While I have abhorred routine for most of my life, I have recently begun to embrace a writing one, much to my own shock.
“Morning Routine Schmoutine!” I used to say. When I lived in Canada for a couple of years that became “Morning Routine Poutine Schmoutine!” All I can say is I’ll bet a certain Russian dictator is glad this pun-fuelled ham isn’t in his orbit.
But I digress.
Many years ago, a dear friend gifted me with an altogether different treasure, one that did not combine Canadian gravy-soaked trans fats with melted dairy, but was nonetheless, a work of art: Julia Cameron’s book “The Artists’ Way”.
Two decades later, I STILL haven’t finished it. Don’t let that put you off, by the way, that’s not a reflection of the book’s length but rather of my attention span.
But this year, 2022, the year that has seen me stress-eat so much chocolate that I’ve actually had moments of questioning whether the post-feast nausea coma is worth it (answer currently: yes but watch this space) is the year I have FINALLY committed myself to the magic of Julia Cameron’s suggested practice of Morning Pages.
And… hand to chocolate-saturated heart, it’s been a game-changer for my creative output.
I’ve become a Morning Pages evangelist, so much so that I fully expect to wake up one day leading an accidental cult. The requirements would be simple: all members are to, upon waking, grab a cuppa and sit their butt down for as long as is required to write 3 pages long-hand. That’s it. Even if all they write is “this sucks I hate this cult why Jenny why?” But the point is to keep the pen moving on the paper til it’s done, every single day.
(Note to self: this cult sounds amazing. Tread carefully. This is quite possibly how Jim Jones started).
Anyway, writing every single morning with ZERO expectations around the outcome has truly transformed my work. The sheer act of just doing it without waiting for inspiration, without needing it to be good, with the only goal being to sit there and put words down on the damn papyrus - has taught my dear little brain bit by bit how writing on a blank page isn’t actually that scary.
Sometimes my thoughts surprise me. Sometimes I find solutions to a problem I’ve been mulling over. Sometimes it is just drivel like ‘this sucks I hate this cult why Jenny why?”
PS I hugely recommend The Artists' Way. Go join the cult of Julia Cameron. And if she’s full, you know where to find me.