Yep. I started the habit more than 10 years ago. Inspired by Julia Cameron's self-help book for creating, The Artist's Way I began to journal. Instead of journaling she calls it "morning pages" and it's a basic tool she recommends to help unlock your creativity. As soon as I wake up I grab my caffeine of choice and a spiral notebook and I write 3 pages worth of stream of consciousness scribbles. Like every habit it was hard to get started; yet once I got going I've never wanted to stop.
How do they work? Simply put, morning pages silence the Inner Critic. That nasty voice inside that judges. Holds us back. Stunts our growth. Morning pages allow the garbage to spill onto a page instead of festering in our thoughts. They've given me so much courage and strength that I almost forgot what they mean to me. This fall I learned how much I really need them.
When the before-school class started in August the alarm clock rattled my system. I gave up morning pages for racing through the shower and running out the door. Always exhausted and drained, I remember the fall semester like looking through a dense fog. So many changes--losing my mother, closing the doors on my six-year-old youth orchestra, gaining a completely new kind of job. I tried to fit in my journaling on the weekends or when I got back home from school but it didn't have the same cleansing effect.
Come January, I decided to get up 15 minutes earlier to journal before school. It wasn't that big of a change in my schedule but the change in my psyche has been phenomenal. Instead of hiding myself, I am reaching out. I may be short of sleep during a philharmonic week but writing shuttles the bad stuff out of my head. I am free to be.
The day I started this article I woke up tired, dragged myself downstairs and wrote my morning pages. I whined and complained on paper. And the more I whined the better I felt. The words got more positive and the positive words doubled the creative ideas. And like magic the fussy woman who rolled out of bed was transformed.