The other day I discovered my morning exercise has a name.
Seth Godin made a passing reference to “morning pages” and I remembered him mentioning them before, and so I looked it up. It turns out morning pages is a phrase coined by a writing guru named Julia Cameron who suggested writing three pages of stream of consciousness — longhand, not on a computer, because writing with pen and paper is a different experience — first thing in the morning, not concerning oneself with craft but simply writing writing writing anything that comes to mind, not worrying about sharing it with anyone, and in fact, intended “for your eyes only.”
In an oft-quoted passage (the search engine showed me repeated citations), Cameron wrote, “Morning pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.”
At this point, after copying the passage into my journal, I drew a wide-eyed, open-mouthed emoji and wrote, “OMG. I independently invented morning pages.”
In fact, many of the fragments I’ve copied onto this blog have been nuggets from freestyle exercises I’ve journaled one morning searching for something to say, writing until I write something. Who knew they had a name? Well, I guess a lot of people knew — anyone who’d encountered Julia Cameron or Seth Godin or the dozens of references delivered by my trusty search engines.
The days where I start with this exercise DO seem to feel more clear, at least to start. I must cheerfully and earnestly recommend the concept of morning pages for anyone — not just creative types — who wants to find a little clarity first thing.