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The Bedrock Tool of The Artist’s Way: Morning Pages

Morning Pages are the primary tool of a creative recovery. From my perspective they are the bedrock of a creative life. Three pages stream-of-consciousness writing done before the day “begins,” Morning Pages serve to prioritize, clarify, and ground the day’s activities. Frequently fragmented, petty, even whining, Morning Pages were once called “brain drain” because they so clearly siphoned off negativity. Anything and everything is fuel for Morning Pages. They hold worries about a lover’s tone of voice, the car’s peculiar knocking, the source of this month’s rent money. They hold reservations about a friendship, speculation about a job possibility, a reminder to buy Kitty Litter. They mention, sometimes repeatedly, overeating, undersleeping, over-drinking, and overthinking, that favorite procrastinator’s poison artists are fond of.

It is a paradox of my experience that Morning Pages both take time and give time. It is as though by setting our inner movie onto the page, we are freed up to act in our lives. Suddenly, a day is filled with small choice points, tiny windows of time available for our conscious use. It may be as simple as the fact that we wrote down “I should call Elberta” that cues us into calling Elberta when a moment looms free. As we write Morning Pages, we tend to get things “right.” Our days become our own. Other people’s agendas and priorities no longer run our lives. We care for others, but we now care for ourselves as well.