There are two pivotal tools in creative recovery: daily morning pages and weekly artist dates. A lasting creative awakening requires the consistent use of both.
What exactly are Morning Pages?
In order to retrieve your creativity, you will need to find it. We are asked to do this by a seeminly pointless process Julia calls the morning pages.
The morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream of consciousness:
“oh, god, another morning. I have nothing to say. I need to wash the curtains. Did I get my laundry yesterday? Blah, blah, blah…”
There is no wrong way to do the morning pages.
These daily morning meanderings are not meant to be art. Or even writing. Morning pages are meant to be, simply, the act of moving the hand across the page and writing down whatever comes to mind. Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included. Just write three pages … and write three more pages the next day.
Anyone who faithfully writes morning pages will be led to a connection with a source of wisdom within.
Morning pages are for you and only you.
Nobody is allowed to read your morning pages except you. And you shouldn't even read them to yourself for the first eight weeks or so. Just write three pages.
Morning pages are the primary tool of creative recovery.
As blocked artists, we tend to criticize ourselves mercilessly. Even if we look like functioning artists to the world, we feel we never do enough and what we do isn't right. We are victims of our own internalized perfectionist, a nasty internal and external critic, the Censor, who resides in our (left) brain and keeps up a constant stream of subversive remarks that are often disguised as truth.
Morning pages are non-negotiable.
Never skip or skim on morning pages. Your mood doesn't matter. The rotten thing your Censor says doesn't matter. We have this idea that we need to be in the mood to write. We don't.
Morning pages get us to the other side of our fear.
Above all, they get us beyond our Censor. Beyond the reach of the Censor's babble we find our own quiet center, the place where we hear the still, small voice that is at once our creator's and our own.
Morning pages are a pathway to a strong and clear sense of self.
They are a meditation to discover our own identity, or right place in the scheme of the universe. Through meditation, we acquire and eventually acknowledge our connection to an inner power source that has the ability to transform our outer world. In other words, meditation gives us not only the light of insight but also the power for expansive change.
(The Artist's Way, p. 9-18)
What about the Artist Date?
The other basic tool of The Artist's Way may strike you as a non-tool, a diversion. You may see clearly how morning pages could work yet feel yourself highly dubious about something called an artist date. I assure you, artist dates work, too.
Click here to learn how Julia Cameron explains Artist Dates!