Morning Pages: Presence

I started making these time-lapses of my daily Morning Page sessions (thanks to Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way) because after losing my ability to write and process my world from 2015-2019, I figured I’d never be able to string together words again. The trauma of losing my husband to cancer in 2016 robbed me of any desire to write or create at all. I did manage to write bits and pieces of words over those four years, and when COVID hit and we were all quarantined, I actually began a daily meditation practice that led me directly back into the waiting arms of Morning Pages.

That meditation practice carried over into 2020, where I began peeling off layers of my self that I had carried with me and hid beneath for the majority of my life, and my trusty Morning Pages journals were the stepping stones back into the reality of my life.

The premise of Morning Pages is to write three longhand pages every single morning, without fail or forethought, somewhat of a mind dump, to clear the head in anticipation of jump-starting the flow of creative energy back into the body. It did just this for me, the way I did all those years ago when I was an aspiring (if not delusional) fiction writer hoping to make it big.

The other big part of Morning Pages is that it’s a private process. You’re free to throw away, burn, or destroy anything you write in them as a way to relieve the pressure of someone finding them at some later time and judging you based on this stream-of-consciousness journaling.

The problem with the Morning Page process, as I discovered in quarantine, is that it’s quite a lonely place for a writer to be. Writing is such a solitary pursuit to begin with, and while I love that, I had the growing urge to be seen for showing up to the page each day. I was proud of myself, of getting back on the proverbial horse, of finding my voice and routine again despite all that had conspired against me.

I began treating myself to one morning each week in a coffee shop to do my morning pages, but that wasn’t enough to make me feel as though my practice had presence. I saw an IG time-lapse video of a watercolor artist doing a landscape and wondered if I could do the same. It worked.

What you may not know is that while I don’t post these every day to my Instagram, I do record a time-lapse of every single Morning Page session each and every day that I show up to the page. Some days I look like hot garbage. Some days I look polished and proper. But every day I show up–and ultimately, that practice of presence is the most important facet in the life of a writer.

How do you show up for yourself? How can you bring more presence into your life? I’d love to hear in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Morning Pages: Presence

  1. I’m not doing a good job of showing up for myself…I’ve been reluctant to write in my journal and I have absolutely no valid reason. I just don’t want to write there right now. I’m rethinking who I am and what I stand for in a more public sense. For 12 years, since retiring, I’ve felt more withdrawn from a public life (and yet I really haven’t been), not as brave as I once was. But that outspoken woman, who was brave and took risks, is still there and reemerges in certain areas. I’m not striding out into the world as I once did, but I’m taking steps and giving voice to what I want.

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    1. What if you didn’t need a valid reason, and you honored the feeling of not wanting to write without needing to know why, or further judge yourself on it? Even our most ingrained habits are cyclical, and maybe it’s meant to lead you into something different. Be kind with yourself 🙂

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