I recently read in Breathe magazine about a meditative writing technique called Morning Pages. The idea is to make the first thing you do when you wake up a writing exercise: fill some pages with your morning thoughts, letting your deeper levels of consciousness move the pen for you. Artist Julia Cameron said:
Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.
It sounded fun, even if the waking up earlier to make time for it part didn’t, so I trialed it for a week, just to see what would come to the surface.
Whether or not it proved to be a success is still undecided, so I share with you a glimpse of my deepest thoughts, an un-suppressed look into my mind…
Starting the week with a bad dream, ergh. Neil upset me in the dream so the first thing I did when my alarm went off was tell him I forgave him for Dream Neil’s evil doings. Real Neil, understandably, didn’t know what he had done, but accepted my forgiveness anyway.
Had a really long dream before my abrupt wake up, I’m feeling like I’ve just read most of a book but then thrown it in the bin before the last chapter. Why do I never get dream closure?
The dream was suspiciously inspired by Raft and Spiritfarer, two games I’ve been playing lately. Maybe that I’ve been playing too much, by the sounds of it?
In the dream, a bad hotel experience (that is, “we have no rooms, Miss Paying Customer, so you may camp in a tent next to this stormy, monster-ridden ocean”) forced us to try to return home. The car we were traveling in very quickly became a boat, despite us trying to avoid the Kraken-infested waters, and we sailed forever, making upgrades to the boat, like adding a small kitchette and a generator (this is clearly where the Raft/Spiritfarer influence comes in). Sadly, the generator broke and we were threatened by a giant sea snail monster just as I woke up, so I really don’t know whether we survived. For the sake of starting the day on a positive note, let’s say yes.
So my first thought waking up today was should I take headphones on my commute or my book. The decision affects my lunch break entertainment options, so it was clearly enough to warrant thinking about at 6.50am. Getting some #FirstWorldProblems vibes and feeling embarrassed about it, so I think I’ll just get up early today. Flynn is standing on my face so I should probably deal with that first anyway.
Another weird dream. I wonder if I’m remembering them because I am writing them down, or if knowing I am going to be writing them down makes me remember them? I assume my unconscious mind is fairly tuned into these things. I don’t think the point was that this turned into a dream journal, but I have enjoyed an opportunity to indulge in their craziness.
Completely forgot what day it was for a good ten seconds after I woke up. I was having the ‘am I working today or is it a day off?’ conversation with myself, before realising it was Friday and the last day of work this week – whoo! But then… three minutes until my alarm goes off – errrrgh.
Need to buy salmon after work.
Listening to the wind howl. Weather wolves.
I’m awake two hours before my (generous) alarm, and am having that morning debate of whether to get up now, but risk regretting the chance for a delicious lie in, or go back to bed, but risk grogginess… Flynn thinks I should wake up; he is looking at me expectantly. I feel like I should stay here and write something profound because these are my first thoughts of the day, but I’m just thinking about how rainy it is outside, and how much I am craving bacon.
Seems apt to end the week with more crazy dreams. This one featured a haunted house and monsters – no doubt inspired by the news of another U.K. lockdown, ergh.
My thoughts after a week of Morning Pages…
- My most common morning thought proved to be ‘ergh’, which sounds about right.
- It was great to have a collection of dream stories – I can’t believe how many there were from just seven days! This makes me think that I don’t have an awful lot I want to say after seven hours of drooling onto my pillow, but that I sure have some creative dreams. If and when I write properly again, I’ll have some interesting plots to play with. Fighting sea monsters whilst cooking on a kitchenette, perhaps?
- I hoped I’d tap into some secret store of creativity, but when you’ve got a hairy toddler licking your face and the impending alarm clock for a day at work, I didn’t feel like there was much wiggle room for bright new ideas this early in the morning! I think Evening Pages would suit me much better!
- In a way, the fact that the exercise ended up being a practical time instead of a creative time is still useful, even if it didn’t work the way I wanted it to. Sometimes I wrote about my plans for the evening, meals I was looking forward to, things I needed to buy, creative projects I wanted to finish. As a creative endeavor, it failed, but as a practical time to relax and think about what I needed to prioritise, it was actually surprisingly useful, and I’m glad I gave it a try.
- I recommend it as an exercise to try out, even just once. Even though I don’t think it is something I will continue with, it was interesting setting aside a little bit of thinking time each morning. I possibly felt a bit more chilled and relaxed throughout the morning as a result. And I wasn’t late to work once!
Fancy giving Morning Pages a go? Let me know what happens!