Advice on Morning Pages

Morning Pages: Some Advice

I did regular morning pages from February of 2002-July of 2007. I got derailed by health issues at that point and have only recently started back to doing morning pages. That's by way of letting you know where I hail from experientially.

My advice on the morning pages is to do them as instructed for the first 8 weeks of the class. Trying them Julia's way will give you a solid sense of how they are supposed to work and how that works for you. One thing that she does not make explicit, but that I think bears some elaboration, is that you should "keep your hand moving" (Natalie Goldberg's term) the whole time. Write without stopping. Filling three pages can take all day if you're thinking about each sentence and wondering what to write next.

During the last 5 weeks of the class, if you're still feeling like the morning pages aren't working for you, you might try some of the following suggestions.

NOTE: In The Artist's Way, Julia specifically "rules out" most of these ideas. My thinking is that her resistance to some of them is generational (she's 61) and that her failing to include others may simply be because she hasn't considered them.

Morning Pages Variations

  1. Instead of going for three longhand pages, aim for two 10-minute timed writings where you keep you hand moving the whole time. Great way to evade the Censor.
  2. Try doing your pages with your nondominant hand or switching hands back and forth. The writing may be illegible, but that in and of itself may make the experience more approachable.
  3. Do your pages as evening pages.
  4. Do your pages over lunch at work.
  5. Do your pages on the computer. Three pages longhand is about 750 words.
  6. Record your pages with a tape or MP3 recorder or speak into Dragon Naturally Speaking. Try recording while walking or doing other exercise if that's helpful. Aim for about 20 minutes.
  7. Do your pages as sketches or diagrams with brief notes of explanation.