For a few months now, I’ve been writing “morning pages,” a concept introduced by author Julia Cameron In her book, The Artist’s Way. Basically it involves filling three pages of a journal each day upon first awakening with “stream of consciousness” writing, moving your pen (or pencil or crayon) nonstop to record whatever pops into your mind.
If you listen to your inner critic and believe all the negativity it tries to heap on you, eventually your creativity gets blocked, and you couldn’t write a decent sentence or draw a decent picture or perform a decent free form interpretive dance – or whatever your creative bent is – if your life depended on it.
Cameron recommends that you don’t go back and read what you’ve written in your journal so you won’t be tempted to edit or censor yourself.
You know how as soon as you’re told not to do something that’s exactly the thing you want to do? Okay, maybe that’s just me. And most five year olds. But of course I just had to reread my journal entries.
I’ve culled a few of my thoughts to share with you. If you are a psychiatrist who’s reading this, feel free to list your diagnoses of my mental state in the comments below. Or not.
Here’s a sampling of my journal entries:
It’s funny how old sayings get truncated and then end up making no sense. “Sweating like a pig.” “Happy as a clam.” Then you can’t remember how they’re supposed to go. Am I sweating like a pig at high tide, or am I happy as a clam in a butcher’s shop? Maybe I should just clam up and stop sweating it.
I bet doggie heaven has lots of things to bark at. And smelly things to roll in. And it’s probably right next to kitty heaven so the dogs can sneak over there and eat cat poop. ‘Cuz they sure do love to do that!
Surprisingly, rereading my journal has not invoked that critical voice in my head. In fact, my inner critic seems to just be shaking its head, with that “I don’t even know where to begin” look of dismay.
For once, my inner critic is speechless. Maybe I’ll go do my interpretive dance now.