I write Morning Pages every single morning, and they’re changing my life.
I was turned on to Morning Pages, when I first heard about them from Tim Ferriss. I thought if this is something he is really gung-ho about, then he had my attention.
Sadly, I didn’t do much with it at the time.
I was living in the USA when I learned about them. My mom actually had the book, The Artist’s Way (this is the book that teaches you how to do them). I briefly looked at it, but the process didn’t call to me because it seemed it was for “real” artists. I write non-fiction and blog, so I questioned whether that qualified. (Silly me.)
Or, maybe it was the subtitle on the cover: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I like to consider myself relatively spiritual, as I carry a couple of crystals with me on a regular basis -ha- but I wasn’t into reading spirituality books. (Except for The Tao of Daily Life, one of my favorite books in the whole world – so yeah, I guess I am spiritual in hindsight.)
Plus, Morning Pages seemed like an exercise I didn’t have time for in the morning. So, while I thought they sounded mildly interesting, I figured it was something I wouldn’t pursue at the time. Maybe later.
But, then Morning Pages came on my radar again.
It was time to pay closer attention.
I purchased a software program for writing called Scrivener (I love it, more on Scrivener in another post). But I didn’t know how to best use this writing software, and it seemed a bit daunting to begin. I found videos teaching the basics, and it was in these videos about Scrivener that Morning Pages came to my attention again.
The woman teaching Scrivener said she writes Morning Pages every day and she uses Scrivener for them. She even created a template for them and offered to share the template. Well, now I had a good reason to look at Morning Pages again.
The Universe brought them to my attention (nudge-nudge).
Plus, I had a tool I could use for them!
I decided to look into Morning Pages more seriously.
WHAT ARE MORNING PAGES?
The Basic Idea of Morning Pages is simply writing every morning. Specifically, three pages of longhand every morning, but I’ll get to the longhand thing later – it’s not my M.O.
The book, The Artist’s Way, is actually a 12-week program designed to help you be your most creative self. Morning Pages are addressed in the beginning (as is The Artist’s Date which I also love!). I think some people will find their lives changed with Morning Pages alone, and some people will go the extra mile and do the other exercises in the book, including The Artist’s Date. It’s all great no matter which you choose.
In fact, you might start with Morning Pages and stick with just those for many months before adding the other elements of the program.
Morning Pages by themselves are a brilliant way to brain dump. This is a stream of consciousness flowing out of your brain and onto the paper. But, when Morning Pages were brought to my attention again, via the lady teaching about Scrivener, I wasn’t in the USA anymore. I was in France and I didn’t have the book nearby.
She didn’t explain the reasoning for Morning Pages, just that she did them and had a template. So, I dove into Morning Pages without having read any formal instruction manual. I figured I understood the concept well enough.
I remembered the basics of Morning Pages was simply to write every morning. It made sense to me, because I thought of it as a warm up for writing and I’d been wanting to inspire myself to write more. Seemed smart.
Warming up my fingers.
I thought of writing Morning Pages as a way to warm up my fingers and my brain to write every day, but nothing more. I thought Morning Pages were like the pianist who practices his scales before playing the music. I found them useful! They were effective. I ended up having better writing for my blog and books because, well, I was writing more! I was writing every day as a result of these morning pages. They worked to get my fingers warmed up so I was ready to move from morning pages to my blog (and books).
The other benefit of writing Morning Pages was that I would get ideas and inspirations for things to write. Morning Pages seemed like a win-win!
But, I didn’t do it longhand.
At the time, I didn’t realize that longhand was one of the requirements. I typed my Morning Pages using the template the Scrivener teacher offered. It was proof that not everyone writes them in longhand – I wouldn’t be the only one. (The Scrivener template is literally 12 folders for each month, with 1 blank page for each day – so no rocket science here. You could create the same thing in Evernote or Notes.)
By the time I was regularly writing my Morning Pages, I was in Cardiff, Wales. I enjoyed them. I woke up a bit earlier each day to do them.
But, dammit, then I stopped doing them.
To be honest, I hadn’t even realized I’d stopped doing them until a few weeks had passed. I was back in France by this time, and I went back to using them, but I wasn’t writing them regularly like I was before. I was making some changes and used the Morning Pages more like a journal. This time, I wasn’t using them to warm up my fingers anymore, instead I was using them as a way to record my feelings, thoughts, etc. Kind of like they’re supposed to be used, but I didn’t know that… yet.
You see, the reason I had stopped using the Morning Pages between Cardiff and France was because I didn’t completely understand their purpose, and so I wasn’t as committed. Then, when travel days came upon us and work deadlines, I could go days without writing them. I didn’t really know any better though.
That all changed when I learned more about Morning Pages.
We came to Arizona and stayed with my mom. She never throws anything away and collects a myriad of things including a variety of books. I remembered that she had the actual books so I decided to take a peek at them. I felt the draw. On her shelf I found the book for The Artist’s Way including the optional extra workbook and journal! Of course mom had all three lol.
The author of the book is a Christian but the book is written from a more spirituality and wonder perspective than anything religious. Depending on your preference and viewpoint, you can approach it however it best suits you. Personally, I’m not religious but I do appreciate some spirituality mojo in my life.
You really only need the main book, The Artist’s Way.
The Artist’s Way is the book that teaches you how to do Morning Pages (and more). So this time I decided to take the time and learn more about the morning pages because I didn’t want to hit the snooze button on the Universe again.
My intuition told me they would be important.
So, here I was in Arizona with The Artist’s Way books and program before me. This time the words spiritual, artist, and creativity didn’t sway me away. I proceeded to read and learn more determined to see why everyone loved this book.
I started reading it.
I. Was. Blown. Away.
The Artist’s Way described in detail the purpose of the Morning Pages. Yes, a stream of consciousness, a brain dump, to be done every morning, but the amazing results short term and long term that happen as a result are nothing short of friggin’ amazing-ness.
It turns out … Morning Pages are for everyone!
Whether you are a stay at home mom, lawyer, banker, doctor, painter, author, student, entrepreneur, anyone. Morning Pages will change your life. These are not just for artists.
Morning Pages bring out your creativity and you will find more organization, passion, and excitement in your life. You might think, I don’t need Morning Pages because I’m not an artist. Or, I don’t need that because I’m already creative enough. Trust me… your life will improve with Morning Pages in ways you had no idea could be improved. There’s a reason so many people are committed to them, myself included. Your relationships could improve, your finances could improve, your career could improve, your overall well-being will improve!
Taken by the new light shed on the importance of morning pages for creativity, I was personally drawn to them because I was actually considering writing fiction books. Gasp! Only problem was I had no idea where to begin.
Morning Pages promised creativity so I was game!
I eagerly dove back into them. I read through the book, inspired greatly to make these a regular part of my life. I now understood they are not just warming up my fingers every morning and getting my brain in gear. There is something deeper happening. Morning Pages are for everybody. They shake out the wiggles, clear the cobwebs, and sweep your brain so there is room for creativity, whatever form that should take.
I decided to trust in the process. It was hard not to after reading The Artist’s Way book.
As a result, I write my Morning Pages every day, and I feel like a new person.
The things and ideas I have uncovered in my life are coming out in my morning pages, and it’s cathartic. It’s allowing a sense of rebirth in my life. Although I don’t know where it’s going, I’m excited about the opportunity and direction happening before my eyes.
The main rules for Morning Pages is there are no rules. Sort of.
- Do them in the morning. This is the time to set your day and clear your head. The same results won’t likely come from doing them any other time. By clearing your brain in the morning you’ll find more organization in your life, immense clarity for your day, and you’ll actually find more time in spite of these taking time to write (that’s the magical part of them).
- Write them longhand. I’ll be honest, I tried that and came up with 6 reasons why I like typing them better. I’ll share that tomorrow. Suffice it to say, my typing them in Scrivener keeps word counts and I’ve found that 750-900 words is about three pages longhand-worth. I’d estimate they take me 20 to 40 minutes a day.
I can’t recommend The Artist’s Way book enough.
If you check it out on Amazon you’ll see tons of positive reviews for yourself. Get a copy now so you can reap the life-changing benefits of Morning Pages for yourself.
“Julia Cameron’s landmark book THE ARTIST’S WAY helped me figure out who I really was as an adult, not so much as an artist but as a person. And award-winning journalist and poet, Cameron’s genius is that she doesn’t tell readers what they should do to achieve or who they should be—instead she creates a map for readers to start exploring these questions themselves.”
–Michael F. Melcher, Law Practice magazine
“This is not a self-help book in the normative sense. It is simply a powerful book that can challenge one to move into an entirely different state of personal expression and growth.”
–Nick Maddox, Deland Beacon
“THE ARTIST’S WAY becomes a friend over time, not just a journal. Like a journal, it provokes spontaneous insights and solutions; beyond journaling, it establishes a process that is interactive and dynamic.”
–Theresa L. Crenshaw, M.D., San Diego Union-Tribune
I’m committed to Morning Pages. I guard my time to write them like a Mama Bear.
I’ve found them so useful and important that I’ll share the process with my young daughter soon. In fact, the author wrote a book for parent’s that I am excited about getting, The Artist’s Way for Parents. I think Morning Pages would be AMAZING for kids.