I wake up at 4 a.m. every morning and spend an hour writing in my journal. Why do I do that? Anxiety. But also, general self-discovery. The “morning pages," as they’re called in The Artist Way, are a daily practice of writing 3 full pages of stream of consciousness writing first thing in the morning. It’s recommended that you set aside an extra 30 minute to do this, but honestly, it takes me 45-50 minutes to complete them. I’m also using the official Artist Way workbook if that’s a helpful data point for you, but you can choose whatever size paper you like. For four weeks, I’ve had this routine and made this an almost daily practice (i’ve missed three days total when company was in town) and I’m seeing the fruits of this labor. (I did not mean to do that but I’m keeping it.)
The morning pages are supposed to give you insight into your feelings. I can say things in my morning pages that I have been hesitant to say out loud for months or years. “I don’t like that,” “I actually don’t want to do this anymore,” or “I have had this idea forever. I want to do this now.”
There is something about writing something down, I’m sure you’ve heard. But I never experienced the actual power of it until the morning pages. Since I’ve begun writing them- I finally bought a huge easel and put it in my husband’s man-cave: something I’ve been “thinking about” for more than 4 years. Then… I bought another one. I put that one in the other corner. I’ve made progress on a long-neglected painting and created a new one in less than 48 hours. I finally declared that I want the next phase of my life to be immersed in my artwork instead of continuing the corporate climb to a title that may just mean nothing to me. It’s been an illuminating three and a half weeks.
One such idea that sprung from the morning pages one day was Oranges. I just wanted to paint some oranges. I don’t know why- I’m not particularly fond of oranges. They’re fine, I guess. I don’t drink orange juice. I’m super into the color yellow right now, which is totally not orange. I can’t really explain it but I just wrote it down as soon as I thought it, “I wanna paint some oranges on a big canvas.”
Not one to argue with myself, I got a canvas, had the husband pick up some oranges which he handed to me in a grocery bag when I was in the bath; “Here. I got you these.” I looked in the bag and saw three lighter-than-i-was-expecting-but-i’ll-just-mix-darker-paint oranges. “Thanks honey.”
And then I set to ripping them apart.