Writers tackle big, daunting projects, like novels.
The stakes are high and the inner critic–that voice that dogs all writers–provides a nattering litany of discouragement.
You think you can write a book? Really? You think you have 80,000 words in you that someone would want to read? Give me a break!
To dodge that critic while building the muscles needed to write 80,000 words someone would want to read, try writing things that don’t matter, like Morning Pages.
The word “morning” is important. The inner critic armors-up as the day goes on, but as you leave sleep you are less guarded, less self-censoring.
The inner-critic sleeps later than the imagination.
I do this wandering form of writing every morning, spewing anything that comes to mind. Subjects I have covered include pain, a good dog, a brief imaginary scene from the Civil War, the value of habit, the nature of creativity, ripe fruit. My morning pages are a no-fault opportunity to try things out, to be foolish or serious, to stand up on my bicycle seat and show off, if only for myself.
Sometimes in that junk heap of words I find usable passages, but I maintain the habit in the same way an athlete maintains muscle by going to the gym.
Bottom line. Writers write. And if you don’t want to wear yourself flat grinding out a novel that may take years, throw in a few sprints, like morning pages.