A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire...
Creativity coach Eric Maisel recommends arising as early necessary to get some writing done before your daily life begins. His premise is that writing is meaning making and if you make meaning first thing in the day you are less likely to feel that undercurrent of anxiety throughout the day about when you might squeeze out some time to create.
Julia Cameron, in her seminal book The Artist’s Way and in every other book she has written since, recommends Morning Pages, three sheets of longhand writing about whatever is in your brain when you awaken. She is quite strict about this. Nothing before morning pages. It does not matter what you write as long as you keep the pen moving. No editing. No revision. No spelling fixes. Just write. If you have nothing to say then just write that. Her promise is that doing so will free up your creativity for longer, more complex projects in your life.
Both Maisel and Cameron stress, do this first, before the day grabs your time and your focus. In my house, the day starts early, around 6 am. If I want to write before that I have to be both clever and sneaky. I live with my son and three lively dogs. If I open my bedroom door to go to the kitchen to make tea, even if I open it oh-so-quietly, and walk on tiptoe, it is as if a bell has rung and everybody is up. I think the dogs have supersonic hearing ability.
My solution, which arrived after many mornings when writing did not happen, is deceptively simple. I bought a hot pot. Now next to my bed is the hot pot, a selection of tea bags, a favorite mug, and my pen and journal. I reach over, flip the switch on that pot and select my tea. In a few minutes I have propped up my pillows to support my back, brewed the tea, and begun to write. No one in the house even knows I am awake. My content varies. Some days I whine and complain. Some days I hurry to write down a dream. Some days I have an answer to the question I asked myself before falling asleep. Some days it is a litany of gratitude. The occasional poem surfaces. But I get my pages done.
The effect is lasting. The rest of my day seems easier. I am relaxed about carving out time to write because I have already written. My morning pages are usually between 500-600 words. As I aim for at least 1,000 words daily, that is a fine start. I am halfway there! On most days I manage 1,000 words not counting those morning pages. But believe me, when I need them for the 1,000 marker I do not hesitate to include them.
It was a simple solution, a small bit of self-care. Small change, big result.
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