do it. Don’t roll over in the morning and pick up your
the alarm, sure. But then put it down and pick up a
notepad and do your Morning Pages.
practice of filling three blank pages, by hand, in a
stream-of-consciousness style, is the key to not only
opening up your own creativity, it could be a relief
from whatever ails you.
Cameron first introduced the practice in her book,
“The Artist’s Way.” And 25 years after its 1992
debut, with an anniversary edition of the book out, she
is continuing to lead classes to help people nurture
their art — and their souls. It’s Cameron’s own
form of spirituality, practiced through paper and pen,
rather than prayer.
is finding a new following in these days of screens and
think that people have a pretty intense spiritual
hunger,” Cameron said the other day on the phone from
her home in Santa Fe, N.M. “And I like teaching.
It’s always sort of an adventure. Every audience is
different and you feel like, ‘Oh, I wonder how this
one is going to go?’”
“The Artist’s Way” first came out, people used it
to jump-start their work in a certain art form. Four
million copies have been sold since publication. Now,
Cameron said, they are coming to the book and her
classes for “creative living.”
having an openness to adventure,” Cameron explained.
“I think people want their lives to have greater risks
in them, but they are afraid, and so they come to class
hoping for courage, and I think they leave class with
to it all, in Cameron’s view, are The Morning Pages:
the practice of rising in the morning and, before coffee
or anything else, writing whatever comes to mind on
three pieces of paper. No pausing to think. Just write.
Jungians tell us that we have a 45-minute window from
the time we wake up before we get our ego defenses in
place,” she said. “So I say to people, ‘Do Morning
Pages first thing’ and people say, ‘Julia, what
about my coffee?’
make cold coffee the night before.”
no right or wrong way to do Morning Pages, but Cameron
recommends an 8-1/2-by-11-inch notepad. The size gives
one room to think, she said. (“Anything smaller and
you tend to miniaturize your thoughts.”)
sees the practice as a way to “ventilate negativity”
that becomes more of a relief than a task, and pointed
to research that shows that writing by hand opens
neuropathways in the brain. People become more positive
also a way to offset the negativity that lurks on social
media every time we scroll through our feeds.
think that what has happened to us with social media is
that it has sort of backfired and taken up a lot of time
in our day,” Cameron said.
Pages allow us to be personally authentic and honest.
still do them,” she said. “Something will come up
that I didn’t know was bothering me. … I find myself
exploring in Morning Pages how I actually feel about a
thing. I find them to be a potent form of meditation for
Westerners, who have a hard time sitting and doing
nothing for 20 minutes.”
conventional meditation allows you to remove an issue
from your mind, Morning Pages do just the opposite:
“They move you into action,” she said. “You think,
I goddamn better do something.”
now 71, lives in an adobe house up a mountain from
downtown Santa Fe with a Westie named Lily. They live on
a dirt road that they walk every day, and see lizards
and coyotes and deer. (“All those things bring me a
lot of joy.”)
She was a
writer for The Washington Post and Rolling Stone when
she met director Martin Scorsese during an interview.
They were married for two years in the ’70s and have a
daughter, Dominica Cameron-Scorsese, now 42 and an
actress. Cameron has written for TV and film (one
episode of “Miami Vice” and an independent feature
called “God’s Will”), but more for the stage. She
has recently completed two plays: “Love in the DMZ,”
about a soldier in Vietnam and his wife, waiting for him
in Kansas; and “The Animal in the Trees,” another
love story, but with a tragic ending.
has spun a large spool of work from “The Artist’s
Way”: Her 32 books include updated editions and books
on how to raise creative children, or remain creative
later in life.
think it’s important for people to know that the tools
come out of my own creative practices,” she said.
“I’ll do something and teach what I have learned.”
does “The Artist’s Way” actually lead?
think it leads to people falling in love with
themselves,” she said. “And it’s a fair
expectation to feel that you are more marvelous than you