What Are Morning Pages?
“Morning Pages” is a daily journaling practice that consists of writing three pages of free-flowing thought each morning. Write down anything that’s on your mind, whether it be positive or negative. Whatever you are thinking about or feeling, just put it all out there on the page.
Morning Pages is a tool that was developed by acclaimed author and filmmaker Julia Cameron, and introduced in her book “The Artist’s Way.” She developed the practice for personal use to help clear her mind each morning and help her be less distracted throughout the day.
Morning Pages is a great way to sort out your thoughts, deal with any emotions you’re struggling with, and externalize your feelings. I find that they not only help me to be less stressed, but also more productive throughout the day, since my mind feels less cluttered and I have more clarity.
Morning Pages for Relaxation
Morning Pages allow you to work through your feelings. Instead of stressing over the same things all day, you can get your worries and troubles out in the open where you can actually deal with them.
What you write down on paper is much easier to deal with than the unknowns that are floating around in your head. When you bottle up your emotions inside, they continue to distract and stress you as you either think about them to much, or spend energy trying to suppress them. Writing it all down, with no filter, really allows you to release those emotions and separate yourself from them.
Writing everything down that you’re feeling gives you an easy way to process those feelings externally. Talking things out with a friend can be so helpful, but often we have reasons we don’t want to share everything with others. When you’re writing, however, there’s no reason to hold anything back! You don’t need to worry about what your journal will think, who it might tell, or if someone might be hurt by your feelings. The raw honesty is unrivaled.
Morning Pages for Clarity
Your mind can only hold so much at one time. If you are trying to figure something big out, you might run into a bit of a problem. You figure out part of it, then move onto the next part. But, by the time you’ve reached a conclusion with the second part, you’ve lost the clarity you had with the first.
Morning pages gives you space to progress with your thinking and develop greater clarity with your ideas. By writing three pages each morning, you can actually move from one complete thought to the next. If you do forget some aspect of your previous thoughts, you always have the options to go back and read them.
By recording your thoughts on a regular basis, your mind is free to progress to higher levels of thought, new ideas, and better iterations of old ideas during the day. Without that physical record, your mind continues to mull over the same ideas throughout the day, continually trying to not forget the ideas it’s come up with so far, and rehashing decisions it has already made. Morning Pages give you freedom from that repetitive thinking, and bring much greater clarity to your plans.
Morning Pages for Focus
Another benefit of Morning Pages is the focus that they bring to your day. Morning pages allow you to be much less distracted by your emotions (because you’ve been able to externalize them) and by trying to figure things out (because you’ve already recorded what you’ve figured out so far). This allows you to really focus on whatever you are trying to accomplish.
Morning pages give you space to record your feelings about the past and your plans for the future. This enables you to live in and enjoy the present moment so much easier. You can really focus on what you are doing, and find greater pleasure in that task than you otherwise would be able to.
How to Start Doing Morning Pages
Morning Pages is such an easy practice to start! While the benefits certainly are somewhat cumulative from one day to the next (i.e. being consistent will bring additional benefits), even doing Morning Pages sporadically can give a lot of benefit.
Step 1: Select a Journal
You can either do Morning Pages in a journal you’re already writing in, or you can start a new journal just for this purpose. Lines are very optional. Because you’ll be writing free-flowing thought, just use whatever you’re the most comfortable with. The results don’t have to be pretty, they just need to help YOU.
Step 2: Plan Your First Experience
What time will work best for you to write on most days? First thing when you wake up at 7am? After you’ve poured yourself a cup of coffee? Or once you’ve sat down at your desk? Plan a time that you’ll be able to be consistent with your writing, because that will give you the most rewards long term. Expect Morning Pages to take you anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes, depending on how quickly you write.
Step 3: Start Tomorrow
Unless you have a good reason to start on a different day, just plan to start tomorrow so that you can start building this habit as soon as possible. Give yourself a reminder to do Morning Pages tomorrow: either set an alarm on your phone, or write it down in your planner. You might even make a note on your bathroom mirror. Whatever will help you to remember to do it!
Step 4: Plan for Consistency
You’ve already picked out the best time of day to practice Morning Pages, so now you just need to plan how you’ll remember each day, until it’s truly a habit. You could set a recurring reminder on your phone, or keep a note on your refrigerator or mirror. You’ll probably need to keep reminding yourself every day for the first 3 – 4 weeks. After that, it will be a habit that you’ll remember each morning without even having to think.
Step 5: Tomorrow, Write
Tomorrow morning, when it’s the ideal time you picked to do your Morning Pages, sit down in a comfortable place and start to write. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages! Just let the thoughts flow onto the page. Write down anything you are feeling or thinking about, and don’t stop until you’ve filled three pages of your journal. Really let it all out and don’t hold anything back. This isn’t the place for a filter. This is a place to process your feelings, record your ideas, and move on to new, better thoughts.
My Personal Experience with Morning Pages
I was introduced to Morning Pages through Aileen of lavendaire.com, who shared her own positive experience with the practice. I started doing Morning Pages myself several months ago, and have grown to appreciate it more and more since that time.
When I do Morning Pages consistently, I find that not only am I much less stressed throughout the day, but I also make so much more progress with my business. I’ll be stuck in a rut, processing the same thoughts over and over again, but when I sit down to write, that’s when the breakthroughs come. I’m able to lay out my thoughts so much more logically on paper!
Aside from helping me grow my business, Morning Pages also adds a lot to my life personally, helping me to process my feelings and work through my emotions. I’ll definitely be continuing this practice into the future, because I find it beneficial in so many different ways.
How about you? Had you ever heard of Morning Pages before this? Have you tried it before? Does it sound like something you might be interested in trying in the future? Why or why not?