Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Morning Pages

Ritual is not what you do naturally. Waking up in the morning is not a ritual, nor is having breakfast. Ritual us not synonymous with routine, either. No, ritual is something you compel yourself to do, on a regular basis, something which does not come naturally, nor easy, but in doing so lends your life purpose, meaning, and hopefully, satisfaction.

For years, though not for all my years, I have tried to create a writing ritual. It happened less recently than you might imagine, but in the past five to ten years, I began rising at 5:00 am, so that I would have quiet, peaceful time alone, to write for thirty timed minutes.

Our gas fireplace was repaired in early 2016, and so the ritual during cold-weather months was simple. The fire. The coffee. The bathrobe. Thirty minutes, or three steno pages, whichever came first.

Around the same year, we had our deck rebuilt. And so warm weather months included its own ritual. The deck. The coffee. The robe. The birds and sky. Thirty minutes or three steno pages, whichever came first.

Then came the writing prompts and the one-page plays. What had merely been ritual had become a compulsion; when not doing something is harder than doing it. Once upon a time, for me, that was running. Finally, in my fifties, it is writing.

Social media apps get you hooked by awarding you for checking in every day. You have “streaks.” I keep track of how many days in a row I write my morning pages. Today is the 200th consecutive day I have written morning pages. Today I wrote about writing morning pages as my morning pages. Right now, I am typing that up.

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