Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Morning Pages

Some of the comments in my posts about my notebooks revealed that many people write morning pages. In case you’ve not heard of them before I believe they are the creation of Julia Cameron in her series of books called The Artists Way. She advocates that as soon as you can on waking each day you write in long hand three pages about anything that comes into your mind, from household worries to the weird dream you had in the night. Thus you will free your mind for a wonderful day in front of you.

I have tried them twice in the past as a result of reading and starting out on the tasks in The Artist’s Way- I have never lasted long with them- they quickly become a journal of the days activites and then I start writing them at night, which isn’t the point. And I’ll be honest I have never got beyond the first month’s worth of activities in the book- I gave it to a charity shop in the end.

So I was wondering has anyone ever got to the end of the book and completed the activities- apart from Morning Pages does anyone still make a point of doing an Artist’s date every week by themsleves?

Someone mentioned the book she wrote on the same theme called Vein of Gold- I borrowed it from the library, and it begins in pretty much the same way as The Artist’s Way. Then I noticed she had written another version specifically for retired people, and I have been lucky enough to receive a copy from a family member for my birthday. The good thing about this version- you still have the same tasks but scaled down for an old crusty like me- walks are reduced to twice a week and twenty minutes for example.

Now I have a very scatterlogical approach to life, and flit from one thing to another at the drop of a hat, which is ok in some ways but leaves me frustrated in others, nothing ever seems to be as good as I hoped, and then I find something I made a few years back and find myself thinking my goodness me that wasn’t so bad after all.

this cushion for example popped up on my Facebook page, I can’t beleive I managed this.

I’m my own strongest critic, and sometimes this really gets in my way.

So yet again I have started morning pages and to work through the tasks- I merely started to think about things from childhood yesterday and found myself surprisingly upset by some memories- it’s going to be painful.

I’ve written a weeks worth of morning pages- I choose the cheapest notebook I could find- 50p from Asda Walmart- because I want it to be truly disposable afterwards, and a much nicer one but still inexpensive for the tasks, because at the end I want to be able to throw it away.

Love to know how everyone else copes with their inner critic- have you followed these books- do you do morning pages- how do they work for you?

Thanks, and happy creating to everyone.

Comments on: "Morning Pages" (38)

  1. How fascinating this is – and all the comments! I have TAW, but never even read all the way through it. Think I was discouraged by the workbook requirement, wanting to do it in my own way. Just began a daily writing, though; will probably incorporate that into Morning Pages. TAW for retired folks is intriguing. And I love your pillow!

  2. The cushion is pretty! But you are right in relation to this book. I was already journaling every morning before reading this book, now I only give the name of morning pages to my pages. The artist date, I try to set aside few hours per week to be by myself to work on my art journaling, not sure if it categorizes as an artist date, but is the maximum that I do.

  3. Oh goodness! I’ve always admired everything you’ve made, that I have seen here! I’ve often felt a bit envious! :o) I too am my worst critic.

    • Yesterday for the first time I became aware of calling myself names when I made a mistake- names I would never use to anyone else.

  4. […] on Nana Cathy’s Monday post, Morning Pages, in which she refers to Julia Cameron‘s book, The Artist’s […]

  5. What a nice surprise this morning, Cathy. I just finished my morning pages as I woke at 3:30 this morning~ again and had to write what was rumbling around in my head. It clears out the space for a much gentler day. I’m halfway through year 3 of them and they are in a loose leaf notebook so the pages can easily be run through the shredder if I choose. I can see how they would really help you with the retirement that isn’t what you expected. Life seems to never be what we expect which is why I write. I do only one and usually both sides of the notebook page depending on what is going on time wise. I did complete the book and do all the exercises because I took a class with 10 women who met once a week for the 12 weeks and worked on them together. We all met in a restaurant and had a nice dinner together after. I own most of Ms. Cameron’s books including Vein of Gold. That one I have not read yet though you have inspired me to do so. If you have not read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” it’s really worth the time. An easy read full of encouragement for those of us who regularly feel not quite up to our tasks. I found the book delightful and thought everyone could find some benefit from her anecdotal stories. I also write one page at night just to offload my day hoping to sleep better. I don’t worry about things so much anymore but sleep is still most elusive. I think the writings are a habit you form like brushing your teeth two or three times a day. You just block out time for it. Especially important when life is handing you lemons. I make limoncello with mine. 😉

    • Thanks so much for this comment. I am a natural optimist which is good in that I look for the positive in things but it also means I am regularly wrong sided by life itself- the old thing about giving God a good laugh by telling him your plans. You are now the third person to say they have worked through the book- and the second who did it in a group- no chance of that these days- thank goodness for blogging. It has spurred me onto to know that there are lasting benefits to this and especially the habit of writing early every morning to clear out the rubbish!
      I hope your day is now truly good for you- have to say that in the UK it’s wet and windy and there is the ever present threat of Lockdown again. I shall do some knitting and read a book!

      • There is a workbook that goes with the Artists way that I still have after all these years of doing the workbook. Maybe you can facilitate a small group to do the exercises together. It’s always more fun when there are several of you.

      • What an encouraging post! We can be a small group. We could even try a zoom meet up if you want. And I agree about Big Magic. Excellent audiobook option

    • Just reserved Big Magic at the library- thanks for the recommendation.

