I could have sworn that I had spoken at length about my favourite help-mate when my head becomes overwhelmed with life, but on searching the blog I find that I have seemingly mentioned it only in passing comments.
Well today I plan to rectify that.
Every now and then life gets to having a bit too much going on in it for an INFJ like me. I do a mental curling up in a ball while my mind rocks back and forwards hugging itself. It seems part of my nature to overload myself in cycles and then retreat from pretty much everything. When those big dips in the cycle come along I find myself turning to something I discovered well over ten years ago.
The idea is from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (or in Kindle form, if you prefer). I stumbled across this book by complete accident and I’m so very glad that I did.
The Morning Pages are one of the two basic tools in unsticking yourself creatively – or in my case removing the clutter from my mind to help me in my daily life. It isn’t a journal as such, it’s stream of consciousness writing. Ideally done first thing in the morning, your aim is to fill three pages by hand. Yes, the old fashioned (or currently hip) way to do things. Personally the morning isn’t really working for me at this point in my life, although I did this for a few years quite happily. Those years were pre-children. The same applies to doing it by hand. I type much faster than I can write, and with so little time (relatively) to do this on any given day – I’ve taken to doing it digitally.
I’ve been maintaining a private blog online to do this in, but I have found that I am hit and miss with this; only using it when I REALLY need to get something off of my chest and out of my head – but not into someone else’s ears. And after listening to the Happier podcast for a while now* I’ve decided to try and work with my own nature rather than fight it. I’ve found a free (always a good start) online option to try out. It’s called Morning Pages (unsurprisingly) and it has badges and points and 30 day challenges… all those funny little things that seem to add a dimension of fun and accountability. It’s not all bells and whistles since that’s not what the MPs are all about. They are about getting roughly three pages of writing out of you and on to the page. You don’t need flash editing toolbars and widgets to do that. I’ve only just started using it, and I’m going to do my best to head there every day for the next 30 days in order to get this back to being a proper, automated, habit.
As well as that, I’ve been toying with going through The Artist’s Way again to try and unstick myself from this round of over-commitment by getting some fun and creative things back in to my life. That old saw – Balance – is my ultimate goal. I’m a realist and know that balance is not a static thing but a shifting, juggling act of being tipped a little one way and then back another – think of a clown juggling *badly* at the circus… all that wobbling and stumbling about is just for the laughs, but it’s a pretty good analogy for real life I think.
I’m unsure if I will blog about it, should I go through the process, since that’s just adding another commitment which may fall over in short order. If I do, you are welcome to join in and leave links to any of your own blog posts about working your way through the book.
As a random aside to finish today’s post, I’ve added a new category here at Oh Waily tonight – it’s Writing. This doesn’t seem to be a big deal but it actually is. Even though I have been writing this blog for over ten years now, I have never considered myself to be a writer. I blog. I put my thoughts down on the digital paper, but I’ve never used the term writer to describe any aspect of myself. But clearly I am actually writing otherwise you and I are having a very strange interaction right now. It’s only taken ten years but tonight I think it’s time to acknowledge that I am an actual writer.
Righto, on that bombshell… go read a bit more about the Morning Pages, or give it a try (in either long hand or digital) and then come back and tell me how you got on!
* and about to re-read The Happiness Project, newly read Happier at Home and Better than Before – all of which are waiting on my Kindle for me to get going.