Every morning (well, almost every morning) I fill three pages of A4 paper with stream-of-consciousness writing. The morning pages, as Julia Cameron describes them, are 'the primary tool of creative recovery.'
I like the morning pages. I leave negative thoughts on the paper, analyse them, think of solutions, then get on with my day. It's not quite as neat as that, obviously. My mind wanders and I end up somewhere completely different from where I started. Good. The point is that I listen to my mind, my body, my soul even, and act accordingly.
A few years ago I started doodling in the morning. I'd pick up a nib pen, dip it in ink, and draw on blank sheets of paper. I'd draw anything. Whatever came to my mind. Sometimes I'd make a random mark and turn it into something recognisable. Other times I'd hear something interesting in a podcast and be inspired to draw something specific.
Without realising it, I was doing the morning pages already. In pictures. A stream-of-consciousness freestyle doodling. I thought I was just loosening up and practising my drawing skills. But now I see glimpses of a former life: shirts and ties, a flat with draughty wooden floorboards (and mice underneath them), and lunch in busy parks.
Last year I took part in InkTober, a month of ink drawings. You can read about that here. Again, I doodled without a plan and my thoughts bled onto the paper.
Morning doodles are great. They're fun, quick, good drawing practice, therapeutic (one might argue), idea-generating and, depending on how you feel about them, worth sharing.
Write your morning pages, then draw them!
Richard Pettitt, cartoonist.