Daily Pages

It’s July. Have you established your daily writing habit yet?

Yes? Then you’re going to love the easy-breezy-ness of this challenge.

No? Then you’re going to love this gentle, life-affirming, structured return to regular writing. 

Daily Pages is our loose, loose, very loose interpretation of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way. The principles are the same: Write three pages by hand every day, clearing the junk and clutter for your mind in order to give creativity the chance to flow freely onto the page. 

Where she prescribes waking 30 minutes early to do this practice first thing in the morning, we strongly recommend the same but allow for individuals who think about adding more to their mornings and give up before they begin.

The point for us is to make a practice of showing up to the page every day for a full month. If that means scribbling on the commute or taking a notebook to bed at the end of the day, so be it. We’re looking for what works. While the majority of members call them Morning Pages and begin their day with this fantastic tool, many find them more accessible as Daily Pages — and we do have a small parliament of night owls who are drawn to the mystique of calling them Midnight Pages.

Our advice: Before you start, identify a time to set aside every single day for your Daily Pages. If you dislike obeying the clock or have an inconsistent schedule, choose a place in your routine just for your Daily Pages.

Successful choices for members in the past have been:

  • After everyone else is out of the house, with my coffee, before the news
  • Early morning, before walking the dog
  • Same time every afternoon — sometimes that’s at home, sometimes that’s in the car while the kids are at soccer practice
  • First thing in the morning, bleary eyed, sitting up in bed
  • Absolute last thing at night, yawning, sitting up in bed
  • On the ferry to the city during the week and at my kitchen table later in the morning on the weekend 
  • Lunch break. And I look busy so my co-workers don’t bother me.

Call them what you will, and do them when you will, just make sure you write those three pages by hand. Why? Because writing by hand engages your brain, your memories, and your imagination in different, more complex ways than typing. 

There is something about returning to the act of handwriting and the deliberate, slower pace of drawing words out of your head and literally drawing them on the page that imbues whole sentences with creativity and new, surprising connections — if you let it happen.

The first several days are often a mix of eager participation and sneaky resistance. Those who push through generally report back with breakthroughs or exciting ideas and renewed energy in their writing somewhere between the first 10 and 14 days. 

Want to participate and see how everyone else is doing? Join To Live and Write in Alameda on Facebook. You know you want to.