The Courage to Be Creative
How Intention, Clarity, and Presence Bring Creativity to Life
I have kept a journal for over twenty years. In that time, I have filled page after page with my feelings, my thoughts, who I love, and what I value. Day after day, I have written down who I want to be, who I want to be with, who I think I am, and who I am not. I have written down who I feel close to in life, who I feel safe with, who I feel disconnected from, and, seemingly more often in recent years, who I have lost touch with. Over many years I have captured my wishes, dreams, and fears on paper. My journal has served many different purposes over the years, but it has always brought me many benefits and has become an integral part of my daily ritual. It has become a tool and a vehicle of inspiration that has enabled me to become the person I want to be and to use my creativity to express myself fully.
In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends that her readers handwrite three pages of stream of consciousness each morning. These ‘morning pages’ consist of spontaneous entries, free-flowing, to-the-point pieces filled with raw emotion. Cameron stresses the importance of expressing emotions freely and no longer holding back negative feelings in order to prevent the creative writing process from becoming too constricted. The theme of these morning pages is not predetermined, nor are there explicit goals for the content of the entries themselves. Rather, Cameron saw these three handwritten pages as an important way to clear the air for creative thinking and bring the focus back to the creative process. Writing down emotions brings them into consciousness and allows them to be expressed and processed.
Since I first read The Artist’s Way right around the time that the turn of the millennium had brought a huge amount of hope and optimism for the future, I have known the benefits of writing my morning pages. It can be liberating to move through the emotional turmoil of negative thoughts and feelings, to acknowledge them and let them go without feeling too sad. And it can feel encouraging to move forward in the process. Writing my morning pages started as a way to find my voice and develop my creativity, but it has become something much more. It has become a meaningful and important part of my daily ritual, helping me to start my…