I make this declaration even though I enjoyed writing them every morning, and even though I felt they had some benefit. But they didn't achieve what I thought was their purpose—not just to unlock one's creativity in some vague and general sense, but rather to fuel a new burst of tangible, concrete productivity. This they did not do, not for me.
Perhaps Cameron never intended for morning pages to be as utilitarian as I wanted them to be. Maybe they are designed to be more like a routine tune-up for the creative spirit—something to lubricate the valves, clean the sludge out of the carburetor, and get the engine ready to run without worrying about whether the car ever leaves the driveway. But what I was hoping for was something that would actually propel me down the road, so I could rack up some real mileage on the odometer. And that didn't happen.
I did look forward to writing my 700 words—which is how I translated Cameron's prescription that one must complete three pages of longhand writing each day. For reasons that I explained in my previous blog post, I refused to do this by hand as Cameron prescribes. But I did do my pages first thing every morning, and yes, I did feel that it helped reconnect me each day to my identity as a writer. Certainly, that's a good thing.
But I still think they should be called morning purges, not pages. Because at the risk of being crude, they felt like the psychological equivalent of a visit to the bathroom, clearing one's self of all the emotional crap clogging up the works, making one lighter and freeing up the headspace to sit down to the day's work.
In other words, morning pages to me seem like nothing more esoteric or special than daily journaling. Period. End of sentence. And I was already doing that on a daily basis for the past eleven years, though at night rather than in the morning. And yes, it can be helpful. But it's a psychological/emotional/spiritual exercise, not a specifically creative one.
Becoming A Writer.
Stay tuned for my next blog post to see what form this will take.