Because it is the new year, there have been many discussions on social media about resolutions, rituals, ways to track time and so on. I started keeping a bullet journal as a way to keep track of projects, to do lists, chores and other things I don’t want to forget. However, it is my morning ritual that gives me my routine that starts my day.
Julia Cameron, as many of you know, wrote “The Artist’s Way.” I filled up three marble composition books with my three pages a day and as a visual artist, it didn’t feel right to me. But I did them for the prescribed amount of time and I did the exercises in the book. All the while, I asked myself, “why am I doing this this? I am not a writer.” I actually resented it at first, because I wanted to do art before breakfast, not write. Then I began to understand how it adds value by adding a consistent routine and a creative kickstart to my day.
“The Artist’s Way” was recommended by Carla Sonheim, who’s class I was taking on-line a while back, and she was the one that a recommended a shorter version of the morning pages routine. She also suggested an “idea” column and a space for quick art.
At first, I was writing in marble composition books, but I wanted my morning ritual all in one book. I thought that writing Carla’s way and doing the composition book was redundant, so I switched over to an extra large, blank Moleskine, that I purchased at Barnes & Noble. I combined everything into one book as a two page spread.
(Fabriano also has a 9×12 blank soft cover book I love but they are not easy to find.)
You can use any blank 9×12 format. I am picky about my paper and since I also create art with my morning ritual, I want something that can hold up to various media. The blank Moleskine is just fine for this.
In the photo below, you can see how I divide up the two page spread. I write on the left page and the large box at the top of the right page. I write small so I can write about the same as a standard composition book. You can see from the post it notes where I put things:
-The tiny box on the left page is to track the daily forecast and the sunrise and sunset
– the list of 10 ideas goes in the long column on the right page
– the first small box below the idea list is my gratitude box and I write one thing every day that I am grateful for.
The middle box is for my quote of the day which I sometimes illustrate…
– the third, tiny box is my affirmation for the day or something personal to work on
– the large box on the right page is to create art
I get up early to do my morning pages. I date them, in the small box on the left page, I put the forecast and/or the weather at that moment. I write as my coffee is boiling and perking on the stove. I write what I am grateful for that day. I look up a quote and write it in the quote box (sometimes I illustrate it in the large art box). Then I write and affirmation like “I am brave” or something that I need reaffirm for myself.
Then I try to think up 10 creative ideas and I create art in the large box on the right page.
I don’t do this anymore, but in order to create this routine, I started by doing it as 30 day chunks. At the top of the left page I used to write the day # of 30. Why? Because I feel you have more of a chance to be successful doing something for 30 days than you do for 90 or 100. That’s something I noticed that artist Michael Nobbs speaks about, breaking things into smaller chunks. You do get more done if you set smaller time goals. You also have a sense of accomplishment, which is good for your esteem, which leads to more successful batches of goals. At least, that’s my opinion.
I apologize for not showing an actual finished page, but what I write is for my eyes only. Sometimes it is so sloppy that I can’t read it, but that’s intentional if I am venting about something. I find this routine has done a lot for reducing my stress and giving me a morning ritual that forces me to my desk first thing in the morning. I do not turn on the TV or radio….I just brush my teeth, pop on a pot of coffee and sit down to write. Then I begin my day….
Feel free to post any questions and I will do my best to answer them.