Morning Pages: 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. Occasionally colorful, more often than not Morning Pages are negative, fragmented, repetitive or bland. Good! Worrying about your job, the laundry, the weird look your friend gave you – all that stuff distracts you from your creativity. It eddies through your subconsciousness and muddies your day. Get it on the page first thing in the morning and move on with your day with a freer spirit.
So it begins
In January of 2011 I began the daily practice I found in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron called Morning Pages and I can honestly say it changed my entire perspective on life. Huh? Really? How can writing three pages of nonsense stream of consciousness first thing in the morning change your life? Umm, I don’t know…it just does! Here’s the deal, if you have a human brain like me (chances are you do) that goes round and round like a hamster running that wheel as if his little life depends on it – then keep reading. If you feel an inner peace at all times and you think you’re the Dali Lama, you can skip this post.
Morning Pages has allowed me to be more creative throughout my day by giving me a place to dump all the nonsense I have going on between my ears. In my experience, the nonsense becomes less and less and then some pretty cool creative stuff pours out on the page. Stuff I never expected. I think it’s magic, kinda, sorta, maybe? Or maybe I know have stacks of journals with the scribbling’s of a mad man, who cares? I feel better. This blog was spawned from Morning Pages, so there!
Here are some guidelines to make this exercise most effective:
– They must be done in the morning
– They must be written by hand
– No editing, just write
– Don’t show anyone else your pages
– Don’t go back and read them right away (you can further down the road if you like)
I can already hear your resistance to this exercise…
I’m too busy to do them in the morning…I can barely get to work on time!
– Get up early!
I write much better at night.
– Nope, end of the day writing is fine but it usually turns out to be a review/dumping of the day you just had. Doing these in the morning will free up your mind to have a more creative day – trust me.
My handwriting is awful, why can’t I type them?
– Writing longhand will get you more honest pages, trust me. There is something about writing longhand and the stream of consciousness…just at least try it. I spent months typing them and didn’t see the same results – although this is just my experience (I actually think just DOING them is a huge step, no matter what your process is).
I’m much more verbal, why can’t I say my thoughts into a recorder?
– Nope, same reason as above…writing longhand produces more honesty. I’m willing to bet you will ‘write’ more crazy thoughts than actually say them out loud…just sayin (you know who you are).
Living in great cities like Los Angeles and Dallas, I have had the luxury taking an Artist’s Way Workshop with Kelly Morgan in L.A. and with Barley and Joanna at Studio Arts Dallas – both of which I highly recommend. It was helpful to hear others say these same excuses in the workshop. My teachers would give the same advice I’m giving to you: just give it a try. Simple. If you want creative change in your life, try it.
Trust me, these aren’t easy. They also aren’t hard. I still have trouble on some days. The point is to JUST DO IT. Check it out…my pages obviously change on a daily basis. They can start off something like: I’m tired, writing this early sucks. When is my coffee going to be ready. How long will I walk the dogs…where do they wanna go? I wish they could talk…nah, they may complain too much. How can I be creative today? I wonder if my car needs new brakes? I better call Nana back. You get the drift? Good…trust me, they get good. Sure it may be crazy for a while, give it time. My Pages have turned into some really cool stuff.
Challenge: Write Morning Pages for One Month
– Get yourself a pen you and enjoy and a notebook/journal (I find the standard 8.5 x 11 spiral notebooks work well)
– Set your alarm for 30-45 minutes earlier than usual
– Make coffee or get caffeinated (if that’s your thing)
– Sit down and WRITE at least 3 pages (more if you like)
I hope you’ll take this challenge – keep it simple. I only gave you a month and hope you’ll continue – trust me, I had no idea Id do them this long. I don’t plan on stopping, I suppose I’m hooked. If you want to learn more about Morning Pages, definitely get The Art’s Way book or Google it and you’re sure to find lots of other evangelists like myself.