I’m not by nature a big believer in self-help books. That being said, my girlfriend, Gertrude recently brought to my attention Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Like most people I’ve talked to, I began the book but did not finish it. I was turned off by the structure (it is a course) and intimidated by the rhetoric of totally changing one’s life based on one author's experience. I will give it another chance one of these days. One very valuable thing I’ve taken from the 25 pages I've read is the practice of Morning Pages. If you want a detailed description of morning pages directly from the author, please check out the book. Someone you know has it, I assure you. Cameron has a very intense description of the practice in the book.
|The Dollar Store notebook I use.|
I’d say I’m less intense about the practice of writing morning pages, but I’m a believer in the benefits. Basically, every morning I wake up, take out a notebook and brain dump three pages of stream of consciousness writing into a notebook. At first, it seems like a giant waste of time, but I have to say emptying my waking mind on paper focuses me and clears me up for the rest of the day. Also, it gets me warmed up to put things out into the world; art, writing, conversation, whatever. It’s daunting to attack a blank page which can be extended to any type of output in someone’s life. By starting my day attacking a blank page, even if I’m filling it with nonsense, I’m better prepared for all the output I need to produce over the course of the day.
This has all been so effective, that I’m going to extend the practice to visual expression, too. I’m going to start brain dumping drawings into a sketchbook every morning. Yes, I know I should be sketching throughout the day, every day anyway. But, I don’t. I think that applying the discipline of morning pages to drawing will prepare me for a greater artistic output because I won’t be worried about producing something good. When I did the 100 Drawings in 100 days project on Instagram, I found difficulty because I was sharing what I was drawing, so there was pressure to make it good. By getting all the crap on paper first thing in the morning, I’ll feel freer throughout the day. And I’ll be able to sort out the good from the bad in my increased output.
This is of course a theoretical resolution which I’ll be starting tomorrow (in theory). But, I’ve made the resolution public, so now I have to follow through. I’ll follow up in a couple of weeks to let you fair readers know how it’s going.