At first glance, the concept of Morning Pages looks like a peaceful, tree-filled oasis in the Sahara Desert. Luckily, at second – and third glance it does too.
As a card-carrying multi-tasker, I spend much of my free time (or not free time) scrolling through news feeds on Imgur, reddit, Flipboard, and Facebook. There isn’t much time or space in my world when I’m not taking in some kid of information. Interestingly, as a reader of news from multiple channels, you begin to notice that there’s normally only one source of news, and it’s usually a press release. However, web-writers like myself love little case studies like this. It’s great to see which posts perform and which posts never have the chance.
During one of my morning scrolls, I landed on a post from Quartz.
Writing for the Business Mind
Writer Julia Cameron introduced Morning Pages in 1992. After struggling from a professional, creative failure, Cameron needed find her mojo without a kernel of doubt. She sees “creativity as an authentic spiritual path” to which writing is a conduit.
She’s not the only person who feels this way. In fact, there are classes out that embrace this concept. One poignant example for me is Writing as Yoga. My experience of this class is one taught by a talented writer and yoga teacher, Rebecca Lammerson, in Phoenix, Arizona. As a writer, this course helped me to push past my inner critic and write what came to me. Additionally, Writing as Yoga is one main reason this particular writer is open to a concept such as Morning Pages.
Huffington Post published an interview with Cameron back in 2014 wherein she discusses her successes and challenges as a creative professional. In the interview, she states writing is a way for people to unblock their creativity and create change in their environment. At the end of the interview, she states simply her only advice to readers is to “write Morning Pages.”
Creative Writing Linked to Success
Author Gregory Ciotti writes of the benefits of creative writing in a HelpScout blog. Creative writing, or what he refers to as “expressive” writing, provides many significant benefits to even the occasional writer.
Ciotti credits creative writing with these 5 things:
- Increased happiness,
- Clearer communication,
- Strength to push through hard times,
- Gratitude and reflection,
- Organizational skills, and even
- Thoughtful leadership.
Due to my day job(s) and non-correlative passion-projects, my life is a constant pivot from one topic to the next. I can’t tell you how many sticky notes and iPhone notepad notes are scattered about with my thoughts scribbled on them. A practice like this is enticing.
Meditation Breeds Mindfulness
Most noteworthy here is the meditative aspect of writing Morning Pages.
When you’re writing free-flow, you’re expressing yourself without control. It’s a great way to process internal monologue in this almost-dreamlike state. Many religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Catholicism include aspects of meditation. This habit consequently allows many practitioners to decrease stress, increase focus, and dive deeper within themselves. Much as meditation helps those who practice it, so does creative writing to those who spend time with it.
How to Write Morning Pages
It’s pretty simple, really. First, designate a journal for morning pages. I have a special one I love that I’ll use.
- Okay now, wake up. But don’t don’t wake up too much. Keep that fuzzy, I can’t open a jar of pickles yet, softness of the early morning. For me, my plan is to set the coffee timer the night before to start brewing as I write. I’ll roll out of bed to my chair and pick up a sturdy journal and a good pen.
- Write 750 words. Which is about 3 pages, Cameron says. She also recommends this will take about 30 minutes to do. If you’re a writer, I surmise it will take less time. We will see.
- Use a pen/pencil and paper. Cameron insists this is critical and I agree. Furthermore, studies show that there are significant benefits to writing by hand such as increased creativity and memory.
- Free-flow your words. Don’t worry about what comes out, it’s not meant to be your next novel or business manifesto. The intention is to encourage creative juices to flow and unblock the gunk.
- Refrain from reading (or editing) what you write. I agree with this. Since we tend to edit ourselves for the world, it goes without saying that the temptation is there for our future selves as well. So, don’t read it over. Rather, once you finish writing, close the book and go about your day.
Lastly, she recommends that these writings happen daily. So hop to it!
I started my Morning Pages ritual this morning. When I woke up, I slowly slipped out of bed and headed into the kitchen to put on the coffee. On my way back to my couch, I grabbed the little red journal I’d left out and my favorite pen. I can’t say it felt like much. Nor did it take much time. But I will say it isn’t the easiest task to grip a pen first thing in the morning, either! I must say, just flowing through random thoughts wasn’t hard, I think it’s building up the habit that takes time.
When I was done, I shut my little book and drank my coffee. Glad I did it, I’m excited to see what the future brings. So, join me! Let me know how it goes – or if you already do it, send me a note or post below – I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!