You’ve heard of Julia Cameron’s famous book, The Artist’s Way, of course? No? Some of your friends probably follow this, even if they haven’t told you. Over the years I’ve been rather surprised at the number of writers, artists, film-makers and others who were doing Morning Pages.
The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is a daily practice called Morning Pages. Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages—they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.— Julia Cameron Live
Why? It works, that’s why. But why would I want to do this? I’m not exactly short of ideas and creative projects, but I need to make a rapid switch from my current poetry + editing mode to song-lyric-writing mode. Within three weeks!
You see I’m going to a song-writing retreat in deepest Taranaki soon. For an adventure. For the joy of learning. For peace and nature and mental stimulation far from the internet and my normal life. The tutor is Charlotte Yates—reason enough for me to drop everything and register. (Not you, sorry, it’s full.)
I boldly claim to play 3 chords on the ukulele but I do not play them well. I try and try and they will never sound nice. On the other hand I’ve written lyrics before which have been turned into songs by various musicians, and performed, and I want to understand more about the process. How song lyrics differ from poems (although poems can be sung). And that means writing some new ones from scratch.
As for doing Morning Pages, I’m on a 3-day streak! I’ve already discovered lines that want to be sung. I trust, I don’t question, I’m happily flowing in the early morning spirit of Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way.
If your inner artist wants out, now’s the perfect time to open the door. It’s as easy as pie: find out a little more about how Morning Pages work. All you need is a notebook and a pen.
Guess I’m cheating by setting a time limit. But why not? The artist’s way may be a sacred calling—but Morning Pages are a tool and a versatile one at that. One you can use any way for any purpose. And what you make is good, it’s fine, you cannot fail.
The songwriters retreat is my idea of a happy new year: a delightful, personal, pointless new adventure of the spirit.
But for now, movies and meals with friends and family. First up, Misbehaviour: I’m going shortly with my granddaughter to watch 1970s feminism (my era) on screen. I’m sure we shall both be enlightened, inspired, amused and astonished.
Happy New Year! It’s got to be an improvement on the last one.