Morning Pages & My New Morning Routine

pigeonThis image describes me perfectly. I’m not an early bird or a night owl. Since being married the fact that I am neither and need a lot of sleep has caused some frustration between us. Willy always wants to set his alarm to a time that involves a 6 in the front. This idea has infuriated me because I’m the girl who sleeps until the very last possible minute and doesn’t snooze the alarm because if-i-don’t-get-out-of-bed-this-second-I-will-be-seriously-late. It’s hard to be late when on mat leave, though. And it’s hard to sleep in with kids, too. But because my husband insists on getting up early in the morning, I told him the early bird gets the worm and the worm is our toddler! I don’t even remember when it was that he started letting me sleep in a bit extra and he manages the morning with our first. This was especially wonderful when I was up in the night a few times with the baby.

But guess what! I now wake up before him! With an alarm! And I look forward to it!

Eww, why? How?

A couple weeks ago I saw a friend post on Instagram about Morning Pages. I did a quick google and realized: I needed to try this. I wouldn’t describe myself as an artist and I feel too shy to call myself a writer, but I could relate to the issues the Morning Pages are said to address.

Morning Pages

What are morning pages? They’re 3 pages of scribbles done first thing in the morning by hand. Before you look at your phone, before you read your Scriptures or even pray, before your mind gets revved up, before everything. I decided to give it a shot. I wanted to take the time in the morning to get my head on straight before I started the day, anyway, and so this seemed like the best way for me to start. So this is what my morning looks like now:

  1. Wake up at 6AM with my quiet birds chirping alarm on my phone.
  2. Quietly roll out of bed an start the kettle IN MY ROOM (because with toddlers and squeaky floors, you gotta keep hidden!)
  3. Start my morning pages, while hovering over the kettle so it doesn’t whistle or click and wake Willy up by the light of my iPhone haha (it’s not as tedious as it sounds).
  4. Make my coffee in the french press because I’m still trying to not wake anyone up.
  5. Finish my 3 morning pages. This means I write everything that comes to mind. The random to-dos that pop up are written down and starred. I write them down as they come – often it’s in the middle of a sentence I’m writing. I write about all the dumb things that are in my head or come into my head until 3 pages is finished. By this point I’ve mostly guzzled my first coffee and I’m awake.
  6. Transfer my to-dos that have come into my mind over to my planner so they don’t get lost.
  7. Open up my devotional and read it. I write out the quote that most stuck out to me into my planner.
  8. It isn’t until I’m done all of this that I get on my phone and check my messages etc.

IMG_0100Guys, it’s been life changing! It’s changed my devotional time because I don’t have all those brain interruptions happening. I’ve already cleaned out the cobwebs of my head and I’ve gotten into a head space that does not involve my phone. I have Do Not Disturb mode on my phone anyway so I’m not notified of any messages or any activity happening that would take my attention.

When I finally leave the room, I’m ready for the day. I’m awake and human again! I don’t find that I’m swept away by the day, living as much in reaction to everything.

Another goal completed

So I can now check off “publish ebook” from my list of things I wanted to do.

She’s out in the wild. I sent a scheduled email to go out yesterday while I was on vacation. Today the “My Ebook” tab appeared and the “Download Now” image to the right which is where you can go to get your copy. I’m surprised by how many of you have emailed me saying you’ve read it already! You sure know how to make a girl blush.

I’ve got another giveaway coming up soon. Another book. Yay!

Winners & Feedback

winningThanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and who filled out the feedback form. I was surprised at how many people responded. I’m basically super surprised anyone reads this ever. I thought you might be somewhat interested in hearing why other people read the blog. I did a pretty bad job at asking questions (and double posting them, too) so sorry if you felt like I was asking the same question over and over. I kind of was. I’ve also realized I’m becoming more and more of a nerd. Metrics! Graphs! Data! Stats! Who knew these things could be so helpful?

And now for the part that you’ve been waiting for: the winners. There were considerably less entries this time than last giveaway so your chances of winning were quite high. If your name is below, please email me your address so I can hook you up with your prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to go check out Zevia for yourself, here’s where you can find it in Canada and the US.

Camp Nanowrimo

camp-nanoYou’ve heard me talk about Nanowrimo before. One month, one novel. For some of you November is never a good time of year to do it. Now there’s Camp Nanowrimo in July. You don’t necessarily have to write a novel (though writing anything but a novel is still called ‘rebelling‘). You can write a memoir, an epic poem, non-fiction etc. For some of you this is a good opportunity start the habit of writing regularly.

