Monday, November 12, 2012

Morning pages...or an incomplete post on why I have a love/hate relationship with Julia Cameron

Who is Julia Cameron? Ages ago, she wrote a book called The Artist's Way. It's pretty much the 1990s version of Writing Down the Bones.*

A lot of people love it.

I want to.

But there's this inconsistency.

Morning pages.

They are what Natalie Goldberg talks about when she talks about practice writing. Just write, no rules.

But then Julia makes some.

"Morning pages are non-negotiable."

"There's no wrong way to do morning pages"

"Morning pages are three pages, longhand."

Call me crazy, but don't these three statements negate each other? If there's no wrong way, then why do they have to be 3 pages, why do they have to be in the morning, and why are they "non-negotiable"?

Also, morning pages are supposed to "feed the artist child." I HATE doing morning pages. So how does doing something I hate feed my "artist child"?

In the Artist's Way group I was in a few years ago, we talked about how it is actually harder for writers to do morning pages (vs. other types of artists.) So why can't "morning pages" become something else, something that is refreshing and DOES feed my "artist child"?

Last February, I was waiting to find out if I got into graduate school so I could start my PhD. On February 2nd, I decided I needed a project. So every morning, I made a collage. I often wrote something on the back of the collage. At the end of the month, I figured, I might not be on my way to the Midwest to start a PhD, but I would have 28 collages. THIS, I discovered, fed my "artist child."

So why do morning pages have to be three pages? I write big. Can't they be based on time? If I want to draw, is that okay too? What if I don't have time in the morning? What if I'm not a morning person? 

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*Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg.

2 comments:

Holly said...

i am with you on this...i understand why, in theory, this is a good exercise, but it was a bit of an albatross around my neck (or whatever that saying is) when i attempted it. i can imagine something like collaging *would* be a lot more enjoyable for writers.

Rude Nizzy said...

I Don't have time for that.
I think that writing should be the art that is the most free...if that makes sense? We as writers get away with a lot. Especially if your writing is meant for the "indie" or "underground scene" so, I don't think any art..real art, should have any rules.