A year in the life of morning pages

A year in the life of morning pages

Today marks my 365th morning-pages morning. I took Julia Cameron’s (The Artist’s Way) directive to heart: Three pages every day, first thing in the morning.

In three hundred and sixty five days, I filled seven notebooks and I’m more than halfway through my eighth. Most of the notebooks were rescued from the piles of barely used notebooks my children left in the empty nest; others are new. They’re all used now, pages full of monkey droppings from my head, conversations with myself, conversations with my characters, to do lists, to done lists, plans for the weekend, some self-flagellation but mostly ánimo, encouragement and finding the courage.

So you filled a stack of notebooks. So what?

Well, here’s what. The practices that Julia Cameron promotes in The Artist’s Way are part of a process, steps on the road to authenticity, invitations to show up for yourself. Does it make a difference? I’ll let you be the judge.

What I did with 365 days of morning pages:

  • I played…
    • digging and building the pond in my back yard.
    • making collages featuring my dream life.
    • painting canvasses with messages to my inner child.
    • making lemongrass baskets.
    • painting rocks.
    • taking a few artist dates (still not showing up as fully as I should for this but getting there).
    • buying a lot of Colorful Pens!
  • I made mornings a ritual…
  • I looked back…
    • digging through old pages of poems, stories, novel notes, and first chapters.
    • searching photos of my younger self.
    • reconnecting with my younger self.
  • I committed to writing…
    • every day.
    • really writing for myself, not just morning pages.
    • with a contract to myself I keep in my wallet.
    • joining online writing groups and pages.
  • I showed…
    • some days tired.
    • sometimes staring at the page.
    • mostly writing.
  • I showed up harder…
    • flipping my schedule to write in the morning, beginning work at noon.
    • setting daily and weekly goals.
    • eager to greet the page.

Blah blah blah. So what?

I’m not done. Here are some nouns to chew on.

What I hold on the other side of 365 days of morning pages:

  • My women’s fiction/ sci-fi novelFlower in light
  • 74K words of my second novel in the trilogy
  • A writer’s retreat
  • Four weekly creative check ins with four other creatives
  • Two Twitter story threads
  • My book proposal
  • My author marketing plan
  • A dozen plus queries
  • Pitches in #pitmads
  • Etsy shop
  • My #spreadlight postcards

Still not impressed?

Doesn’t matter to me because I didn’t show up to the page for you. I showed up for myself. My list of “accomplishments” won’t impress all of you because some creatives do this and more before they turn 30, and I’m more than double that age.

Here’s the thing: these are the things of my dreams that seemed to hover in an impossibly distant future. Taking that time for myself to sit with a notebook and fill three pages, for about an hour every single morning made the change I needed. That practice bridged the gap between the life I live and the life of my dreams.

I filled almost eight notebooks in one year. If I live another 10 years, that’ll be another 80 or so notebooks. Maybe I’ll fill some 200 over the next 25 years. Maybe 300. I don’t know how much longer I have to fill notebooks, write novels and screenplays, and play. That notion —I’m running out of time!— haunts many of us at my age. I’m making peace with time, because every morning, I show up for myself to begin that new day in the best way I know how so that I can show up for the time I have left.

Did writing three pages a day, with colorful pens in used and new notebooks change me? You can judge for yourself, but my answer is yes!

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2021