When I teach rubber stamping classes, students will sometimes get frustrated because their creations don't look "as perfect" as mine. I reassure them that they only see the end result of my efforts via the samples I present at class. They don't see all the misfires and missteps and mistakes filling up the trash can. I always advise them that when you start to create anything, you need to think first about "getting the ugly out".
It's kind of a warmup for your creative muscles. Sometimes you have to drag your creativity by the ear and plop it down at the desk, and, just like anyone who is dragged by the ear and doesn't want to work on the assignment in front of them, they pout. They throw things around. They threaten to come up with the worst thing that's ever been made in the entire history of ugly things.
But then all of a sudden, something changes. The interest has been piqued. Now the creativity monster has morphed into a veritable angel, proud of what it produces, and striving to come up with the very best thing possible. It dances from cloud to cloud, sprinkling magic stardust on everything it touches.
This holds true with our writing, which is why the first draft is coated with mud and grime and has to be polished before it even looks like something worth salvaging.
I thought of all this recently, because my bathtub drain had a bad attitude. And somebody had to come and fix it. Boy was I glad I wasn't in charge of that project, because there was plenty of ugly to get out. (I'm blaming it on the previous tenant.)
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages--they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind--and they are for your eyes only.
This is a really effective way to get the ugly out. It allows your brain to whine and kvetch and generally carry on until it's run out of complaints and worries. Then you are free to spend the rest of the day working on what's important, not what's nagging at you. I used to do Morning Pages religiously, and really benefited from it. I haven't done it much recently, but I'm planning on adding it to my morning coffee routine starting today.
So there you go. From clogged bathtub drain to free-and-clear writing, in one blog post.
That's getting the ugly out for sure.