Morning Pages

Happy void period between Christmas and New Years! We are back on for the week in which I will talk all about what I learned this fall.

The first such thing is Morning Pages. I write them in a Field Notes notebook because writing them in my main journal is too long and feels more like homework. Previously them I wrote them on legal pad paper and that’s probably one of the reasons I dropped the habit.

I did them for a long time, when Squibbish was born but I dropped out of the habit, because I stopped seeing the purpose of them. I was just writing to write and get three pages in about literally anything, but since developing the new routines, I see value in them to write about and work out a solution for the resistance and my diagnosis’ symptoms to generate actions that lean into my intentions of being a loving, joyous, and proactive husband, father, and storyteller who is working on being physically and mentally healthy.

That last statement is my voice as a human like the novella I finished just before my daughter was born was a pure distillation of what my voice is as a fiction writer. A loving, joyous, proactive husband, father, and storyteller. This is my character, or whatever you want to call it.

This is when I realized, while finishing Ned Hallowell and John Ratey’s 2005 book Delivered from Distraction, that the last three months—really since Baby Girl was born—and I got out of sync with my work routines and adjusting to an expanding family and all that goes with it. I have have been “SPIN[ning]” as Hallowell writes where I’ve hit a wall in which my therapy, the medication, etc has driven me into a wall and in many ways I feel worse than I’ve ever felt. SPIN stands for:

P stands for pessimism and negativity
N stands for No creative, productive outlet.

Family illnesses, inconsistent work schedule, Mercury in Retrograde, a car accident that totaled my car and the stress of finding a new one wrapped around the holiday seasons and an exceptionally boundary-pushing preschooler has made the last three months really rough. All this has equaled in not finding much time to write, feelings of deep shame for the horrible car accident, isolating myself from work and loved ones because I just don’t feel like I’m worthy of their love or kindness and worst of all—not writing or working on fiction, or working on it very slowly.

So in my Morning Pages, I asked myself what next action will I take to show my intentions of being a mentally and physically healthy dad, husband, and writer who loves all three of those things and works on them with joy and proactivity? That is: to take the next best action afterwards. And keep building towards a finished product.

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