Julia Cameron’s classic creativity workbook and self-guided course, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity recommends committing to 12 weeks of “Morning Pages” as a means to discovering and recovering one’s creative self.
The word “artist” can feel unaccessible, conjuring the image of someone with a specialized craft (e.g. painter, sculptor, violinist, etc.). However, we like to think of an artist more broadly as one who applies their innate creative gifts and talents to life as a whole. We can apply our creativity as much as to painting as we can to making a sandwich if attention, love, and ingenuity are engaged.
The Morning Pages, as described in the book, consist of handwriting three pages first thing in the morning, stream of consciousness style, before what Cameron calls ‘the Censor’ has a chance to come online. This “brain drain” clears the clutter for direct access to our inner artist; the childlike, and intuitive part of ourselves that may not have space for expression in the structured and logical grind of our daily lives. Morning Pages are one of two foundational practices Cameron prescribes to support “creative recovery.”
Creative recovery can be thought of as the renewal – or unblocking per Cameron – of one’s creative force that has been inadvertently suppressed as a natural course of life. To support this creative recovery, Cameron also recommends a weekly “Artist Date,” a freestyle, solo block of time dedicated to visually refilling one’s creative wells, along with weekly essay prompts, questions, and unique challenges – such as a week of reading deprivation prescribed in week #4.
While you might not commit to doing Morning Pages every day in perpetuity (as prescribed in the book), you can consider cultivating what we like to call a “Paging” practice for your creative and entrepreneurial toolbox.
Adapted from the Morning Pages, Paging – a double entendre for both writing down your thoughts on paper AND sending a signal to your higher, more creatively tapped-in self – can be practiced any time and for any amount – as long as it’s helpful. If you’re considering giving Paging a try, consider the following potential benefits:
- Paging can help to create a consistent creative practice.
Whether you are transitioning from a traditional job to entrepreneurship, converting your side hustle to a full-time gig, or simply unsure how to tap into your natural creative abilities, the initial 12-week commitment to Paging first thing in the morning, as recommended in The Artist’s Way, can help provide a touchstone for a consistent creative practice.
Rather than waking up and wondering how best to start your morning routine, simply hop out of bed, prepare your morning beverage of choice, and set up a comfortable spot to write. To get started, all you’ll need is a notebook and a pen that you enjoy writing with. If you can’t commit to a morning practice, Page daily whenever you can.
- Paging offers a self-reliant way to cope with challenges.
Rather than depending on an external source, like a spouse, parent, coach, or therapist, your composition notebook can become a trusted outlet to vent, process, and, ultimately, transcend any challenges you may be confronting.
Paging helps you to document your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs down on paper, and give them over to a higher power for solution. Once this process is under way, you may find that you are more easily able to find practical solutions to your perceived problems, or that you are able to let things go and move on.
- Paging strengthens a connection to one’s inner voice.
Because Paging asks us to flow from a place that is authentic and uncensored, it can help to illuminate a direct line from the outer realm of activity to the inner realm of inspiration, emotion, and intuition. As your Paging practice evolves over time, you may be able to utilize it to gain clarity about what is important, understand how you truly feel about a situation, or support making a decision.
For example, a slightly different twist on Paging (than writing whatever comes to mind, in a stream of consciousness) is to ask a specific question or seek inner guidance on how to approach a person or situation. You may find – as we have – that your pages help process your thoughts until a point when a decision or course of action became clear.
- Paging can be done with a purpose or specific prompt.
Likewise, Paging can be engaged with a specific purpose or prompt in mind. On days when you feel like your stream of consciousness writing has become repetitive, you can choose to pull a Tarot card for inspiration or use your pages to brainstorm a specific topic, like content ideas, ideal collaborators, or goals you dream of accomplishing. Drawing out ideas in an abstract format, rather than writing narrative across a page, can help to engage our creativity in the non-linear way it likes best.
- Paging can be tailored to suit your unique needs.
Once you’ve gotten consistent with a daily paging practice for 12 weeks (or a duration of your choice) you can taper your Paging practice to an as needed basis. A few times a week may be enough at certain times, when you’re already creatively tapped in, while, at other times, you’ll need to commit to an everyday practice. Similarly, sometimes 1 page (or less) is all you need to get going on a creative project or to get the information you need from your (higher) self.
If – in addition to a daily Paging practice – you need assistance getting your creative juices flowing, check out our services page and give us a shout!