The Use Of Morning Pages

Writing is one of those careers that is both static and dynamic.

The latest thing that I have come across my desk is the idea of morning pages. I had heard of this concept, or writing exercise from a YouTuber I have followed for years now (Shira:  SugarFreeTV/SynchoncityStudios/VisionClass. If you haven’t followed her or heard of her, she is a gem!). She was going this free (FREE!) YouTube hosted class, Vision Class, and she introduced this concept. This was about 3-4 years ago. The idea, the purpose for this, is to write as the first thing when you get up.

No topic.

No theme.

No erasing.

  The ideal is to create, pour out if you will, whatever is on  your head.

Simple, right?

Now, this is  not a practice a lot of writers that I know implement. I journal, and have on and off since I was bout 8 or 9. Morning pages is alike a heightened form of journaling. It’s stream of consciousness–whatever is on your head–no feelings necessarily involved.

For some writers it could be assumed this will help clear your head. Clean the slate for the day ahead. I get that. It’s a tool. Every writer needs tools. What works for one doesn’t work for another, and that is the glory of writing. Use it if you can; if you can’t, it’s rubbish. Writing is a discipline. Remember that–we can use all the help we can get.

[image from Pinterest]

When The Dam Won’t Break

There is nothing more stressful to see the words in your head and can’t get them to your hands. Don’t confuse this with writer’s block. This is what I call The Hitch.

The Hitch differs from Writer’s Block in one way:  accessibility.

Writer’s Block is the drought; there is a drought. There are no words.

The Hitch is when there are words, and somehow, someway, there are none.

Think of it in the case or form of the above image. The water is representative of the writing talent, the mastery of words as it were. Sometimes in all our rush to create, we don’t take time to listen to what the waters of talent are saying. We don’t pay attention to whether this is a drought or a hitch.

The Hitches I fear more than Writer’s Block. Why? You can almost explain it or explain it away if necessary. The Hitches are assassins. They rob you of cohesion to thought, creative insight and mock you when you try push through.

The Hitches are imps of the creative process.

In including this quote from Stephen King, it is your inoculation against The Hitch. It acknowledges, and identifies yourself as you are:  a writer. A slayer of words and pages. You have worlds to create and people to direct! You must break the dam!

This is done by confronting whatever it may be that has stopped you from going forward. This can be defined by three topics:

  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Exposure

 

Fear. Margaret Atwood says fear comes to writers because we indeed are afraid of something. What are you scared of? The worst thing that could happen is either people not read what you wrote, or they read everything you wrote.

 

Doubt. This rears its ugly head when you think what you  are creating isn’t good enough, or not worth your time because ‘someone else wrote it.’ This may be true, but you haven’t done it! You haven’t created it. The people in your head haven’t lived it! Let the people in your head out!

 

 

Exposure. There are things, stories, appetites that writers roll around which may be alien to what you may be used to writing. That linguistic trepidation  is normal. The choice then becomes–will you chase after the thoughts? Will you indulge the strength of your imagination? I’ll give you a hint:  YES. This is the beauty of a free write and other writing tools in your tool kit.  You can write down what is in your head–and never show it to another living person. Then, when you are ready, you can take that file or those pages and make an entire world. Which people will read.

 

Your blank pages are waiting on you. Don’t keep them waiting long.

 

 

[images from Google; screenshot from YouTube Channel, BioGraphics]

The Hard Work

There is a saying among writers when it comes to first drafts: they are all crap. No matter how gifted the writer, all first drafts are crap.

Don’t debate me, just listen.

However, I love what Nora Roberts says about blank pages and drafts:

“You can’t edit an empty page.”

This is from the same Nora Roberts who has written 200 books. Two. Hundred. That’s a level of prolific that is unmatched. But it’s true–no one can read the stories in your head, dear one.

The advice I can give for writing first drafts is the same as was told to me: write. No matter how it looks or sounds, get it out of you. Write it down. The way you become a better writer, to develop the muscles they make writers prolific only come by writing!

Write! Write! Write!

The thing that helps me to try and be prolific is to give myself a deadline. That helps to focus research, and allows time to gather thoughts (or confidence) to write. The major hitch to keeping you from writing is more often than not is confidence or time.

