Revisiting “The Artist’s Way”

Discovering the book The Artist’s Way can be life-changing. It outlines a basic 12-step program to uncover blocks and help free creativity. There is a spiritual although not religious connotation to the book, which might bother some people but that I found completely in line with my own feelings.

A few years ago I attended a workshop at Kripalu Yoga Center with the book’s author, Julia Cameron. She was just as inspiring in person. But I found myself not drawn to the energy of the class. Whether it was the format or maybe just some bad weather, I spent most of the weekend writing or reading in my room in between yoga classes.

I picked up the book again to start re-reading it in the wake of all the energy I seem to be feeling. One of the most important exercises I remember is keeping morning pages.

Morning pages involve writing three pages of freehand writing on paper before you do anything else that day – have coffee, breakfast, check your phone, etc. It doesn’t have to be good writing and it doesn’t have to make any sense. It is mainly about getting the useless, self-limiting junk out of your brain to free up your creative energy. It’s a moving meditation, a tool for any artist in any discipline to use.

Cameron tells you not to miss them or do them any differently than she instructs. But she also says there is no wrong way to write them.

I love the term ‘morning pages.’ I like how it sounds when I say it out loud and when I hear it in my mind writing this now. In college I took a class on linguistics, which is about the development and structure of language, how our brain creates and interprets it. Very interesting stuff, really. I remember learning there is something in the way certain words and phrases sound to us that make them more pleasing than others.

Morning pages must be one of those pleasant word combinations my brain enjoys. But being faithful to doing them every day was and still is likely to be difficult for me. I also can’t see using up all that paper anymore…

What I can picture and what already seems to be happening is that I like coming here to my blank WordPress post page in the morning, coffee in hand, to start typing.

Technology can be a bitch. It’s a blessing and a curse. But in the end it’s still just a tool and it’s up to us to use it as we need to, hopefully in a positive way. Writing something like morning pages is meant to be a tool also, to free the creative spirit. I think any way we can accomplish that is okay.

This is where I feel drawn, my version of keeping morning pages. I think many people who have blogs must find it to be so, whether they know the term or not. And I think a blog is a decent interpretation of the idea. Maybe Julia Cameron wouldn’t agree. But at some point methods evolve, taking their own new paths along with us.