Have you have heard of morning free writing? Julia Cameron called these exercises Morning Pages in her famous book The Artist’s Way.
But you may have thought that was just an exercise for fiction writers.
Not so. Allow me to explain.
Morning Free Writing is a time, first thing in the morning or when you first sit down to work, where you give yourself ten to fifteen minutes to write about whatever you want. It’s a sort of meditation, if you will.
But the fun kind, where you’re actually doing something.
Meditation is all about clearing your mind so you can be in the moment, and this is somewhat like that. If you’re worried about the argument with your partner last night, the errands you need to do today after work, or the story that has been tapping at the back of your mind just needing to get out, this is your time to honor it.
You’re giving yourself time to drain your brain of all the things that keeps you from being creative.
The thing is, you need a blank canvas to do your best work.
I like to keep my free writing in a notebook that I set aside for just that activity. You might prefer loos sheets of paper that are easily thrown away at the end of the session. Goodbye, incriminating thoughts! See you never.
Perhaps a yellow legal notepad would work best for you, in case you want to rip off any pages and keep them for later. This is a dope strategy for people who tend to use their free writing time to make lists of things they need to do.
Now is probably the time I should point out the one stipulation to this exercise: You must hand write. You can’t type into the computer.
Sorry, but it’s been proven that there is something about putting pen to paper and physically writing that triggers creativity in the brain. I know this might be hard for some people who are attached to their computer at the hip, but honestly this exercise will probably benefit you the most.
Because, come on. Getting out of your comfort zone is part of the challenge that makes this process so great. We certainly don’t write because it’s comfortable.
Another commitment you need to make (I know, right, there’s more) is that you don’t censor yourself. This is the hardest thing to do, and the most important. Don’t force anything, that’s when your creativity shuts down on you.
And let’s be honest, we all sensor ourselves and second-guess our writing all the time. But why should we? We have the rest of the world for that.
So give yourself permission not to do that. It will defeat the whole point of just getting your thoughts out.
Piggy-backing off that is the idea that you can’t plan what you’re going to write about ahead of time. That also defeats the purpose. You need to just flow naturally, my friend, like an organic daisy in the breeze at a really nice seaside resort.
Like the image? Courtesy of today’s morning free writing. I probably need to stop trying to write like an 18th century novelist. I see that now.
Janet Connor says in her book Writing Down Your Soul that when you put pen to paper and start writing without having a plan, you allow your subconscious to come through, and you never know what you might find.
So let’s hope it’s not too dirty.
All right, that’s enough out of me. Time to start your morning free writing routine. Tomorrow! Or heck, why not today?
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