Writers are and can be master procrastinators especially when we don’t think we can or should try to write. Fight the urge to ignore the need to write.

Fight it!

The benefit of doing the hard work is the sweeter part of adding to your draft, watching the story expand and change. Don’t allow the fear of how something will sound or look to stop the joy from coming.

Get to work.

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, SG Writing Services

[Image from Google]

Be Your Motivation

 

Image result for pen and paper

 

New projects are scary. They really are. They provide the creator with the ability to add something to the world which was not there before and it is indeed amazing. However, in that space of creation and creativity, there is or can be a paralysis. This paralysis, this page stage fright, stops us as writers from writing as we wish or as we would want.

It makes us tone down the idea, or be unmotivated to even record it, develop it or reveal it. As a writer, you must be able to fight through this fear, this paralysis in order to create as you desire!

Toni Morrison said one of the reasons why she wrote The Bluest Eye is because she wanted to read it. If you want ways to be your own motivation, here are three:

 

  • Be excited about your own idea. If you aren’t excited about what you’re working on, no one else will be. That excitement will fuel the rest of your process. From research, to free writing, development of a draft or manuscript, that excitement allows you to keep the goal in mind–that goal being the story.

 

  • Don’t be scared about the idea. Your idea is the creation, the baby, of your imagination. If it be humor, horror or romance, it’s yours. Develop it. Write it down. Even if you just write the idea to roll it over later. Don’t fear your imagination or stretch it.

 

  • Don’t be afraid of a trope or archetype character. There are some things in literature, in writing, that are unavoidable. Hero/villain. Resolution. Plot structure. Character development. Use these rules and stretch them. Don’t be afraid to stretch the rules, or even engineer a way around them. This is your story, your idea but fear is has no space.

 

Creativity and apprehension cannot coexist. Apprehension chokes the life out of any thing which has life or vitality. Don’t surrender to the voices which tell you not to, or the people who don’t believe in you. You grab your idea, you work it and protect it.

“You cannot come soft to a blank page.”- Stephen King

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Founder, Shekinah Glory Writing Services

 

[Image from Google]

Writing Schedules

Time is a double edged sword to a writer. It can be a tool of creativity or weapon of mass destruction. Just as I mentioned earlier this month, writing is a discipline! It will always be art, but it will definitely remain a discipline. Let know one fool you, dearest one.

But with all things, you must make time for it, place an intention towards what you desire to do in that slotted time, as well. This may sound like an scary thought, but it isn’t I promise.

Every writer is different. Every process to write and create is different. But one thing is certain. A writer is a writer because they write. There is no shortcut to the words or their mastery. In order to be a writer, you must write.

Shonda Rimes says that if you can make time to write something ten minutes a day, that is magnificent. Jay-Z wrote rhymes on paper bags and shoved them in his pockets while he was trappin. Stephen King, while working as an English teacher before Carrie was published, came home from work and wrote for two hours every night. Anne Rice has a calendar in her writing room and she puts he number of pages she does every day she writes on that calendar.

The goal is, if it’s possible, write something everyday. Do something that relates to writing, your writing, Whether that be freewrite, write, or research.

As you grow in your talent and desire to write, you will develop your own schedule. For me, I try and write a little everyday. I have a set day during the week where if I’m working on a story where I write for at least two hours. But–that’s my schedule. If I don’t make that time to write, I don’t beat myself up about it.

Writing schedules encourage writing to take place. They encourage creativity and continued flow ideas. Here are some helpful hints to make this process better:

  • Construction of your writing schedule must be determined by your own individual standard.
  • Make your schedule such that you can revise it or make it as flexible as you need it to be.
  • Try your best to adhere to the schedule you make.

Your writing schedule is your map. It allows you to uncover the work you are doing, and be faithful to its completion. Don’t fear the process. It’s the process that strengthens your voice, your confidence and your need to continue writing.

Just like your vocabulary, your pen and paper, the cloud to save documents, your writing schedule is a tool. Don’t shun its power, it’s need and your desire to write. It helps when you have a rough week to know you have something to look forward to, a day to create a better world, even if it’s inside your head.

 

Jennifer P. Harris

Editor/Founder-Shekinah Glory Writing Services