If you've never heard of Morning Pages, then you're in for a real treat. In this post, I'll share a brief overview as well as an excerpt from my personal Morning Pages notebook.
Morning Pages: An Overview
Created by award-winning author, poet, playwright, and filmmaker Julia Cameron, Morning Pages are a tool to help set the tone and mood of the rest of your day. They're mostly intended for creative types (authors, writers, musicians, artists, et. al.), but if you try them for yourself—assuming you don't consider yourself a creative person—I'm convinced you will find them invaluable to your everyday routine.
Here's a quote from Julia's website concerning Morning Pages:
According to Cameron, keeping a Morning Pages Journal is essential to cultivating creativity and personal growth. These pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing will provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize, and synchronize the day at hand.
So what are Morning Pages? In a nutshell, the idea is to take time every morning to write at least three pages of longhand in a dedicated notebook. What do you write? Absolutely anything you want!
While similar to keeping an ordinary journal, Morning Pages are different in one main aspect: Instead of functioning as a record of your daily happenings, with Morning Pages you basically freewrite your way through any thoughts which are at the top of your mind first thing in the morning, the time of day when you're most refreshed and your mind is most receptive to your excavating its subconscious treasures.
Morning Pages Defined
Morning Pages is basically the practice of taking time every morning to freewrite at least three pages (in longhand), winding your way through the thoughts that are at the top of your mind.
Additional Morning Pages Questions
- Why three pages?
- Why longhand instead of typing?
- Why in the morning?
- How long does it take to write three pages, anyway?
Perhaps these and several other questions are what are actually at the top of your mind right now. Rather than write an entire book on the subject here in this post, Julia has graciously done that for all of us! To learn more about it, see the Featured Resources section at the end of this post.
For now I'll make this one helpful suggestion: Since you'll be writing three pages of longhand, I recommend grabbing a medium-sized notebook instead of the larger, standard spiral bound "subject" notebooks you would normally buy for school. One that's become very popular due to Bullet Journaling (a journaling method I briefly cover in my recent book, SMART FOCUS Book 1: How to Stay S.M.A.R.T. and Achieve Your Most Important Goals One Step at a Time), is the Leuchtturm1917 Medium Size (A5) Dotted Page Notebook.
My Three Morning Pages
Taken from my Morning Pages Notebook #1 entry from February 22, 2017 (as seen in the above image)
I must write; I must put it off no longer. There, it is settled. For the last several days a cloud of gloom and drudgery has settled over me so that I have been able to do nothing except pine away at what I should like to be doing.
I watch TV series with great writing or read books of the same caliber—or better—and think to myself "I, too, wish to write something so polished and intriguing." But there is nothing for it. Wishing never earned any man the completion of a thing. Besides, those works weren't written as completed, polished works; far from it.
Wishing never earned any man the completion of a thing.
Every such work or project begins humbly, with bits and pieces of inconsistency, imperfection, and incompletion. Great works (save the Holy Scriptures, which were Divinely inspired and, therefore safe to say, are exempt) don't start out as great. On the contrary, they must be refined, much like the marred vessel in the hands of the potter in Jeremiah 18.
To be sure, there will be flaws in the work at first; however, we must not let the fear of finding flaw with our work deter us from creating it. Art and creation, by their very nature, are messy and unrefined. This is the norm, not the undefiled, "holy" attributes which we ourselves assign to them.
We must not let the fear of finding flaw with or work deter us from creating it.
So if I am inspired by art others create, I would do myself a great favor—and release myself from a great many troubles—by acting upon that inspiration instead of merely—and cowardly—wishing for it. I would do good—excellent in fact—to grab the nearest scrap of paper and begin fleshing out my thoughts, instead of trying to remember which notebook I assigned to such unpolished meanderings. To do otherwise would be to sentence my inspiration to a cruel and undeserved death.
My muse wants to be released from its prison, not led down deeper into the innermost chambers.
Art and creation, by their very nature, are messy and unrefined.
Long before a building is constructed, a blueprint is drawn up—the First Draft, if you will—so that the building will ultimately become a polished specimen of its creator. In this same vein, a work cannot reach its full potential until it be first created as imperfect. After all, there is nothing to polish, nothing to refine, no vessel to mold and shape until we first get our hands wet and place the formless and void work on the wheel and start it spinning.
A work cannot reach its full potential until it be first created as imperfect.
This entire entry—nay, this entire notebook—has been a complete First Draft, a pouring onto the page of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and the like. I did not wait to construct a perfect thought, a perfect sentence, a perfect entry before writing; I simply wrote and the words came. If there's anything I've learned about writing—and creativity in general—it's this: Only when you begin the doing of a task, any task, do the results begin to show themselves and guide you toward the work's completion.
The work waits for you!
It will not start the journey for you; you must pull yourself out of the drudgery and despair of perfection and see the work for what it is: a nameless, faceless thought waiting—no, longing—to become so much more.
Only when you begin the doing of a task, any task, do the results begin to show themselves and guide you toward the work's completion.
You are the creator of your own worlds and ideas. The creator of Heaven and Earth, the Almighty Himself, has made you in His image; and His image and likeness is that of a creator! Therefore, His blessing is upon you!
Do not waste any more time and talent.
Go forth and become a good steward of the thoughts, ideas, and desires you have been given.
Go forth and conquer.
Go forth and CREATE!
(Author's Note: In case you're wondering about the tone of my Morning Pages entry, I had just finished reading some Hercule Poirot short stories by Agatha Christie's and was in quite the literary mood.)
If you're interested in learning more about Morning Pages, and multiple other amazing resources offered by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way, check out the Featured Resources below. Honestly, I can't recommend this book highly enough. If you've been struggling with freeing your creativity and don't know the next step to take, The Artist's Way is the next step!
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Question: Have you used Morning Pages before? If so, what are some of the benefits you've found in writing Morning Pages?
Leave a comment below and tell us all about it.