Morning Pages

This week my kids went back to school and I didn’t. My year of staying home and writing has begun!

On Sunday, I took part in a QWF writing workshop called “Finding the fun in writing,” led by the fabulous Montreal author Monique Polak. Monique introduced us to a number of writing exercises designed to kick-start our creativity and tap into the more playful, intuitive sides of our writing. I’m sure I’ll use most of these exercises again when I get bogged down in my work, but the idea that has already transformed my daily writing sessions is called “morning pages.”

Basically, morning pages involve sitting down at the beginning of the day and scrawling out three notebook pages of stream-of-consciousness; anything that crosses your mind goes onto the page. Rereading my pages, I find myself listing mundane domestic tasks as much as exploring my ideas for writing projects. It’s a brilliant exercise for skimming all the random thoughts off the surface of my mind so I can dive right into my creative work with clarity and focus. Amazing, right? I’ve been doing morning pages all week and I’m completely hooked.

My main writing goal this year is to finish the novel that’s been in progress for (way too many) years. I am about 30 000 words into my latest draft but I hadn’t opened this file since June, when we moved into a new house and life got extra crazy. This meant that my first task this week was to reread my work to get myself back into that fictional world. After that, I made a list of some scenes that seem to be missing, then I worked a bit on a document to clarify the backstory and motivations of one of my main characters.

Of course, it was nerve-wracking to re-open that document; what if I’d reread my work and it was terrible?! Luckily I didn’t hate it (or at least, not all of it), and I was able to slip back into the project with minimal stress. Overall, I’d say I’m off to a good start.