Wednesday, 28 April 2010

morning pages – follow up

It’s been a month since I first discovered morning pages and I thought that I should write a follow up entry.

I must admit to feeling a stab of guilt every time I create journal pages, it seems such a frivolous waste of paper (my Critic is slightly different from the run-of-the-mill you-don’t-deserve-to-be-called-an-artist Critic, he throws words like “recycling” and “eco-friendly”, normally with the dash of “hypocrite” added in), so you can imagine how writing three pages of morning pages can make me feel.

The actual act of writing is very freeing, most of the time the words aren’t legible; it is truly a moving of the hand across the page, letting the words out. But once I done, I wonder what I should do with the pages…

That’s when I found the website www.750words.com. It seems to be the answer to my unspoken prayers – it’s a very stripped down online journaling/blogging site. Stripped down because it doesn’t really let you jazz up your pages (e.g. fonts, colours, images), and each entry is private by default, so other people can’t read what you’ve written. The site counts how many words you’ve typed and would let you know when you’ve reached your goal (they estimate that three pages would equal to 750 words). It also keeps track of each day you’ve written the full 750 words, and whether you were able to write the required number of words in one sitting without any distractions.

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Without the bells and whistles it allows writers to focus on the actual act of writing. There’s also a reports page which analyses the numbers of words that you’ve written over the history of your account, the types of words you’ve written (positive vs. negative), the contents (about relationships, work, life etc.), which can all be very interesting to read.

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This is where the problem comes in.

There are so many stats – words per minute, number of interruptions while writing, how many days in a row can you maintain a one-entry-a-day streak. It all became number crunching in the end. I was writing to try to get 4-day streak turkey, or I was trying to write without stopping so I could get 0 interruption in my data, or I’d try to type faster to get a better wpm average.

The morning pages became stressful.

I began missing days. On days I did write, the actual act of typing became work-like; I didn’t feel liberated writing my morning pages, I just felt a sense of relief when it was over.

I felt disillusioned by the concept of morning pages.

But I recently received The Artist’s Way in the mail and I decided to give it another go but this time I stuck with the pen and paper way.

The flow of pen over paper, without caring whether the words were legible was liberating.

 

So the point of the story? I’m back to square one – Morning Pages on paper. I’m thinking of doing the morning pages as a type of word-wash background for my journal pages – we’ll see how we go.

Just one last point – I can’t stress how great 750words.com is. Regardless of all the stuff I wrote above, it is a great site and a great tool to bookmark in your browser. The above issues are just my problems, and they aren’t even a problem if I don’t use the site for my morning pages.

This is just my little rant, my self-justification for going back to pen and paper ;P

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