I have long had an on-again, off-again relationship with Morning Pages (MP). Even though I am a big, big fan of Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way, as someone who works a regular job for a living and writes on the side, there have been long stretches of my life when I have blown off MP as just another drain on time that I could be writing for real.
Recently, even though I still have a full-time job, direct the orchestra at church, serve on the board of a local political/activist club, and have agreed to chair one committee and serve on two more at church — even given all that, I have expanded my writing world to four blogs, three Facebook pages, three Twitter accounts, and a few books. In other words, I’ve had to become a damn colony of rabbits when it comes to word fecundity.
And yet, I have struggled. Normally, I don’t have too much trouble finding words to write — it’s the time that eludes me. But over the past few weeks, I have actually sat and stared at a blank computer screen, more than once, and wondered why my usually reliable Muse had disappeared.
So, a week ago, I pulled out my trusty journal portfolio and started doing MP again. I sat in the coffee shop and didn’t go on to work until I had written at least a page into my journal. (Yes, yes, I know it’s supposed to be three pages; baby steps, baby steps.)
And, exactly what was supposed to happen, happened. I did my MP, and it was like the oil can for the Tin Man: the writing joints started to loosen, the jaw (words) began to move, and I got unstuck. I actually felt less pressured, but wrote more. The Muse was back. It was good.
Reflecting on this, I’ve decided that each of us has something I’ve decided to call The Muse Bank. It works just like a real bank account — you can make deposits, make withdrawals, even take out a loan. You can write and write and write, perhaps for a long time, on what you have saved up in your Muse Bank. But when it is gone, there is no amount of worry or whining that will get it back. You have to make some deposits.
For me, then, doing Morning Pages is not a withdrawal, but a deposit. Writing words that no one else will read; reflecting on the writing life; expressing my feelings exactly as they are, to the willing ear of my journal — these add to my Muse Bank, building up capital for use later.
And if not used, will it draw interest? I don’t know — with my current writing demands I haven’t had the chance to see. But, I’m going to keep doing MP, whether I have writing to do or not, so I will certainly find out.
What about you? Do you do Morning Pages? Are they a part of your Muse Bank?