Back to Morning Pages

In the days when I did art festivals, people would come up to me and say, “You must have a great life, you get to do what you want all day long. I wish I could have your life.” I knew they didn’t want my life, they wanted their version of my life. If they knew what my life was like–21 shows a year, making art to sell, tracking inventory, writing descriptions, keeping track of prices, making price and inventory tags, keeping tax forms, planning trips, paying bills, breaking down a show, loading a van, driving the first 300 miles after standing on cement floors for 10 hours a day for three days–well, I don’t think they thought that was really my life. And clients didn’t need to. I needed to.

Finding the path, again

My life is very different now, but I still have the same flaws–I want to experience a lot, so I take on a lot. I love working and working hard. But I have reached a point where I am not taking care of feeding the part of me that creates.

No, no, this is not some dire announcement of quitting or leaving. Not at all. What this is, is an acknowledgement that the things I talk about and advocate–deep writing journaling, walking meditation, getting enough sleep–somehow, they vanished from my schedule. I used the time to do more, and I’m still not doing enough. So I have to take a slice of my own advice and get back to deep writing and walking meditation. Because I believe in them. Because I know they work. And because if I don’t dedicate myself to a deep creative practice, I can’t expect my clients to.

It’s hard to get back to a pattern that you’ve had. It will take the same energy it took to put the habit into place to begin with. It will take me 30 days to get back into the habit. So I’m starting with deep writing and walking meditation tomorrow morning. Come with me. It’s a great stress-reliever at this time of year.

Quinn McDonald develops and runs training programs in writing for businesses. She also develops and runs workshops in raw art journaling. Her book, Raw Art Journaling, is available for free shipping from North Light Books.

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28 thoughts on “Back to Morning Pages

  1. I sometimes have the same problem. I am blessed to be a professional writer, but sometimes in all my coaching, mentoring and ghostwriting, my own writing gets lost. I love morning pages, too, and they are always a certain path back to myself. Good luck.

  2. Good for you, Quinn ! Cars don’t operate without fuel, bodies don’t operate without food, and the creative soul doesn’t operate without the nourishment it needs: quiet times, communing with nature, inspiration from within, and love. We all have to stop and get back in the habit of refueling from time to time, or our creativity gets pushed to the back burner. Enjoy those leisurely walks in the desert and your nightly writings as That Quinn returns.

    • I’m looking forward to it, eager to see what shows up. And I hate to disappoint, but the walks are all on city sidewalks and at as a brisk a pace as I can manage–and it’s still meditation!

  3. Self-care is crucial, dear Quinn. Do not neglect yourself; refill your well, so your can pour your words out over us!
    Writing before bed – YES!! Morning pages are “just writing”; when I am able to sit, before bed, in front of my journal and dare to reveal my ture self – ah, those are wonderful bits of writing. So often it is just not QUIET, which I need it to be, to go deep inside.
    I want to learn more about what you call deep writing journaling.

  4. You go, girl! Amazingly, I’ve recently restarted writing my morning pages and pulled out my pedometer and started to walk again as well. I’m walking at my own pace, with my camera, and I tend to prefer to write my pages in the evenings, but I’m doing them!

    Here’s to walking the walk, writing the words, and creating the art in our hearts! We can do it!

  5. I was interested in the term “morning pages”. For a year or two I did morning pages as the practice outlined in “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I don’t think of them as a journal, because they were just writing for the sake of writing whatever went through my mind for thenumber of pages ( I forget), that was recommended. But it was amazingly freeing and did give me back a lot of peace of mind and creativity. Great book for other reasons as well. Maybe it’s time it came off my shelf again. I’ve been in seclusion from creativity for a long time, hibernating. This is maybe the nudge I needed.

    • I did morning pages for years, and loved them. They were useful and helped me get to a place of deep work. I’m thinking this writing is different. For me, I need to write before I go to bed. Let go of things in a different way, prepare for dream time.

  6. With you Quinn! I have written Morning Pages for most of 15 years…when feeling great I have let them slide and then one day awake and say, like you, time to get back! Adding the walking meditation is something I have just begun and I applaud you for getting back to those fundamental, daily requisite pieces of a life well lived, especially the life of a creative!
    Keeping the well full, that well of the self, something that cannot be overlooked if we are to truly honor that which in us sees the idea, finds the avenue to create and does create again and again, that then is, I believe, the true work of the artist.

      • Thanks, Quinn…I have a blog just in the formation process and will get it established and functioning after the holidays and family wonder-filled weeks are over; retired in July and am for the first year in ever so many able to bake and create and be a part actively in the lives of my daughter, grandchildren and my two nieces are joining us in Montana. It is my chance to share some of the holiday memories created by my grandparents, passed on to my parents and me…now the matriarch it is a sweet spot to be sitting.
        I so enjoy reading your blog and thank you for inspiration and encouragement to continue in the studio and at table with pen in hand writing, and writing….sometimes even on the keyboard.
        Kristin

  7. Ah, I completely understand what you are saying. I too have been feeling this sense of losing the part of me that is creative, losing the part of me that spends time in the studio, losing that sense of playfulness, all because I am now doing so much more for my website. I think I will try to commit to this as well.

  8. Go Quinn! That’s great! I haven’t been consistent with posting on my blog and art journaling. (I’m new to journaling and love it!) You have inspired me to journal for 30 days straight and post on my blog the same so that I can develop the habit. I’ll start a few days after Christmas, and I look forward to it. Thanks for the inspiration!
    D~~~~

      • It would be grand if you re-posted, restarted the 30 day writing concept! And writing before bed – what a marvelous way to plant seeds for dreaming!

        • I think I may post tomorrow–and anyone who wants can join in, now through mid-January. Anyone who discovers ideas from deep writing can post. A bit more thought and I’ll have a blog ready for tomorrow. I do a lot of dream work–using dream time to solve problems, a theta-wave thing, and writing at night, like Lynn does, really works for me.

  9. You have to look after yourself to look after the things you want to do. The time you take to care for and nourish yourself will enhance the rest of your work, and you can pass this on to your clients and students because you are the proof that this works. When you end up working for works sake, because you are scared if you stop you will lose momentum, that is when everything suffers and you are no longer practising what you preach. I’m with you in thought every step of the way!

    • You got exactly the drift of my life–I was drifting into the “more work, more work” routine, which is an old habit. I’m so glad of your support–because that hard work of going deep needs support!

  10. So true, Quin. We lose ourselves, over and over again. The world is full of so many interesting and intrigung things we can lose ourselves in. You might be interested to read my post from 2nd Dec called Open Our Eyes.
    EnJOY the walk! And the space with just you.

    • Not only did I read your Dec. 2 entry, but I read of your tragedy. I did not laugh. I don’t know why people laugh at that story. I did sign up to get your blog updates because I love reading your writing and you have led an interesting life. And you are so right, we are not sure which world is the dream world.

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