I do solemnly swear that I will reinstitute the habit of Morning Pages. (If you don’t know what these are, or have forgotten, read on.) Here’s how you do it, according to Julia Cameron, in her wonderful book, The Right to Write:
“Morning pages are three pages of daily longhand writing, strictly stream of consciousness…There is no wrong way to do them.”
She goes on to say:
“Yes, morning pages must be done in the morning. They prioritize the day we are about to have…At root, Morning Pages are profoundly helpful. They calm us down. They cheer us up. They console us. They inspire us. Morning Pages are for Westerners a uniquely potent form of meditation. They allow us to empty our minds and hearts of disturbing distractions and simultaneously open our minds and hearts to deeper reflections…
You want to catch your mind before it has its defenses up. You want to surprise it when it’s still close to your dreaming consciousness”
And so on. (You should really read the book). I’ll admit I haven’t been as diligent with this habit as I should be, but I promise myself and you, dear reader, that I will begin again and continue until Morning Pages become a habit—again. I will report my progress herein. I encourage you to do the same.
Here are your tips:
1. Write three pages of longhand every morning when you first wake up. Just write whatever comes to mind, whether it is a list of chores, an angry diatribe, some disjointed thoughts—whatever.
2. Commit yourself to at least six weeks of this extremely useful practice, and I will keep it up. I can guarantee that my writing will improve. And so will yours.
Remember: “Just do it!”
3. Join the National Association of Memoir Writers. This is an invaluable resource for those both beginning and those committed to writing the memoir. They offer online classes and have great speakers. There’s always something interesting going on there.
4. Read at least one memoir this month—preferably more. Critique it. Note what you like and dislike about that writer’s style. Ask yourself what you would do differently.
5. Spend some time sharing your own useful thoughts on Twitter. Its built-in constraints will help you to be more concise. Enjoy!
So that’s it for now. Have a very Happy New Year, and please share your triumphs and disasters with the rest of us imperfect writers. I think sharing ideas among writers is one of the most rewarding practices I’ve come across.
Let us know how you are doing. Good luck!
– Best, Mary Lynn