you must practice writing. Use a pen that is easy to write with. Use any notebook. In fact you shouldn’t use anything fancy so that you don’t feel that you need to write well. Writing practice is not about writing well. It’s about writing. Writing for its own sake.
I’ve been practicing morning pages/writing practice for about five years. Yes, I’ve missed some days. But I forgive myself and continue.
At this point I’ve filled about four or five notebooks. Maybe more. I can’t really tell because they’ve all fallen apart. All except one. They’re sitting on my desk, in a pile, watching me as I write about them. They’re embarrassed because they know they’re full of shit.
On most days the challenge for me is not about writing. The challenge is copying the parts from my notebook that I like or feel that I can use. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
Even though I write crap on most days, rarely do I not want to write. And if it happens, I’m usually cured after a sentence or two.
In the past five years my writing has improved. But then again show me someone who persistently practices and doesn’t improve. If you practice you’ll improve even against your will.
If you want to be a pianist, practice. If you want to be a basketball player, practice. If you want to be an alcoholic, practice. Writing is no different.