And yes, you guessed it, I’m thinking about doing it. Not a novel this time.

We’ll see….

“Two Frayed Strands” on Medium

mediumHave you guys heard of Medium yet? It’s the brainchild of Ev Williams and if you’ve been following his career, everything he touches turns to gold. Blogger, Twitter, and now this. You can find the link over on my social sidebar, it’s the M.  I’ve decided it’s a good spot to publish some writing that doesn’t fit within the boundaries of this blog. The following is the first paragraph from my first post “Two Frayed Strands.”

I knew something was very wrong the moment I woke up. This morning, I sort of wished I hadn’t woken up. It wasn’t that I wanted to die per se but that the well of my soul was so parched it was as if it had been millenia since water filled its walls. Anxiety filled me where a sense of self should have. I made a mental check-list of what I was supposed to do that day and the rest of the week. It all needed to go, save studying for my University finals. I would skip my classes, cancel meetings. I had nothing to give.

I was too thin of a strand to support any weight. I was too limp, frayed, too wispy and frail to even count as a whole thread, a real human being.

I rolled over and went back to sleep……

Read the rest here.

How I developed the habit of writing regularly

A little while ago I wrote a celebratory post on how I’ve began writing regularly. This, along with reading regularly have been wonderful additions to my life. It’s weird but reading and writing regularly make me happier and better. I’m less cranky, more hopeful, always thinking and processing things. I used to have terrible success in doing things regularly that I didn’t need to. Writing my second novel (which I didn’t finish) happened because I needed to write it in a different sense. I had to get the images that were in my head, those scenes that described my life through this other character needed to get on paper as a sort of pensieve of that time in my life.

Anyways.

A friend left a question in response to that post that I want to reply to.

catherineQ

This is a good question. It was probably four years ago that I decided to take this desire to write seriously, even though I felt like I had nothing worth saying to anyone.

  1. I acknowledged that I would never make time for anything I didn’t feel like was a priority. There are lots of good things in life and many great things. It’s a personal decision what you prioritize. Just over a year ago I decided to prioritize some things that involved writing because I wanted to grow in these areas.
  2. Try Nanowrimo. Writing a novela in a month is a great way to develop the habit. It forces you to say no to certain things in order to say yes to writing. It’s thrilling. It’s hard. It’s a lot of fun. At the end of the month you’ve accomplished something that you might never look at again, or could be a good framework for an actual novel you continue to develop. I doubt you’ll finish the month thinking it was a total waste of time if you take it seriously.
  3. Find a project/venue to write. For years (read: since 2001) I’ve blogged. This was always a writing outlet. I’m quite confident it’s the reason I can put an idea on paper so quickly. Having a blog or a writing project with goals helps tremendously. “Who would read my blog?” Who cares? Don’t write for other people, write for yourself. Write about what you care about, develop your voice. If you want to write fiction, give yourself a project and a deadline and a friend to keep you accountable. It’s just like any other goal you’d have. One of the projects I started writing this year was really just a project for me to think through certain things. As it was developing, I realized it might be a helpful resource to people eventually. So I kept going and am working on editing it.
  4. It’s life giving to me. It’s hard to stop doing something that’s life-giving and that people give such positive feedback on. I now notice that when I don’t feel inspired to write or don’t feel like I have time to write, it’s because my life is slowly getting out of sorts. It’s a helpful compass.
  5. [edit] Track it. I forgot to add this one at first. I’ve noticed that paying attention to when I write helps. One of my habits that I’m tracking on Lift is “Write for 30 minutes.” If I can do that every day, I’m doing awesome. Even if I do that a few times a week, it’s a good week. Having that reminder on my app every day helps me plan to make time to write.

If you’ve ever wanted to write go open up a wordprocessor this weekend or the next evening you have free and start. No one has to see it. No one has to know. Do it for you because you want to and it is (if you acknowledge what’s going on deep down inside of you) important to you. Work on it for 15 or 30 minutes another day. Have a notebook or notepad app with you to jot down your ideas when they come. Keep plugging away at it. Soon you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished!

Have anything else to add? Have you developed the habit of writing regularly? How did you develop it? 

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