On Monday, I posted about my experience thus far with My First NaNoWriMo. Today, I did my first “morning pages” before settling down for my NaNo session (I fell asleep on the floor of my office on some comfy pillows before I got to the NaNo part, so that’s to come as soon as I finish this post).
For those not familiar with morning pages, it’s a technique devised by Julia Cameron that grabbed the writing public through her book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. In simple terms, first thing every morning (after peeing and brushing your teeth, before working or doing chores), you sit down and write three (3) pages of longhand. You can write whatever you want so long as it’s something and you fill up three pages. Says Cameron in The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch,
Work with the Morning Pages awakens our intuition. Synchronicity becomes a daily fact. We are more and more often in the right place at the right time. We know how ot handle situations that once baffled us. In a very real sense, we become our own friend and witness. Morning Pages are the gateway to the inner and higher self. They bring us guidance and resilience. They make us farseeing.
Most if not all of the extremely prolific writers I know, the ones who immediately spring to mind when I think of when I think of the label “writer,” do morning pages. And now I do. I’ve decided. Today was the first day of a new habit. Who cares if it supposedly takes 21 days (depending on whom you ask) to form a habit? I’m declaring it a new habit. Just like NaNo aside, I’m going to devote time each day to write 2,000 words for myself before I write anything for anyone else. These are my new writing habits.
In the three days of NaNo, I’ve realized that I lost something of my identity as a writer when I began writing for a living. Bizarre, isn’t it? But as I have shared with some of you previously, I am often so busy writing for others that I hardly ever write for myself anymore. I have become a person who writes, rather than writer. This is not what I want for my life. This is not what I fantasized about when I dreamed of my life as a full-time writer.
Don’t get me wrong: It doesn’t totally suck or anything like that. I do work I enjoy and I do it from a home I love and it allows me the lifestyle I want. But writing only for others is not what makes me happy.
I feel like I’ve been on a road trip on a major highway and I just realized that I missed my exit about 50 miles back. It’s been a pleasant ride and I’m going approximately in the right direction, enjoying myself, but if I keep going this way I won’t make it to my destination. So, it’s time to backtrack.
Are you astonished at this great revelation, which has come a mere three days into a month of writing with reckless abandon and a mere day into these miraculous morning pages? I know I am.
Whether you’re NaNo-ing or not, what have you learned about yourself as a writer in the last day, week, month, year? Leave a comment. Let’s talk about what it means to be a writer.