Skip to content

Cathy: New favorite thing

Please forgive me if my sentences make no sense today. I had a cahrazy weekend, which included Honey’s birthday, on which I barely saw him. It was a good weekend, a celebratory weekend, but I have been having a cold coming on for a few days, and I think it hit me full force today, when I can finally rest, while catching up and critiquing two manuscripts for tomorrow’s writing group, that is. How’s that for a run-on?

Oh, and for some unknown reason, Captain Comic has decided that somewhere between 3 am and 4:30 am is primo wakeup and run back and forth with lights on and doors slamming time.

Anyway, in time for the December challenge, one of my old writing friends from my Boston days turned me on to a new writing tool. It works like Julie Cameron’s Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way, but it’s online. It’s typed. It’s private, and you can let your mind wander for 750 words, the equivalent of three pages. And you don’t have to find that notebook or pen. I think most of us are sitting in front of a screen these days anyway, right? And it gives me a community of people who are also writing, whether or not I make any more of a connection beyond just knowing they are out there somewhere doing the same thing:

I am a horrible typist. It takes me about 20 minutes per day to meet the 750, averaging about 35-40 words a minute. all typos are left in place. I try not to go back and correct. I don’t think about what I’m writing, I just let the garbage fall out of my brain through my fingers tips and up onto the screen.

Usually about three quarters of the way in, I hit my stride and there’s at least a phrase if not an idea that I like or that I can work with in something else, later.

Here’s the thing:

When the boys were younger, and I was single and working three part-time jobs to support them, when I woke up in the morning, I put the baby gate across the kitchen doorway of our little condo, got the coffee started, and while it brewed, I started my morning pages with pen and notebook amidst the dulcet tones of Captain Comic hanging on the opposite side of the gate, rattling it and screaming for my attention, Mr. Cynic momming me, and the themes of Blues Clues or Bob the Builder running from the tv in the background. After a few months, they got that I was not going to give them the time of day during “Mommy’s morning pages.”

And that’s when I started writing my almost finished editing this draft manuscript — later in the day, somewhere between job number one and the first school bus arrival, I had 30 minutes in which I wrote the first thirty or so pages of this book. But I was only productive on that if I had been productive earlier by getting through the mess of my daily concerns to hit the subconscious, where the better writing sprung from, like an underground spring of fresh water. First I had to clear away the mud.

So why have I not been writing or editing what I really want to be working on lately?

I think the key is in these morning pages. I think it’s in getting the garbage out of my head. It only takes me 20 minutes, so why not? Here I am, doing it online. And this site has some interesting tools to help you see what mood you’re writing in, for instance. Or what words you repeat, or what senses you are using, and how dominantly you write in one over another. It also has a healthy dose of competition that fuels some of us to write. For me it’s much needed accountability. I highly recommend it:

C’mon….you know you want to.


7 Comments Post a comment
  1. very interesting….not that i need to add anything else to my list since i’m already two days behind in my “daily fun journal” i committed to doing in december…crazy to attempt in december anyways. will keep this filed away for after the holidays. to add to my mania, i’ve had a book idea rattling around in my head for more than a year that just won’t seem to let me be lately, so i’m going to need to make some time for that. but it involves interviewing…so i first have to make time for that…. sigh.

    December 6, 2010
  2. by the way….Miranda, L-O-V-E the new header. 🙂

    December 6, 2010
  3. i love the new header, too! perfect for this group!

    kelly, the fun journal sounds more in keeping with your colorful spirit!

    this is just another way for me to get back intoa better habit of writing than i’ve been keeping every day. it really does help me focus back to the writing that is important to me.

    December 6, 2010
  4. if my hand weren’t totally fried from the week, i’d desperately want to put that first line into a doodle. that just says so much about what goes on on my head. so of course this all made total sense to me.

    December 10, 2010
  5. wow! thanks, aimee! i love your doodle post today!

    December 10, 2010
  6. Cathy this is such a great idea! And definitely something i can get on board with for 2011. I agree with you that part of the hassle is finding the notebook, a pen that works, yada yada yada but I ALWAYS have my laptop open so why not?

    December 11, 2010
  7. oh good! it really takes up very little time.

    December 11, 2010

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: