In the past few days I've heard the same writing technique mentioned by three different writers so I thought I'd give it a go. I first read about it in Simon Whaley's blog post, Morning Pages. It's worth reading the post for a good explanation of what the technique is about. The second time I heard about it was when a reader mentioned it in a comment on my 'Why Writing Should Be Like Sex' post on The Romaniacs blog. Edith mentioned an excellent article she has read about the Morning Pages technique. Then, when I was at the Vintage Tea Party, author Vanessa Greene said it was a technique she used every day before she started writing.
So this morning (13/09), I had my first crack at it. I think the idea is you get rid of the things that are worrying you. You will be much better off looking at Simon's blog for the details of what you should do because my approach was slightly different, mostly because of the crazy, whacky dreams I have most nights. I'm so used to them on the whole I dismiss them. There is the odd occasion when I will wake up and think there's a story in that and I've gone on to write something based on my dreams. They've even gone on to win prizes!
It seems I shouldn't be so readily dismissive of these dreams so as my Morning Pages exercise I'm going to write them down. Here is this mornings example:
I'd had an operation on my finger. The scar was very neat and the finger was still healing and had no dressing on.
Back in my old house and my brother was being chauffeured to his job at great expense. It was £30,000 for a short period. It was a fancy car, no idea what, something like a phantom. When it arrived it could be split into two, so the chaffeur could wheel you from your door. This also worked as a bike so my brother started peddling and fiddling with some very high-tech gears and the chauffeur had to get into the second part of the car and chase him down the road.
In another house, I had to swap rooms for some reason. I was trying to find a cupboard to put my clothes into and every cupboard was full with random stuff (crafting material, baskets.) I then found another corridor like room. It was like a hall way, but in the centre of the house, no daylight and secret access to each room. It was white and each door had black letters telling you which room it led to. There were also cupboards in the corridor and I continued to look for somewhere to store my clothes. In each cupboard there were expensive items of furniture, like a chinese chest, but it had all been painted white.
Those are the three seperate dreams that I recall. They tend to be very cinematic with great detail, but if I ever wake up and explain them to my husband he looks at me like I've lost the plot! I can quite understand why. They are sometimes really hard to explain - a bit like the car splitting into two. In my dream I could see the mechanics of it so it makes perfect sense, but my explanation of it - not so much.
These dreams are all ones that I would dismiss. But I can already see there is potential for stories even if they are slightly removed from my normal genres. If I hadn't written them down this morning, I would have forgotten about these dreams within a few days, maybe even a few hours.
It'll be interesting to see if this technique works for me, even if it's not quite how it's meant to be used. There seems to be a lot of odd clutter in my brain.