There is nothing more frustrating to a writer than writer’s block. That moment when you stare at a blank page and nothing—at least nothing of creative caliber—comes to mind. Or it could be worse: days (or weeks or months) when your project or ideas seem to stall of their own accord and stubbornly won’t move forward. Once blocked, getting unblocked can feel like waiting for a stroke of sheer luck, a bolt of inspiration that may or may not ever come.
But what if you get to the root of why you got blocked in the first place? What if there was a way to keep your creative channels clear? Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, nurtures her creative self with a practice called “morning pages,” an apparently pointless exercise that, in reality, works wonders.
The “morning pages” are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing that you write first thing in the morning when you wake up. But calling it “writing” may overstate it: you write whatever comes to mind without thinking. It’s not about composing perfect sentences or witty quips or ingenious insights. In fact, what you write may amount to little more than complaints, worries and other preoccupations that daily clog our minds… and block our creativity.
By pouring out all that drivel onto the page each morning without reserve, you sweep your mind of garbage it doesn’t need. And surprising as it may seem, in the course of your morning pages—if you keep them up—you may discover when it comes time to do your “real” writing that you can reach deeper and deeper into your creative self effortlessly.
Try it. Write three pages in a dedicated notebook every morning before you do anything else—before coffee, a shower or breakfast. Don’t go back and read what you write, at least not for several weeks or months. The point of the pages isn’t to make art; it’s to free your inner artist.
So shush the critic within and let your thoughts go. Topple your writer’s block like so many Legos.
Find out more about Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way here.
Purchase the book from Amazon here.