I admit it: I sometimes struggle to prioritize my writing. There’s the house and the chores and the kids and the husband and the cats and the taxes and the business and… AND the writing. Too often I find myself tired at the end of a long day and not once did I pick up a pen or type something up. And I am furious about it.
So here’s an idea: I need to work on forming the habit of writing more regularly. Urgently! I know I can do it. Heck, there was a time when I got up at 4:45 just so I was ready to write at 5am – proud member of the #5amwritersclub on Twitter. But honest: I’ve not managed that kind of enthusiasm (and masochism) for a long while.
In Autumn 2019 I attended the SCBWI-BI (British Isles) conference in Winchester. I wrote about it here. And at this conference, I listened to Piers Torday‘s “Creating Characters to Care About” presentation. During this talk, Piers mentioned something called Morning Pages and his way of basically employing the well-known journaling method to pump out some prose. Not just in terms of writing something, but also in terms of learning to write no matter the mood of the day.
Of course, I had heard of journaling. Bullet journaling for chore and task tracking, journaling for working through tough times,…but I had never considered to just write unrelated pieces of prose, unconnected prose, a type of association game.
So I went through my stack of unused notebooks and picked just the right one for the job. LARGE! (It’s a DIN A4 size; does anyone outside of Germany even use the DIN norms?) Hard-over. Bound in black fabric. 500 pages. Hahaha. Optimism FTW. I had already written on the first few pages at some other point, but figured 480 pages will be good enough too. Here it is:
Now it’s the end of the January, and I am having the best time with this. No, I don’t manage to write every day. But it’s definitely more often than before. I’ve drafted two new short stories: 1) Aliens accused of terraforming earth need to defend themselves in front of an international Grand Jury and 2) a Sleeping Beauty Retelling.
I vary the methods from day to day. At some days, I pick up where I left the day before. That’s usually when I draft a short story and am immersed in the plot/story. Other days, I start with a random line – from a book (a bit like the Literary Taxidermy idea, or from my list of ‘this could be a good beginning/first sentence’. Some days I pick a random word. Or an idea/event/titbit I heard on the news and just let my imagination run free: what if…?
So far, I’m not disappointed. 🙂