Friday, September 20, 2013

Morning Pages

So, my goal to blog every day in September crashed and burned with spectacular efficiency, but you know what? I ain't even mad. My first missed days were 100% because I was actually getting some crazy good work done on my novel, and then subsequently I fell horribly horribly ill. Not the things-coming-out-your-orifices kind of sick, thankfully, but the all I can do is sit on the sofa watching Terra Nova until my brain melts out my ears because I barely have the strength to pour myself a bowl of cereal kind of sick. In that time, I watched a lot of movies (which may or may not make it to reviews here), and came to the realization that posting every day isn't really super feasible right now, because frankly if I'm reading a book a day, that's where all my time is going. So, we'll see. For now, I'm going to aim for posting regularly, and see if any obvious sort of schedule turns up from there.

Okay, enough housekeeping. I also wanted to share a tidbit of writing advice from twitter that has me thinking. Brian Koppelman (a fab film writer/director/producer) has stared posting six second screenwriting lessons on twitter - which, incidentally, is one of the coolest uses of vine that I've seen. They're beautifully concise, poignant, and more than that, offer advice that's both simple and practical. He posted this one yesterday:

To save you the google, this is a description of Morning Pages by the author herself. Essentially the idea is to free write three pages longhand in stream of consciousness first thing in the morning. She emphasizes specifically that this exercise is for purging negative thoughts and clearing your head. But when I read the advice, my first thought was, oh my god, I could write first thing in the morning.

See, I don't wake up in a negative head space. Writing professionally allows me to keep hours that are in line with my body's natural clock and I usually get as much sleep as I need every night, so I typically wake up feeling pretty good. But I've never considered myself a morning person - not the type to leap out of bed and dive head first into work. It's more of a crawl - me and a bowl of cereal and a twitter feed until I finish opening my eyes. And then it takes a while to get into the groove of working, and I don't let myself do creative writing until I've finished with my paid work for the day, which often means I end up procrastinating, working evenings, and not having time to do the novel.

Part of the problem, I realize, is that I'm a compulsive tab hoarder, both for work and for me, and that means when I come to the computer in the morning (okay, at the crack of noon most days), there's always something there waiting for me to read/do/look at. It's very, very easy to procrastinate. Every time I do some serious housekeeping, either in my house or on my computer, I immediately feel more productive, because apparently my brain can't handle clutter (or distraction), but that's a lesson it's been really, really hard for me to learn.

So I'm taking the advice of Morning Pages less as a motivation for mental decluttering and more to set the stage so I can actually be productive early in the day. Maybe if I can come to a blank page when the day is fresh and new, without a bazillion websites open and blinking at me, I'll be able to make more words happen.


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