If only you can only stop looking at your phone as soon as you wake up.
You look at your screen, staring at the blinking cursor with no idea how to start your next article. You feel you’re having what writers call the ‘writer’s block’. Whether it’s a myth, it seems true for you. Thoughts run through your head, ideas for topics fly by, but you can’t imagine any structure out of them.
How does this affect our output as writers?
There’s nothing to write about. No topic stands out even if you know you can churn out a decent article or two in a day. You’ve lost that excitement of publishing new material and you’d rather be doing something else instead of writing. You feel like you could use a break.
It takes courage to write thoughts, to recognize a certain emotion that we don’t want to admit we have. Top choices in this category are fear (‘This project is going to fail and I will have to start again.’), jealousy (‘Why does my boyfriend still keep his ex’s number?’), and envy (‘So what if her hair looks nicer than mine? I’m smarter than her anyway.’).
A new rhythm
There’s a different kind of journaling called Morning Pages. She introduced this to the world by author and creative Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way.
In the Morning Pages, you write the first thoughts you have as you wake up. You are supposed to do this first thing, above everything else. Before the meditation, before checking for new email, before reading your partner’s message. Every day, you are to write 3 full pages of your journal or diary or notebook with what you think about.
Julia Cameron says this is simply ‘the act of moving the hand across the page and writing whatever comes to mind.’ No one will check this, so use profanity if you like.
This is the space where you, the writer, don’t need to think of grammar or structure. Don’t think about your audience or intention. So, if at 5 AM, you’re thinking ‘Here I go again with this Morning Pages. I just don’t get it…’, write that down. Got nothing to say? Then you can say that as well.
After a while of doing this, you can expect to be unblocked. This exercise will allow your creativity to flow once more, with no upper limit. It will teach you that your ‘mood does not matter’. That your emotions are just emotions — they will come and go.
Set yourself free
From the Gospel of Thomas:
If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don’t bring forth what is within you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you.
Bring forth that goodness, your artist child. Let the monsters talk, but don’t listen to them. Write down your frustrations and your wild side with no shame.
Finish your Morning Pages with closing your diary, making your morning coffee without looking back at what you’ve written. You can now let it go.
David Allen, best-selling author of the book Getting Things Done said that our mind is to create ideas and not to store them. Makes sense, right?
Today, I encourage you to be brave enough to face yourself with the Morning Pages. Let it serve as a mirror, a mentor, a savior.
Sometimes, inspiration is elusive, and nowhere to be found. It’s not in the books you read, not in the conversations you have with friends. What you look for is right there in front of you. There’s no need to look that far.
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