Are you a ‘morning’ person? I am, and mornings for me can be anything from four a.m. to seven a.m. Although now I’ve stopped drinking alcohol, the four a.m.’s are getting fewer.
I first came across morning pages when given a reading list for a week’s writer’s retreat in Tuscany at The Watermill. Jo Parfitt was our tutor and she recommended Julia Cameron’s book. The Artist’s Way as preparatory reading. The week focused on memoir writing and was my treat for myself after giving up The Woolly Pedlar. I’ve always had Tuscany on my bucket list, and this wonderful week in glorious sunshine and surroundings, with beautiful people and fabulous food at The Watermill certainly hit the spot.  I am working on my memoir, and it is taking me to some very far flung places in my life, with deeply buried memories, but more of that later.

Writing on the Vine Terrace at The Watermill, Tuscany
Writing on the Vine Terrace at The Watermill, Tuscany

Julia Cameron recommends you write three sides, it must be three, straight from sleep. You are to write whatever comes into your head, keep the pen moving, without pausing to correct grammar or spelling. It is also recommended that you use exercise books, and not do anything with the writing, even binning it. This is where Julia and I differ in our practice.

Morning Pages, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Morning Pages, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

I do write stream of consciousness thoughts, allowing whatever is in my head to go on the page, but I do reserve the right to use some of my scribbling as writing prompts to be developed further in my daily writing practice. I allow myself a trip to the loo, but then get back into bed, bring a pillow on my lap to raise the height and begin to write, anything, allowing my thoughts to flow. I write down dreams I have just had and reminisce about memories. I always stop at the bottom of the third page, and sometimes scribble as a footer ‘to be continued…’.  That idea then goes in a list at the back of the journal to remind me to expand on the memory or idea later.

Journal Writing
Journal Writing

As a writer, I am often gifted journals and notebooks, and over the years have amassed quite a collection. This Christmas was no exception, with a beautiful journal and pen from my sister-in-law. I love a new journal and have a passion for leather clad Leuchtturms. (Apologies if Lederhosen wearing, thigh slapping men have now entered your head.) I’ve just uncovered a stash of journals going back to when I was 17 in the attic, they make for both interesting and painful reading. I do love to keep a journal and am surprised at some of the detail I’ve forgotten. As a writer, we are told that detail brings our stories alive and makes them readable, and the best detail comes from your own life experience.

We’ve just had a full moon, the Wolf Moon, and this one was no exception, keeping me awake with thoughts racing. I headed to the spare room and at 4am started writing. It was powerful, and a whole barrow load of emotions came pouring out. I drew the line at going into the garden to howl at the moon, though was tempted.

Wolf Moon Writing
Wolf Moon Writing

Morning pages are my meditation. Do you keep a journal or write morning pages? Feel free to leave a comment or engage with the chat on social media. Follow Sue Reed Writes on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


Read about my Tuscan retreat at The Watermill in:

Finding my Plot

Finding My Plot
Finding My Plot

A Ripping Yarn

A Ripping Yarn
A Ripping Yarn

The Salami Boys of Fivizzano

Fivizzano market Tuscany
Fivizzano market Tuscany
6 replies
  1. Angela Clifton
    Angela Clifton says:

    Hello,
    I enjoyed this, both as a former Newcastle University student and a lover of journals.I will go and look for you on instagram.
    I had to smile though, at an image of you age at seventeen in the attic 😛

    Reply
    • sue
      sue says:

      Hi Angela,
      So glad I made you smile! I got up to all sorts of antics at seventeen!! – and eighteen, nineteen, tenty, thirty, forty, fifty……….
      Look forward to your follow on Instagram. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment 🙂
      Take care
      Sue

      Reply
        • sue
          sue says:

          Hi Nichola,
          Thanks for leaving your comment – you’d be amazed just how easy it is to fill three pages, when you let yourself go and just follow the thoughts in your head. There’s no pressure though. I hope you do find the space to journal in the morning. It’s a fine start to the day. Do let me know how you get on.
          Best wishes
          Sue

          Reply
  2. Seana Smith
    Seana Smith says:

    Hello Sue, how lovely to read your story on The Sober Club and now to find your website. I will enjoy having a look around and reading more. I am a writer myself, have written a couple of books long ago and have run a Sydney family website for a few years. But I have started proper writing writing again – how scary!! I can get some inspiration from you.

    Reply
    • sue
      sue says:

      hi Seana,
      How lovely to connect with you through The Sober club. I’m so glad you’ve found my website, and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s great too that you are a fellow writer. I’m very much at the beginning of my writing journey as you will see from past blog posts, but I’ve been blogging for some years. I used to have a blog over on Blogspot called the Bridge cottage Way – I love to write about sustainable living, which I do in the background. My main focus at the moment in my MA and my uni studies, and next year we will learn about writing memoir, so here goes! It’s been hard to give myself permission to write my story. I know there will be family members who won’t be happy that I am doing it, but it is my story and I need to give myself permission to write it.
      How fantastic that your boys are all at home with you. This lockdown is horrendous, and I haven’t seen my granddaughter or three kids in 6 weeks. It’s horrendous.
      Oh well, hope you enjoy reading my other posts, and I’d be very grateful if you felt able to share any of my work. Have you found your way to my social media places? I’m Sue Reed Writes on Facebook and Instagram and @suereed62 on Twitter – or maybe you don’t do social media?
      Hope you have a great day
      Very best wishes
      Sue

      Reply

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