Doing Morning Pages Helps Me Make Shitty First Drafts

I am in the middle of reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a classic about what it means to be a creative professional. The book is not meant to be just read, it’s a book you use, a book you play.

There are many tasks and exercises throughout, and you are meant to read one chapter at the beginning of the week and use the rest of the week doing the tasks in it.

But, before you even start, Cameron describes a task you will do each morning: your morning pages where you fill three pages with long-hand writing. What do you write? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you start and do not stop until the pages are filled. She says to think of it as DOING morning pages, not WRITING morning pages. I think of it as PLAYING morning pages (like scales).

These pages are write-only. You can destroy them right after. Don’t read them and never show them to anyone. They are not writing—you never want to expose them to criticism because you never want any reason not to do them.

I started my morning pages journal on December 28th and have never missed a day. I can’t wait to do them, and once I start, I can’t wait to finish. Because, right after I do them, I am so ready to write “for real”.

It is 7:45am right now, I finished my pages at 6:56am. The first thing I did was edit the next two posts that are scheduled to publish, and then I opened my topic list and wrote a first draft of this post. I just noticed that I never wrote about my topic list, so now I am ready to write a post about that. Like blind drawing does for sketching, the morning pages prime my brain for continuous writing, which carries through the whole morning.