Morning Pages are my confessional, my pep talk, my to-do list, my way of working out priorities and possibilities. They often contain more writing about writing than actual writing, but on a good day, those pages turn into creative work or at least lead up to it. In between projects, when I’m feeling my way through the dark to begin something new, I dump what I can on paper and try to move forward. That’s where I am right now, peering into the void, hoping for a spark. Actually, that’s what I’ve been doing for much of this summer, slogging away, trusting that sooner or later, something worth my while will come of the scribbling.
Sometimes I write poems and picture books in spiral notebooks, too, and sometimes on loose leaf paper or legal pads. When an idea is burning in my brain, I grab whatever paper is closest and write as quickly as I can, from the beginning to as far as I can go. The next day, I start at the beginning again and write as far as I can, usually at least a little farther.
I carry a pocket notebook everywhere I go, whether I’m walking the dog, working in the yard or the kitchen, riding a bike, or even paddling a canoe. In those little notebooks, I might jot down one word, scribble an inspired thought, or tear through page after page. I also keep paper and pens next to my bed for the ideas that pop up in the middle of the night. I turn on a book light so I can decipher my writing in the morning.
Esther’s post reminded me of another journal I keep and really ought to update one of these days. It’s a Word file I call my Sent Mail Journal. In it, I paste copies of important e-mails I’ve written and sent, and then I delete them from my e-mail folder. For me, it’s an easy way to keep track of events and thoughts without having to write about them again.
From time to time, I pull out an old notebook and pore over the pages. Sometimes I see topics I’ve circled around for years. Sometimes an old idea fits perfectly with a new one. Sometimes I find things I don’t remember writing. I’m due for that project now: the notebooks are piling up, and I could use some fresh old ideas!
JoAnn Early Macken
P.S. Look for me today at Concordia University Wisconsin's Early Childhood Literacy Festival on the Lake!