The book, “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron, appeared on shelves in bookstores years before I finally bought a copy and read it. I don’t know what took me so long. Maybe I was jealous of her success. Maybe, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about being an artist and that book had to be for beginners, not me. Reflecting on this a few years later, I understand now that I am, and always will be, a beginner.
Each morning when I start my day with the “morning pages” that Cameron introduced to us, I know, without a doubt, I’m a beginner. Years ago when I first read her book, I tried writing the morning pages and thought it was a waste of time. I’m an artist, not a writer. I have nothing to say. What I did write in the morning pages consisted of complaining about having to perform the exercise. I soon quit. I could be drawing, I thought, which I did, and that was not a mistake. However, last year I started writing them again. But now I was writing without judging the experience with my ego.
For those of you who are not familiar with Cameron’s morning pages exercise, I fully recommend reading her book to learn more about her method first hand, but here is a short description. First thing in the morning begin to write three pages about whatever comes to mind. Do not edit or censor, just write, and don’t show your pages to anyone. If you miss a day, pick up where you are, and don’t try to write more than three pages, or less than three pages each day. Sorry Julia, I changed it to two pages, because that really suits me better. Oh well, I never was good at following directions.
The journal that sits on my bedside table is now filled with all kinds of worries, complaints, gratitude lists, belief restructuring, affirmations, I Ching readings, doodles and scribbles and no complaints about having to write it. It’s a place where I can freely make a total mess and not worry about anybody seeing it. It clears the slate for the day and opens my mind to creativity I never knew I had.
So I used to believe I couldn’t write, but I’m writing this blog now. I’m a beginner. So be it! Please let me know what you think. Have you tried writing the morning pages? Let me know how that works for you.