Morning Pages Redux

Shortly after my retirement this past March, I made a short-lived attempt at what Julia Cameron recommends vis-à-vis her best-selling books, The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write, that being a Morning Pages routine which involves writing, in longhand, three pages each day, every day, preferably first thing each morning.

PSA ~ A Google search of the term ‘longhand’ provides the following description: Ordinary handwriting (as opposed to shorthand, typing, or printing).

Writing, with a pen (or, horrors, a pencil), using one’s own hand on the surface of a clean 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper: What a concept, amiright?

Cursive writing, when your stream of consciousness is babbling at an incoherent rate, makes for some pretty messy scribblings on the page. The anal retentive component of my psychological make-up balks mightily along the way when my thoughts become an erratic composite of loops, lumps and dribbles: virtual screeches against the white, lined notebook paper I’m writing on. My journals over the years, originally all written in longhand, eventually gave way to a neater, tighter script of the printed word so now to revert to cursive has been a bit of a challenge.

But I get it. Printing tidily on the page (remember: anal retentive, here) does lend itself to losing that flash of inspiration that drives someone to preserve their thoughts on paper. In contrast, however, writing in longhand (quickly, so quickly!) helps to scoop it all up (er, down) but where’s the advantage if, upon later inspection, one cannot decipher what one has written?

Hmmmm. What to do, what to do?

Anyway, I’m going to give it another go. Julia recommends a 90-day commitment of Morning Pages, um, paging. With that in mind, I’d best get back to it. Best to strike when the iron, I mean the pen, is hot…

5 Comments

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  1. I find this quite interesting, Julie, as I print everything except my signature and have been doing so for almost 50 years. Numerous mechanical drawing classes and working in the building trades has made it my go-to form of communication. My wife has observed that when i write a check it looks more like a ransom note.

    I might have to Google cursive writing and practice some before attempting this exercise, otherwise I would have 3 pages with extremely large-sized words on them. Any suggestions on starting over in cursive script?

    Ω

    • Sorry, I don’t. But I will tell you that your engineering background rings true for me, or rather for my husband. He has a degree in Computer Engineering and his numeral nine – the first time I ever saw it – is unlike any I had ever seen written before. 🙂

      I actually enjoy printing and when I still write checks (you remember those ancient artifacts, do you not?) I like to neatly print out everything on the face of these particular financial instruments save my signature at the bottom.

      Julia’s recommendation is to write on the standard 8.5×11 inch page, to faithfully do so each day, and to JUST WRITE. My initial attempts (and I suspect, those still to come) do consist largely of what the weather’s doing at the moment (and what’s been forecast for the day), what I plan to read or write or photograph or what the critters are doing on our feeders (sitting outdoors for any of these activities often beats the confines of four walls). Today I hashed over some family dramas and reveled in a t-shirt I’d found at the bottom of a drawer from our honeymoon some twenty-one years ago (never worn) and how stylishly it paired with the black, lycra pants I was wearing at the time.

      But I’m not really answering your question, am I? My capital Q’s don’t look like backward two’s they’re supposed to (they never have) and I draw a horizontal line across all my z’s. Capital F? A seven, also with a line severing the top from the bottom. Some words are ugly and difficult to write in cursive – no fun at all! – like efficient and arbitrarily. Sigh. It’s a lot of take in.

      I’m certain, though, that you’ll get the hang of it. 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply, Julie. I see 3rd Grade flashbacks in the future, back when I learned how-to the first time around. Oh well, it might be my second childhood(at last).
        Ω

  2. I don’t think you’re supposed to read them again. Yes, there is an exercise in the book where you’re instructed to go back and read weeks worth of your words, but really, they aren’t meant for keeping records. They are a way to dump the junk from your noggin so that you can start the day with a lighter load.

    It took me a couple of tries before I made it a practice. The first time around, I did it for the entire 12 weeks of the book. The next time I went through the book, I kept going and never stopped. That was a couple of years ago now.

    • I don’t remember reading that. Perhaps this was a recommendation given in The Artist’s Way but not in The Right to Write (the book I read)? Most likely just something I overlooked.

      More generally speaking though, anything I write quickly in longhand is often difficult to decipher!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Appreciated! 🙂

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