The idea behind morning pages is to get you to write three pages at any time of the day, preferably in the morning. The goal is to get you to clear your mind and let your creativity flow for the rest of the day. Paired with the right kind of text editor this seems like a useful exercise. I am using uFocus, a new minimalist editor I just discovered. Any other distraction-free editor works, such as one of these.
I like the “no way back” mode of uFocus, because it prevents me from editing the current sentence. I tend to waste a lot of time that way, even though I am making more spelling errors like this. Yet, I can focus better on what I am trying to say. I can always go back and fix what I have written later. Writing like this is more like dictation. Over time, I can expect to develop the same kind of discipline. I may just have to type less quickly.
I also like the typewriter-like scrolling feature of uFocus. Maybe this is just because I have actually used a typewriter. Many people won’t know what using a typewriter feels like. I think that this is a loss. Much the same as not having been taught how to write in cursive. Yes, a lot more of our writing is done on computers today. However, it cannot replace the act of writing on paper. It is something about the speed of thought.
Technology enables us to do many things faster, but increasingly the speed at which tasks can be completed exceeds the speed at which we can think. Careful thought requires time. It cannot be hurried along. Writing is one of those activities. It requires contemplation. The tools we use to write must match the speed at which we can express our thoughts. This is an application of Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety:
A system (here a tool) should only be as complex as its environment.