  6. I worked my way through that book, but I have to admit that I am very on and off with morning pages. I will say though, that they are quite helpful to look back at. When I was really faithful about writing them, I was also going through a hard time in life, in particular with a few friendships. Most of what I wrote about at that time was recording things that happened, my responses and feelings, and the other person’s responses. And after awhile, I went back and reread everything, and it was very enlightening. Kind of a bird’s eye perspective if you will. It actually helped me resolve those relationships in my own mind, and see that I wasn’t actually crazy (because some people really mess with your head), and let go of the hurt I was feeling. All that to say, I don’t agree with Julia Cameron that it is necessary to spend time writing these pages every single day if you really don’t feel like you have anything to say, but if you’re going through something, it can be really beneficial to let loose and use them to find perspective.

    • Thank you so much for this comment. It is lovely to hear from someone who has worked through the book. I think morning pages as a way of helping someone with aspirations to be a writer is first rate- maybe if one wanted to be a painter, just painting three pages with something would be useful too- i don’t want to do either but I do want to explore my seeming need to make things!

  7. I have journaled at some points in the past, but not for some time. Also, was never able to be too consistent at it. That sounds like a difficult but very worthwhile project!

  8. I’ve never come across The Artist’s Way, and it doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, really. I hope it does something for you 🙂

    • You know when you feel your life is out of kilter you just want to do something about it, well that’s me at the moment. The life I thought we would have in retirement just isn’t going to happen, so I really need help adjusting to our new reality and I actually think this book may help. Thanks for your good wishes.

  9. Well on the back of this I’ve just put the retirement issue on hold at the library- shouldn’t be ‘toooo’ long await. I’m interested in other ideas for starting the morning in a better frame of mind. Hopefully this will be one of them. I see in the catalogue the author has other thoughts and ideas in print so might think about those for next year.

    • So far on day 8 I can now say that with all the odd ways we now have to live it has given me a much needed mental boost, I wonder how you will get on.

  10. I own The Artist’s Way and another one I forgot the title off (not the Golden Vein, I think it’s The Right to Write). I loved TAW and read it a lot when I got it, but I never did the activities. I write for 20 minutes each morning, and it’s not freewriting in the true sense of the words either – mostly, it’s dreams, what I did the day before, things that are important to me or that help me ground myself. But that’s okay – there is no “wrong” way to write morning pages after all.
    Congratulations on trying again!! I hope it works for you and that a lot of the good memories will show up soon enough!

  11. Sounds fascinating though I am not sure my wrists could cope with three pages of writing. Interested in your talk of an inner critic? Is that you or other people? I seem to have noticed that i have lots of people in my head tut-tutting about everything I do at present

    • Yes it’s the voice inside you that tells you your mistakes, and makes fun of your efforts- I was encouraged yesterday to write down the sort of things it said, then to describe or draw the owner of the voice- I’ll write about it next week I think. My writing is pretty appalling by the end, but that doesn’t matter, I may never read what I wrote.

  12. Hmm, I have never heard of these! It sounds very interesting. I often make a list first thing, often it is whatever is on my mind, but more bullet like. I find it helps me focus better on my Bible study if I have gotten the fragmented thoughts out first. 🙂

  13. I’ve used “The Artist’s Way” in my vocal teaching and writing for performing musicians, but never did morning pages myself as I have other things I do first thing.
    I feel a post coming on, and will reference your blog post — with your permission, Cathy — as its’ impetus.
    Thank you for bring it up in this context as I think it’s for all creative people. Which means every one of us.

    • Of course you can reference here- how interesting that you encouraged others to use the Artist’s way, but didn’t do morning pages- I am looking forward to your post.

      • Thank you, Cathy.
        I felt there was a lot of good advice in the book and focused on some of that rather than the writing, which singers/performers might consider anathema. 😉

  14. Hand up – I too am a member of the Scatterlogical Society!

    I started reading the Artists Way back in 1997 in a group of about 8 women. We worked our way through the book together, which was a rich experience. 1998 – 2001 proved to be a very traumatic time for me and my children and the group and the Morning Pages were a great comfort. The Morning Pages became like speaking to my best friend.
    There are 4 of us who carried on and we called our meetings Vein of Gold meetings as the intention was that we would work through the book together. Life happened and now we live a very long way away from each other – but we still do our best to meet once a year.
    My daughter nicknamed us the Golden Girls.
    If I am going through a stressful time, I use Morning Pages to help me through.
    I used to LOVE Artists Dates – must revive that – thanks for reminding me.

    • I am so glad someone worked through the book- gives me hope. I have just managed my first artists date- realised its going to be quite a challenge during the Covid days- but I have just done a halloween scarecrow trail around my area and the children will be delighted to know I found another playground closeby! Do report back on anything you do for the artists dates- I am goiing to need inspiration. Had I known about thhe trail I would have done my own witch- but now I have found the community group who knows what may happen.

      • It helped being in a group meeting up each week.
        Yes, Artist’s Dates are going to be a challenge – but we like a challenge! 😉
        I will see what I can come up with.
        I am glad you found a new playgorund – always good to have some positive unexpected consequences.

  15. I love this term “ scatterlogical approach to life” – it describes me too! I started the retirement version of The Artist Way- did morning pages for awhile, got distracted, went back but distraction are abundant! I do plan to return to the tasks because I like the idea of memory keeping.

    • I am wondering if anyone has managed to do the 12 weeks- I think I like the idea of memory keeping- maybe I can deal with the ones I don’t like and discard them forever.

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