The Importance of Scribbling

Lately I've been following advice from Julia Cameron on writing "morning pages" first thing upon waking. The idea is to roll out of bed and begin writing immediately - filling 2 to 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness scribbling without judgement or fear or filter. It's been an incredible tool for unfurling a night of dreams, or else setting critical hopes and intentions for the day ahead. There's a lot of moldable potential in the threshold of self between the waking and the dreaming world. A blank page and a pen is sage teacher. My morning pages today inspired me to impart this tool upon anyone who reads - there is such peace in this practice.

I am always surprised to discover how little people write nowadays - and I mean physically write. Hand to pen to paper, the whole dance. Call me romantic, but I am still a writer of letters and a keeper of books. I write to keep my hands busy and my expression honest. I write to keep an account of my experience which has an infinite battery life. I write because I have moved around so many times that I need to be reminded of my name song, and my journey heart, and my water body. Words are roots that reach deep, and birds that fly high, providing incredibly helpful big-picture views.  There is so much I learn from myself, my past self, through the states I relive in my writing. 

 Eudora Welty says it really eloquently in her brilliant memoir One Writer's Beginnings :

"The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily — perhaps not possibly — chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation.


Writing a story or a novel is one way of discovering sequence in experience, of stumbling upon cause and effect in the happenings of a writer’s own life. This has been the case with me. Connections slowly emerge. Like distant landmarks you are approaching, cause and effect begin to align themselves, draw closer together. Experiences too indefinite of outline in themselves to be recognized for themselves connect and are identified as a larger shape. And suddenly a light is thrown back, as when your train makes a curve, showing that there has been a mountain of meaning rising behind you on the way you’ve come, is rising there still, proven now through retrospect."

A writer of words is the tender of fire. You have a great tool, and a responsibility to use it.  And so, my friends, I ask you to write. You are not incapable of discipline. Be gentle with yourselves. Become aware of the games you are playing. Hold yourself accountable for well articulated bridges of thought, and fully animated bodies of opinion, and ideology, and curiosity. Respond to the world, and record what you find. Afterall, who are we but the stories we tell?