of us want to be creative but don't know where of how to begin.
we try, we are unhappy with our efforts almost immediately and allow
the inner critic to ridicule our efforts and stifle any further
Here is an
exercise that can help. It is called "Morning Pages" and
comes from Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way".
Each morning, you
take three sheets of paper and find a comfortable and pleasant place
to spend half an hour. The task is to fill those sheets with
writing. That is all.
You are not
required to write fantastic prose or moving poetry. You are simply
to fill up the three pages with anything that you wish. It is not
for anyone to read but yourself. Once you have finished, date them
and put them away. Then do the same thing the next day.
What is the point
of all this? Most of us who are blocked creatively cannot get past
out "inner critic". There is a part of our psyche, created by
us for our protection. To create, according to this view, is to
invite the opinions of others and thereby to incur pain and
humiliation. Therefore, it is better to create nothing. That is the
role of the inner critic - to get you to create nothing that could
The critic is so
ingrained that it is hard to get past it. This is where this
exercise helps. By not being required to write anything
spectacularly brilliant, but by being required to fill those pages,
you get past the critic.
In doing so, you
begin to come into better contact with your creative heart. Truly,
there is a two-way process going on between our inner self and what
appears on paper. As we write, we make ever better contact with our
creative heart. For a writer, the Morning Pages are equivalent to
scales for a trainee musician. For a blocked creative artist, they
are a way of establishing a better relationships and trust with out
inner being. This can lead us to the confidence to express ourselves
in other creative fields apart from writing.
Another benefit of
doing these pages is that they do reveal a lot of insight into
ourselves. Ms. Cameron says that after about three months of doing
them faithfully each day, and not before, we should pull them all
out and read them. Patterns will emerge. Certain matters that appear
repeatedly are obviously major concerns. We will gain a lot of
insight from building up a record of these writings and studying
writing itself will also inevitably improve, without our critic
noticing. Once you have written some excellent stuff, just once or
twice, you know that you can do it on demand. You will know that it
is not a matter of inspiration or being in the mood. It is a matter
of simply showing up regularly and doing it. The same is true of any
other creative endeavour. In fact, it is true of virtually
everything in life.
Yes, it is a pain
to have to arise half an hour or so earlier every day for this
seemingly meaningless exercise. However, it is worth it, as you will
soon discover for yourself. If you really can't do it in the
morning, then do it at some other time. Better to do it at the wrong
time than not to do it at all. However, please try and do it each
and every day. The results will speak for themselves.
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