Image by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash
What might you discover in a daily writing practice? How about a magical journey?
Over 25 years ago my older sister gave me a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. (If you know me, you’ll know her. Thanks, Ei!) It was 1996 and I was relocating halfway across the country for a significant promotion—the next step in my career. It was a huge step in my corporate journey. “Here’s to the journey,” she inscribed on the inside front cover.
The Journey Begins
But it was my creative journey that was stalled. And that’s the journey both Julia and my sister were encouraging me to explore and the one that I probably needed most. I should have been able to do both, right? Back then, however, my definition of success in a big job left no room for dancing, painting, or any of the other activities I would have labeled ‘creative’—things that used to be integral to my life.
The journey I was embarking on back then, however, was undeniably one of ‘success.’ Consequently, I kept work and creativity compartmentalized. It felt like each required more attention than I believed I could spare. In the end, career won. (I’ve since found both enlightenment and boundaries!)
But, the journey was afoot and as I embarked on my new adventure, I began reading the book and embraced Julia Cameron’s morning pages. I approached it with a “let’s see” attitude.
The magic quickly revealed itself to me. I began to detect a shift in the way I felt. My normal approach to a new job had changed. Could it be the morning pages, I mused? I kept going. I began to see how the humble act of gathering the cobwebs in my mind and depositing them on the page, loosened something in me.
Really, it was all just a stream of consciousness—blah-blah-blah—covering topics ranging from the weather (Chicago in February is unremittingly and unforgivingly cold and gray!) to the challenges of the job, the aloneness as I waited for my husband to join me, and the small joys and successes. Writing it all down cleared the decks for what I needed to do.
Over the years I have continued to be a regular journaler. Particularly, when my mind is cluttered or my heart is heavy, I make my way to the page. Some mornings I wake up and head for my notebook because something feels off and I know the page will tell me what it is. It will pose questions and provide answers. Many days it’s merely a dumping ground for an overactive brain. Always, it is loyal and honest. Even if I stray, it welcomes me back.
And my journal has been a huge supporter of getting me back to my own creative journey with a whole new definition of what creativity really is. The journey my sister and Julia set me on all those years ago.
You don’t have to be a writer to be a journaler, but journal keeping will make you a writer anyway. – Robert Moss
A Question and a Gift
What might you discover in morning (or any-time-of-the-day) pages*? The answer to a question you can’t quite articulate, a solution to a gnarly problem, a week of dinner menu ideas, your to-do list? Inspiration for a creative project, the right to write? The next leg of your personal journey?
I tell you always that you are a writer. As Robert Moss says in the above quote, journal keeping (or any writing practice) will make you one whether you think you are or not. And the gifts of writing extend well beyond the page.
My wish as we head into the new year is that you experience those gifts.
Here’s a little something for you: a simple collection of pages you can print out and use as a starting point for your own writing or morning pages. Look at it with a ‘let’s see’ attitude—a place from which to begin.
Contact me and let me know how it goes. How I can help you in your writing and other creative expression? Here’s to the journey!
* Morning pages or any daily journal practice only touch the surface of the expansive benefits of journaling. My friend, Mary Cash, is someone who is practiced, trained and knowledgeable in its various (and powerful) techniques. Sign up here for her monthly newsletter, “Spiraling to the Center.” Here’s a recent one to sample. Her website is the Writer’s Labyrinth.