This week, we're thinking about Morning Pages.
What are Morning Pages?
Morning Pages is a journaling technique that prompts the writer to immediately complete three pages of handwritten thoughts early in the morning (about 750 words). Writers are encouraged to write their bare thoughts, unedited and uninterrupted, as soon as they wake up - total stream of consciousness or freestyle of the mind.
What's so good about it?
Clears your mind. When you wake up, your mind is swimming with thoughts from the previous night. When you write off the top of your head first thing in the morning, the words that spill out onto the blank page will no longer be taking up space in your brain, and you can approach the rest of the day with more clarity.
Processes your emotion. Life can be overwhelming. On top of personal stress, we are bombarded with heavy information in the news—some of it tragic. It’s okay to grieve and process these stories. Morning pages give you the space to do this, freeing your mind from information that can weigh you down and affect your productivity and your life.
Unleashes your creativity. Being creative takes discipline. Making the time to sit down and write that novel or short story often gets pushed aside. By writing morning pages, you’re establishing a routine that will help you find a way to make time for your creative self. Once you get into the habit of writing morning pages, finding the time for your creative endeavors will come easier.
Silences your inner critic/minimizes your internal censor. Before even putting pen to paper, writers can be their own worst critics. Stream-of-consciousness writing accesses only what’s on your brain at that moment, leaving no room for self-criticism.
Where does it come from?
Morning Pages are a method of journaling that comes from the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. The legendary book published in 1992, intended to help artists break down creative blocks - but the methods Cameron broke down appealed to communities far beyond the art world. So much so, that today, you can even take a MasterClass on this one journaling technique. What makes it so special?
Now consider that that this method was so profound and impactful — in 1992. Think about how much that space could benefit us today. Our brains are buried more than ever before - between the texts, emails, social media, Netflix, news (you get it...) our minds don't often get a break. Morning pages creates one and can give us a clear start to the day.
Those who have embraced the ritual of Morning Pages say it helps relieve stress in various aspects of life - from relationships, to work or school. It is a practice that helps inject clarity, focus, and direction into your life.
Here's How To Get Started:
When you wake up (usually 15-20 mins earlier than you usually wake up)...grab a notebook and your favorite pen and set yourself up in a quiet place. Pro tip: Don't bring your phone.
- Give yourself a word limit. Write for 1, 2, or 3 pages, and then stop.
- Keep writing until the time is up. Do not pause to stare into space or to read what you’ve written. Write quickly.
- Pay no attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, neatness, or style. This on't be checked by MLA enforcement. The quality of what you write do not matter; the act of writing does.
- If you get off the topic or run out of ideas, keep writing anyway. If necessary, write nonsense or whatever comes into your head: anything to keep the words flowing.
- If you feel bored or uncomfortable as you’re writing, ask yourself what’s bothering you and write about that.
It's important to remember, morning pages are not meant to be high art, they can range from petty to silly to incredibly sublime. Throw any rules of writing out the window, just write what you think and feel. Remember, the days that you don't feel like writing are the most important days to write. When you feel like you can't fill all three pages, dig deeper and push through, remember, it doesn't matter what it is, as long as you're doing it.