If you've been navigating writing circles in the last few years it would be difficult to avoid the mention of Julia Cameron's "Morning Pages" Technique, especially if you’ve listened to Episode 2 of The Write Shift where even I mention it.
Put basically, the practice of “Morning Pages” is where every morning, you take out journal and write out three pages in longhand. On these pages you can put anything you want, anything at all.
Need coffee? Put it in. Neighbourhood kids poking fun at your dog? Put it in. Worrying if that salami in the fridge you bought five weeks ago is too old to eat? Put it in.
The idea here is to clear the decks so to speak. Getting all the negative, worrisome shit out of your head and onto the page is an easy form of catharsis that can provide sharp relief from all the niggling little issues stopping you from blasting pure awesome out into the universe.
Julia cameron suggests that you should do it first thing in the morning, before you start anything.
Get up, open journal, write.
Which sounds awesome in practice, and if you can consistently do it then great, but for the rest of us it can become a burden that only adds to the stress of you attempting to keep up with your journalling.
This is why I use a self-modified form of the “Morning Pages” practice which removes the stress of not writing in your journal, either intentionally or unintentionally.
I call this modification, simply, Pages
So as you may have already guessed (honestly, if you hadn’t I’d be concerned) it is the same practice, but just drops the morning component of “Morning Pages”.
I found that attempting to do “Morning Pages” in the morning when I have a full-time job was a struggle. By that I mean I would drive into work, get a coffee, finally sit down to write in my journal but the noise of the day had already started and ruined my flow.
Now some people may just say “Pffft… just get up earlier and do it”. Clearly those people don’t understand how much I love to get up as late as I can afford in the mornings, those moments between asleep and ‘Fuck, I have to go to work’ are few, and precious my friends.
So I devised a better method, one that allows me to fit it into a busy schedule, and it feels much more successful than “Morning Pages” ever was.
See, the trick to Pages is to do it just before any creative work.
The problem I find with Julia’s technique is that by the time I would be doing any creative work, a whole day may go by, filling my brain with all the stresses, anxieties, worries and more that the modern day can bring.
With my Pages method, anytime I have a chance to do some creative work, I’ll nail out one to three pages of longhand in a journal… yep you heard me right, one to three, because sometimes I don’t have three whole pages of stuff occupying my brain.
I’ve been doing this for the past few months and have noticed an immense change to my creative habits.
Once I’ve hammered out the shit in my mind on the page just before creating I’ve found significantly more focus, more energy, more drive, and most importantly for writing… MORE SPEED
Here’s a few key things to remember if you want to use my Pages method.
- Find some time to do something creative.
- Just before you do your creative thing, open your journal.
- Write 1 - 3 pages in longhand format, who cares if you can’t fill three pages.
- Close your journal.
- Create your shiny unicorn brains out.
And that’s it, pretty simple really.