is like morning pages.
Since July or so, I’ve spent many mornings (most is an overstatement) in a grey velvet wing chair in the corner of my room, writing out three longhand pages. I roll out of bed in the mornings, groggy from sleep or disoriented from dreams, and write whatever comes to mind—those dreams, a long and detailed account of whatever happened the night before, a description of the particular malaise winter brings. I don’t really go back and read these pages, though I could. Mostly it’s about the habit, about building up the expectation that you’ll pour everything that’s in your mind out before the day properly begins.
I’ve been a writer pretty much since I could write, but this morning page practice has brought a different side of that identity to the fore. It’s easy to be a writer in a theoretical or a professional way—to turn out organized little papers, poetry, even carefully-crafted text messages. But morning pages are intended, by their inventor (or at least popularizer) Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, not to be polished or even to be a good record of what goes on in the day-to-day, like one of those journals they publish in historical textbooks. As Cameron puts it,
All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning stands between you and your creativity. Worrying about the job, the laundry, the funny knock in the car, the weird look in your lover’s eye—this stuff eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days. Get it on the page.