In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the Morning Pages. Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.
There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.
The first time I tried this practice the result felt huge to me. By the third day of whining and writing gibberish of all sorts I came across an idea about myself that shocked me. Before I had time to think about or edit my writing, I wrote,
I used to be creative. At least I thought I was creative– for some reason, just like some people think they are born lucky. But I haven’t had a novel thought in years! My creativity has wilted beyond recognition for lack of tending and I don’t know if I am creative anymore…
My hand wrote and I read the words after they were in ink on paper. I read them as if a good friend who knew me well had written them. The message practically slapped me in the face and after a stunned long moment, woke me to action. The very next day I took off for my favorite coffee shop and planned my creative re-birth in bullet points. The following weeks I followed through on my plan.
Two weeks ago I restarted writing pages of long-hand dribble. But this time I’m writing seven pages instead of just three. The Pulitzer prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan does this everyday to open her mind. This time around I sheppard my stream-of-consciousness writing to stay near the topic of creativity, history and personal memories. If I start to complain about my headache I redirect a little never stopping the flow of words. So far it’s working well to open up my mind, as if my thoughts are dropping their usual shyness and dying to interact with the world.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress!