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 not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind—and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page … and then do three more pages tomorrow.Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way
I have written morning pages for 40 consecutive days, and from my experience so far, I will continue writing them. They have become an essential part of my day, to the point that I feel my thoughts a burden until I write my morning pages. It is almost crazy to say, because I never imagined myself the type of person to be journalling, which is basically what morning pages are. I had never written for pleasure, never journalled in any form, I didn’t even like taking pictures when I thought they weren’t necessary. I never saw value in capturing moments until I started this practice.
The value of morning pages lies in the nature of its openness. You can write about anything; you can write about nothing; you can write about everything. There is no pressure to be critical in your writing, you just write. This act of writing, consistently, enables creativity and inspiration to flourish. Generally, people believe that inspiration comes before action. Morning pages is proof, at least in the context of writing, action leads to inspiration. I have made so many connections, and come up with so many ideas, through writing morning pages. It is a practice that cultivates serendipity and rewards those that are consistent with the practice.
Quantity has a quality all its ownJoseph Stalin
By writing morning pages, you give yourself the time and space to think. If you think a given day, at almost every moment, your mind is occupied with a task. When you wake up, your mind is focussed on getting through the morning. This could mean making and eating breakfast, going to the gym, taking a shower, and getting into work. Once you get to work, you will be preoccupied with deliverables, deadlines, and meetings. When you get home, if you’re not petered out, you have to think about dinner. After dinner, maybe you’re seeing some friends or family. Next thing you know you’re asleep and the day’s gone by. There was zero opportunity where your mind had the space and time to think without being pulled into the gravity of momentary tasks and objectives. Morning pages is the solution to that. It shares a quality with the practice of meditation in that it is time in your day where you are not subservient to momentary demands. Meditation is an attempt to anchor your mind; Morning pages is an attempt to let it roam anchor-free.
Morning pages gifts me the clarity to dive into the rest of my day. By having the space to capture all my errant thoughts, it relieves me of them. This speaks primarily to the power of Roam Research; I am able to parse through my morning pages easily should I ever want to recover or rediscover a thought I had. I no longer have to worry about losing a great idea because I didn’t have the time to think it through. Morning pages is my time for exploring the possibilities and complexities of errant thoughts. Sometimes, they turn out to be nothing. Other times, they have inspired new courses of action including this very site and my decision to produce Skillshare classes. It has given me a new appreciation for what James Clear always says: many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity.
I concede that my methods differ slightly to the framework set by Julia Cameron. Instead of longhand, I use the keyboard. I input everything into my Roam Research database. It quickly became my primary platform for thinking and writing for reasons I go into here. My minimum daily word count I aim for is 750 words. This number was chosen because it is roughly equivalent to writing 3 pages by hand. Generally, I write until I exhaust my thoughts. At that point, if I have reached 750 words, then I stop; if I hadn’t reached 750 words, I’ll continue until I did. I think my most expansive morning pages was around 1,600 words, with most settling in around 800-900 words. I don’t really focus on the time it takes me to write morning pages, most recommendations are just to set a 30 minute timer, I like writing till my thoughts dry up, using word count as a baseline figure to strive for.
Morning pages, like meditation, is something that I would recommend unequivocally. It has had such a transformative impact to my life; it has made me more reflective and thoughtful about almost everything.