Yesterday I spent a lot of time thinking and writing about what kinds of habits or practices I could put in place that will support my vision of myself as a writer. Immediately I thought of Morning Pages, a classic tool for artists of all stripes from Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way. I last did Morning Pages regularly many years ago, when I was living in San Francisco and trying to decide if I wanted to go to a M.F.A. program for creative writing. As soon as I thought of the idea, I rejected it as not possible. My mornings are not my own, I thought. They’re run by the 3-year-old dictator in the house.

But then I thought some more: what if I could spend a little time every morning establishing my identity as a writer? I already have a lot of morning practices that reinforce my identity as a mother. In fact, I’ve been feeling just a tad bit resentful lately about my son’s early morning tendencies to wake up too early and then fuss a lot, as if someone forced him to get up by 6:30 every day when he really just wanted to sleep in till 8. I can’t convince him to be in a better mood; all I can really do is control my response to his mood. So I decided – what the heck!? I’m going to give it a try.
Julia Cameron has a specific method for her version of Morning Pages. My version will be a little different. I will write, free-hand and stream of consciousness-style, in my journal, for 10 minutes straight, 5 days a week for the next 3 weeks (until the end of the e-course I’m taking). The idea is to not think about what you’re writing – just do it. I think of it as brain-drain writing: a place for daily cares, to-dos, lists, fears, thoughts, memories – anything that comes up in those ten minutes gets drained onto the page.
Ten minutes of showing up at the page, of reminding myself that I am a writer, an individual with her own creative life, as well as a mother. Today was my first day. I did my morning pages in the car after dropping Elan off at preschool. I wrote 3 pages. My hand got tired. It felt good.