Evening Pages

EVENING PAGES

I’ve added Evening Pages to my daily writing practice. I take time at the end of the day to reflect on both what and how I’ve put words on the page. Evening Pages provide closure to a day that starts with Morning Pages.

MORNING PAGES
Evening Pages

Morning Pages help me write through the fog of all that I have to do.

I’ve been writing Morning Pages as prescribed by Julia Cameron in The Artists Way for years. Morning Pages are helpful as both a meditative practice to finding my center and as a tunnel into my uncensored creative ideas.

Yes, Morning Pages sometimes end up being mundane lists of tasks I need to complete on any given day. But often committing those tasks to ink helps get them out of the way of what I need to write . Morning Pages often morph into a rough draft of my work for the day, whether it’s a speech, a blog post, or a section of one of my current books.

Morning Pages help me settle in to my concentration. In an ideal world, I would maintain that focus without interruption, but interruptions happen. Lately, I’ve been examining how I cope with interruptions, whether they’re internal interruptions (like thinking about lunch at 9 am), or external interruptions, like a business or family obligation I have to take care of. Regardless of the cause, I’m trying to teach myself how to recapture my mind so I can return to my imaginative work. Evening Pages help me perform this self-examination.

EVENING PAGES
Evening Pages

Evening Pages allow for reflection.

Evening Pages allow me to reflect on how I followed through on my Morning Pages and how I coped with interruptions during the day. Evening Pages allow me to see how I handle disruption. I can either praise my efforts to recoup my concentration or consider how else I might have reacted that would have preserved my focus.

 

Evening Pages

Evening pages are about sustaining the creative mind.

Evening Pages have already helped me see how many interruptions are of my own making. For years, I thought it was family life that was the major source of interruptions, and maybe it used to be. But Evening Pages have helped me realize that I’m often the source of my own distraction, not the other members of my household. Evening Pages allow me to examine just how I undermine my focus, and they are where I brainstorm ways to sustain the flow of words, even when writing what is uncomfortable and true.

Evening Pages are helping me learn how to cope with the powerful feeling of doing something dangerous and wrong by penning my truth on the page. Evening Pages are helping me to give voice to my truth.

The very process of written reflection allows me to examine more clearly my creative process: what I wrote, what comes next, and where my pen is taking me. Writing is often an act of discovery, and these Evening Pages help me stay oriented to the progress of my journey – even when I’m uncertain of my destination.

Cameron says that Morning Pages “provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.” I’m finding my Evening Pages to be a bit more deliberate, more reflective. Morning Pages are about unleashing the creative mind; Evening Pages are about sustaining it.

If you give Evening Pages a try, if you already have an end-of-day writing practice, or if you have any questions about Evening Pages, please be in touch via the Comments section below.

As always, thanks for reading.

Deborah Lee Luskin is a writer, speaker and educator. She lives in southern Vermont and on the web at www.deborahleeluskin.com

19 thoughts on “Evening Pages

  1. Have you heard of the Examin prayer?It looks over the day-the good ,the bad,&the ugly… Your evening pages sound like something I could use. Thanks

    • You sparked my curiosity, so I looked up the Examen Prayer, developed by Ignatius Loyola, to pause twice a day and give thanksgiving and reflection to the day at noon and night.
      Recently, I attended a series of lectures about Rumi and the Quran, and learned about the Muslim practice of stopping to pray five times a day – a chance to step out of the busy-ness of our earthly endeavors to consider the Bigger Picture: What good am I doing? How am I serving a higher purpose?
      I think all these methods of prayer aim toward what the Buddhists call Mindfulness, and the practice of any of these methods of reflection are bound to be helpful.
      Me? I’m a dedicated secularist, and daily writing is my favored method of meditation, with walking outdoors a close second.
      And, unless you’re going to join a religious order where life is arranged around prayer, I’d suggest that you make sure whatever practice you try, you forgive yourself when you miss a morning or a day. Like most habits, this one also takes time to establish.
      Good luck!

      • I thought evening pages would be easyer for me. Flexable. Love Rumi. His poems can stop me in my tracks. I agree with forgiving onesself for missing days or ams. This I’m learning-much to my relief

  2. So funny to see this post today, because “evening pages” is something I’ve been thinking about, but haven’t yet started practicing. I was a die-hard morning pages person for years, but I sort of fell off the wagon, so to speak, and haven’t been able to get my morning routine back to a place that allows time for writing. I was thinking that maybe a partial solution might be to take some time in the evening instead. I’m sure it’s a different vibe, but – hey – anything is better than nothing, right? And I love your concept of sort of bookending the day with morning pages to get things started and evening pages to reflect and revisit. I don’t see that as a realistic possibility for me right this minute, but definitely something to strive for. 🙂

    • Hi Jamie,
      You’re absolutely correct:: Evening Pages do have a different vibe. And it’s often hard for me to postpone bedtime to get them done, so I do them earlier and earlier – usually at the end of the work day. I’m trying to develop a routine where I fill in my work diary (where I keep track of what I’ve written, who I’ve corresponded with/talked to, what work I’ve submitted, what contacts are pending, what invoices, etc.) and then write my Evening Pages before I turn off my electronics. Radical! There’s a whole cascade of tasks, any which one can be interrupted and divert the whole, carefully choreographed process. . . which is where “go with the flow” comes in!

      • I’m working on finding a similar rhythm … but, far too often, my days tend to go off the rails in the afternoon. I’m always playing catch up, and the same things always end up being pushed out by necessity. 😦 I’ll get there, though. I swear I will!

  3. I read The Artist’s Way years ago, and did Morning Pages for quite a while. I fell out of the habit, but I think maybe it’s time I start doing them again–or Evening Pages, if that’s more realistic for me. I think it’s a great way to “get out of your own way” when it comes to writing, and I need that right now. Thanks for reminding me about it!

  4. Thank you for this Post. It is a timely reminder to all folks with creative minds that stimulation should be chose to fit our particular clock and time frame. A beautiful and encouraging blog post!

  5. Interesting to hear about the morning and evening pages. I don’t know if what I am saying about exactly fall in with, morning and evening pages. But what I happen to do is plan out in my mind – which I found out that it is called mental rehearsal. I am someone who pray daily, but if something important or urgent turns up I do miss praying for that time as, it is said “hands that help are holier than lips that pray” Thank you for your article, I am learning much from the articles written on this site 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words and the thought, “Hands that help are holier than lips that pray.” All best.

  6. Pingback: How Peaceful the Disconnected Life Can Be | Live to Write – Write to Live

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