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I've found an interesting private online journaling website: 750words.com

From "About" section of the website:

I've long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist's Way called morning pages. Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically encouraged to be in "long hand", typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head. It's about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day.

I've tried it for about a month or so, but still unsure whether such an exercise is useful or I should better spend this time on writing something, that is supposed to be edited or censored.

Can writing down everything out of the head without editing (or maybe even rereading) be useful for developing creative writing skills?

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Interesting find. :) –  JFW Nov 22 '10 at 9:27
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Actually, I find this works better for me at night. I know the whole point is to clear all the scattered thoughts out of your head first thing in the morning so that you can free up your mind for the day. However, I used to have trouble sleeping at night because I couldn't stop thinking about all the things I had to do the next day. Once I started writing it down at night, I accomplished a number of things. 1) I cleared my mind so that I could sleep. 2) I usually made myself sleepy by writing. 3) I woke well-rested and better prepared to face the day! –  Steven Drennon Jul 26 '11 at 3:24
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Besides what you can learn for life from morning pages, this habit is very useful for developing creative writing skills. (But for that, I don't think you have to do them in the morning.)

What you learn with this approach is the essential "write, don't edit" principle. Most people learn to write and edit at the same time. That was maybe helpful in school, writing a test, but it is not helpful in life.

Have you ever started to write a paragraph, found a spelling/grammar error in the beginning, corrected it and you've totally forgot what you wanted to write in the next sentences? Well, that does not happen, if you teach yourself to write things without editing them. You have plenty of time doing that, after you've written down everything what was in your head.

It needs practice to kick your personal editor out of your head. Then you can concentrate on what you want to do: that's writing, not editing.

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Everyone is different. So how could a single rule apply to all?

If you come across something that seems to make sense, try it. If it works out, keep the habit.

If it doesn't work out, drop it.

Since we're not you and you give no reasons to keep/drop it, you must make that decision yourself.

Also note that no decision in life is final. If you find after half a year that it did help, nothing is stopping you from trying it again.

Or doing it with your personal twist like playing loud music while you write.

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Most definitely.

I actually read the Artist's Way a number of years ago, and wrote morning pages for a while until I got sidetracked by other things. My journal still sits on my coffee table wanting to get written in again.

The idea behind morning pages is more than just freewriting. When the author explains it, and what to do, it's:

First, yes, freewrite at least three pages of what's in your head, but more importantly, don't reread what you write for at least one year after you write it.

When we wake up in the morning, there's enough cruft in our heads (either from dreams, good or bad things that are happening in our lives) and we continue to dwell on that cruft throughout the day. Having that cruft prevents us from performing as well as we should, and as writer's prevents our creativity from being pure as it should. If we reread what we wrote, we simply reinforce the cruft. However, by writing our thoughts down and getting them out, we clear are heads to be able to do the things we really want it to do.

Personally, morning pages seemed more like early morning meditation than freewriting for an idea.

However, and she goes into this in the book as well ... If every morning yo clear your head so you don't have any cruft, you'll wake up one morning, and you'll realize that your mind just feels free, and then when you write, it'll be coming from your imagination.

The author goes on to give an example of a fiction writer who had had writer's block for months, and had been so caught up on personal issues she had been having that she couldn't focus enough on just being creative. After a few months of writing morning pages and removing that cruft, she realized that what she was writing was becoming a new character, and, essentially, a new story.

So, yes, I have definitely found morning pages to be beneficial to my creativity, but more importantly, my life in general.

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This is a subjective question as its usefulness as an exercise will vary from person to person.

Fwiw I'd say that there is some value in doing this exercise, more so for novice writers than experienced ones. It is better to write something than nothing, so to speak, and it can serve as an aid to those unsure where to start or what to write. However without some editing and revision there is a danger of not learning from what you wrote and improving.

There is an exercise I do most years -Nanowrimo.com - where you attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Because of time constraint one writes without immediate revision or editing and the work takes shape. However once finished one is supposed to revisit it and edit etc it can be illuminating when reading back over it to see the unconscious mistakes one makes and the errors to which one is prone.I find that more useful than morning pages, personally.

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