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2 Indispensable Tools For Blocked Writers and Closet Artists

Morning Pages - Your Spiritual Windshield Wipers.

morningpages Hidden behind this pretty cover lies my morning haze and tiny flashes of understanding.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emmerson

This journal has floated around my house for a few years now--empty.

It was love at first sight, and I had to buy it. But, something this pretty needed timeless prose inside, right? Not just journaling, after all I am not consistent, so there will be major time lapses within. Maybe recording all the prayers God has answered? Or how about letters to my children? They will find it someday after I'm gone. But then, who wants to write with a pen? There's no spell check. This could get embarrassingly ugly. What if someone read it? Then again, if I write in cursive, the Common Core generation won't be able to read it anyway.

This string of disparaging sentences that ran through my mind like a neon sign in front of a run down strip mall. They taunted my perfectionist tendencies into a complete stall. So you know what I did? Absolutely nothing. That's why it sat as a blank decoration on the corner of my desk for years.

Then I read the author's explanation of "morning pages":

"When I am in a puckish mood, I call morning pages "Brain Drain." They are used to siphon off whatever nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations stand between me and my day. I am reminded of a wonderful old television commercial that portrayed test driving "on the Baja Peninsula." As the truck bucked and lurched over rugged terrain, the windshield wipers went "thunk, thunk, thunk," clearing away the dirt and debris that obscured the windshield.

That is what morning pages are: spiritual windshield wipers.

I need spiritual windshield wipers, and I desperately need to drain my brain on a regular basis.

My daughter Emily and I went out and picked out a journal for her as well. Something inviting. Why not make it pretty? After all, isn't that illustrative of who we are? All dressed up on the outside, and a mess of random thoughts, flashing brilliance followed by sullen doubts on the inside. This old beauty now contains, and hides away, my mental debris.

Here's your tool: Write three pages of "stream of consciousness" style writing first thing in the morning. Just keep your hand moving across the page no matter what. If you need to write, "morning pages are stupid..." over and over go for it. Just let your hand drain out what is sitting an your brain. That is what is clogging your writing and creativity. You might just find that it is also fogging up your ability to hear that still small voice inside.

It is surprising what you will uncover. For some time now, I've done various types of writing in the mornings. This by far is the most useful, and most enjoyable tool I have ever found.

Then there is the other basic tool the author offers, and it's the most fun.