Last month I signed up for a Continuing Education  class on the topic of Creativity. I was really looking forward to the class, but Monday I received a call that “Due to lack of enrollment” the  class had been canceled.

Now, in the past I’ve taught a class titled “Tapping into Your Creativity” and conducted a session at a RWA  National Conference on the topic, but I’m always interested in learning more about the subject. I’ve always admired people who come up with new, innovative
ideas, and I’m always looking for ways to make my writing a little different  from what’s generally available.

If you’re like me, looking for ways to jump start  your creativity, I would suggest reading Julia Cameron’s book The Artists’ Way. I’ve never followed  all of the steps she recommends, but I really like Morning Pages.

Morning Pages are to be written (as suggested) in  the morning before you start working. The idea is to write three pages of
whatever comes into your mind. No worrying about spelling, grammar, or content. No editing. She recommends you write three pages, put them away, and don’t look  at them again. This is not journaling. You’re not putting down your impressions  of a scene or event or ideas for a story. You’re simply letting the words  tumble out.

For those three pages (or however long you write) you’re shutting off your internal editor and that in itself can be very  liberating.

I don’t always do “morning pages.” In  fact, I haven’t done them in a long time. What I discovered when I was doing  them was the experience stimulated my mind in a way that when I did start  working on my book the sentences I put down were richer. I was coming up with  better verbs and descriptive nouns. My story had more texture. I wasn’t padding
my writing, I was enriching it.

Many writers suggest writing the first draft (rough  draft or “shitty” first draft) as fast as you can without worrying  about spelling or grammar. Don’t worry if the story goes in a different direction  than you’d planned or what you just wrote is “crazy.” “The  faster you write,” they say, “the more creative you’ll be.”

Well, I’m sure they’re right, but I just can’t write that way. I get started and that internal editor pipes up with “That won’t  work” or “Wait, you misspelled that word.” Knowing what I should  do and doing it are two different creatures.

So I guess, since I’m not going to have a class to  stimulate my creativity, I’m going to have to go back to writing “morning  pages”. Anyone else out there doing them? How’s it working for you?

I’ll report on my progress next week.

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4 Responses to Creativity

  1. Until now I had never heard of morning pages, but it sounds like a wonderful, fun idea. Think I’ll give it a try. Thanks for the idea and great post, Maris!

  2. I LOVE morning pages! I use a website called 750 to write mine. It keeps track of how many words I write, and it also keeps track of how many days in a row I’ve written. And each day when I’m done I can click on the stats to see how fast I wrote, how many times I was distracted, which words I used most often, and even the mood of the words I wrote. My longest streak so far is 140 days in a row.

    • Maris says:

      Patty, I’m going to look up that web site. Sounds like a great idea. On the other hand, I like the pen on paper method. I think, in a way, the act of writing it out long hand is part of the stimulus I need.

  3. Diane Burton says:

    I forgot all about Morning pages. I used to do them & really enjoyed the experience. Thanks for the reminder.