You’ve probably heard of them.  Subconscious journaling is kind of a big thing right now, after all.  But what actually are Morning Pages specifically?

MorningPages

What the heck are Morning Pages?!

Morning Pages, simply put, are three handwritten pages of stream-of-consciousness journaling written first thing upon waking up in the morning.

But what’s the point of Morning Pages?

I learned about Morning Pages in Julia Cameron’s amazing book, The Artist’s Way.*  (She’s since written a smaller book exclusively about this practice, called The Miracle of Morning Pages.*)

The point of Morning Pages is to tap into your own subconscious mind.  This is why they must be done first thing in the morning.  Ms. Cameron argues, and I reluctantly admit she’s completely right, that if we write once our day is under way, we end up reflecting on what has already happened that day.  But sitting down to write first thing, before doing anything else (I do brush my teeth and grab water), all those thoughts that swim subconsciously around our brains end up coming out on paper.

The end goal is to identify recurring themes, capture creative ideas, feel inspired.  Or at the very least, get a bunch of whining out of your system before starting the day.

What if I have nothing to say?

Writing Morning Pages is discipline, and as such, is (according to Julia and my own experience) most effective when it’s done every single day.

What if you wake up and have nothing to say?  Julia suggests that that’s what you write.  “I have nothing to write this morning.  This is stupid.  The sun’s not even up, my eyes are shutting, and my stupid dog is standing by the door demanding to go out.” (Okay, those might have been my words one day, not Julia’s, but you get the point.)

Even if you write for days just whining about the same stuff (“I hate my job.”  “I hate my bedspread.”  “I hate cooking.”) you’re likely to see patterns emerging, which can in turn inspire action.

I’d rather type.

Nope, says Julia.  The three handwritten pages are on full sized paper (I use this* with the Levenger Circa notebooks*; I also used Excel to make my own version of the annotated paper (download for free!) for when I run out, and because I like my own printer paper better.  But I digress.).  Julia cites theory about our typing speed exceeding our thought process or something.  I’m not sure how much science backs it up, but I have found that typing isn’t at all effective for me.

You sound a little obsessed with the Morning Pages.

Maybe.  All I can say is that I have tried journaling for years (my record is about 3 consecutive days, followed by intense feelings of resentment toward the empty pages in the journal), I’ve been in therapy, and I’ve read oodles of self-help books, and nothing has helped as much as the Morning Pages.  (Added bonus — they’re free!!!)

And yes, I tell everyone about them.  Not that I think anyone has tried them yet, but

“Show me the money!”

I know, lots of “Morning Pages are so great!” and not a lot of evidence of their greatness.  So here is a quick(ish) summary of a few pretty major discoveries I’ve made in just about five weeks of regularly writing morning pages.

  1. I feel calmer throughout the day, more in control.  Little things don’t bother me as much (although I will sometime grab my journal and write about them to get them out of my system mid-day).  If for some reason don’t get to write (or finish) the Morning Pages, I feel snappy and completely out of control, like I’m watching my day happen instead of being involved.
  2. I want to create my own art, not just encourage my kids.  I realized early in my parenting years that the one activity I can sit and do for hours with my kids, never feeling bored, is art.  Since I didn’t see myself as an artist, it felt stupid to do art projects on my own, so I’d encourage my kids to do them “with” me.  Then I realized as I was writing every day that it’s actually okay for me to make art by myself, just for me, and I’m now enrolled in my very first art class.
  3. I’ve created a new blog.  As I wrote, I was constantly thinking about paper-based communication.  “Wouldn’t that photo make a beautiful card?”  “Why don’t parents have their children write thank you cards?”  “When did I stop sending birthday cards?”  Thoughts like that.  And I remembered being a kid with so many pen pals all over the world (remember Pen Pals?!), and how much I loved everything from writing and receiving letters, to picking out the stationary and stamps, even the smell of my hometown post office.  Anyway, I realized that I wanted to write about these things, and hopefully inspire others to write more, too.

As always, I wanted to let you know that I deeply appreciate all your support and your own sharing in the comments and in emails.  

Have you ever written Morning Pages?  Do you have questions?  Let me know in the comments — and check out Julia Cameron’s books above!

Wishing you all the best,

Andie

 

*Affiliate links.  No extra cost to you, but Amazon gives a tiny kickback to me!

 

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  • Rachael-Renae - We use the excuse that LIFE gets in the way… we have become closer as a world community due to technology yet our ways of thinking outside the box has become highly effected by LIFE TRENDS.
    It certainly is the everyday small stuff that matters, and I can understand how these “morning pages” can & would help many of us if we took the time; in a very busy world that we have created that seems to have a lot of life trends that are “nothing of great importance.”
    I will be taking this challenge up to see what “morning pages” reveal to me!

    Thanks for reaching out in our meeting spot! 100DayGoalsReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Rachael-Renae — thanks for your observations and for inspiring me to finally sit down and write this post! ;-). (#100DayGoals Facebook group led by Julia Bickerstaff of TheBusinessBakery.com.au)ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - I was just thinking about you the other day and was wishing you would post again. And here you are! So glad you are back. As always everything you say resonates completely with me. I have a large tub filled with letters from different people from when I was about 10 because I used to write tons of letters to different people. Now I’m lucky if I send my parents a birthday card on time. Please keep writing-you inspire me- I so want to blog also but am so scared -damn those voices!ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Charlotte — that is so wonderful that you still have those letters! I got rid of all of mine many moves ago, and now I wish I’d at least kept a sampling. My thinking tends to be very “all or nothing.”
      I’m glad my posts inspire you! Would love to hear your voice more!ReplyCancel

  • Linda B - It has been a while since you posted this, but I just read it (directed here by Sally’s Lovely Links.)

    A friend introduced me to the Artist’s Way about 5 years ago. I have been faithfully doing Morning Pages ever since. I really, really love this process. It has helped me to find the small spaces to experience my creative life when everything else seems to consume me. I wish I could say that I had taken on major new creative work in this time. . . but not yet. I am still plugging away. I won’t stop.ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Linda – Thank you for sharing your experience with the Morning Pages! As for major new creative work — if I had been doing ANYTHING creative, it probably wouldn’t have been such a striking change! 😉 Love hearing that they help.ReplyCancel

  • Kat - Hi Andie! Thank you so much for this post. I love the morning pages idea…I actually got out of bed at 5:15 this morning for the first time ever…and then I stumbled on your blog again and saw this post. Also, I feel you on the perfectionism stopping the writing. It holds me back on my own blog. I do hope you continue to write and share.ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Kat — Perfectionism definitely has its place, but not when it completely paralyzes, us!
      PS – I enjoy your blog, too! And I used to be a big fan of the public library…except, until I get my life organized enough to return books on time, it turned out that I was actually spending MORE money to borrow books from the library. Ooops. But, hey, I need goals, right?ReplyCancel

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