I have done morning pages most of my life, way before Julie Cameron wrote about them in her book The Artist’s Way back in 1992. When I first read The Artist’s Way for the first time in 2006, I smiled. What I was doing now had a name.
I have at least 50 notebooks filled with writing. Probably more. They are everywhere. Somedays I write 10-15 pages, others my mandatory 3. Whatever it may be, I have to write.
I stopped doing morning pages when I started my blogs.
Why? How can someone who has done something for a life time stop doing something that is so engrained in their being? What could possibly cause this?
I started using my blog AS my morning pages.
Instead of going to the notebook and pen in the mornings, I was now going to my computer attempting to compose a writing for an audience. I fretted over the frustration of topic choice, choosing a catchy title, crafting that first lead sentence that hooks and then always trying to keep a focus and stick to some pain points.
A blog has a distinct structure that you try to attain. This is not morning pages. I was at a creative standstill. A block. Some days I just sat at my computer and pondered.
I didn’t write. I wasn’t writing.
Julie Cameron’s book Walking in This World arrived on by doorstep yesterday. As I leafed through the first pages, she reviews the “Basic Tools” for any creative soul. Morning pages were right there, on the page, as the first, most powerful tool.
I love it when you know something so deep in your core and your veer from it for some reason or another and then, all of a sudden, the Universe sends you a little reminder that you need to remember to do what you know. Gives me chills.
So, I’m back to my morning pages again. 🙂
Why are morning pages so powerful, you ask?
Well, I’ll give you 5 really big reasons.
1. There is no wrong way to do morning pages.
Morning pages are at least 3 pages of long hand writing (no computer) in a notebook that is free-flowing stream of conscious writing. They are not meant to be art or even any good. Not that they might be. They could. They are only meant for your eyes. No audience.
2. The drama gets put on the page.
Julie Cameron says, “All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in your morning pages is the stuff that stands between you and your creativity.”
It might be worry over bills. It might be anger at your husband. It might be you beating yourself up because you drank too much last night.
Whatever this is, it’s drama. If you get it on paper, it’s leaked out of you. You did something with it. So, you can move on.
If I can get my drama on the page, I have less drama in my life. My head is clearer and I can focus my thinking on the things I want to focus on.
3. Morning pages teach us to get beyond our critic in our heads.
Because there is no wrong way to do the morning pages and we can write whatever we feel and not care what it says or how it looks, we have the right to ignore the critic in our brain telling us that our writing (or anything else for that matter) is crap.
“We have a logic brain. This is our Censor that gives us our second, third and fourth thoughts whenever faced with our own original thoughts,” writes Julia. Quite often, it spits at us words like, “You can’t write that!” or “Who are you kidding?”
And we have our artist brain. This artist brain is our creative being. It has glorious thoughts of “what-if’s” and sees a beautiful leaf and thinks, “I’m going to press leaves and string a bunch of them together to make a leaf garland and hang it above my kitchen window!” Artist brain is random, free and idealistic.
Julie proclaims that “morning pages teach logic brain to stand aside and let artist brain play.” Why is this important? I don’t know about you, but my logic brain is dominant in my brain 24/7. I know I need to train it better.
4. Morning pages are a form of meditation.
If we write enough so that it feels like breathing, we begin to see new insights in our writing. We see the same issues, read over the continued whining and we realize that we need to make changes.
In my own life, the answers to my questions magically appear in my writing. Many times I have stopped in my own tracks and looked at what came out and cried. God speaks to us through our writing.
We meditate to discover who we are. To listen to the whispers from God. Writing is a form of meditation and the great power in it, more so than meditating without writing, is that the writing that ends up on page helps us to map our pathways.
It is almost impossible to write your morning pages morning after morning without feeling a divine unexpected inner guidance.
I consider it a gift.
5. Morning pages are not just for writers.
Morning pages are for everyone. If you know how to hold a pencil and scribble some letters, you can do morning pages. We all have inner work to do. Every soul is searching for something. We all are praying for answers.
Everyone can find them in our pages.
If you haven’t written for a while, go buy a cheap composition notebook and find your favorite pen. Set your alarm for a half hour to an hour early and start your pages.
Write anything. Write about how you don’t know what to write.
Just get it on the page.
10 thoughts on “5 Powerful Reasons You Need Morning Pages in Your Life”
I love doing my morning pages! I started doing them a year and a half ago, and they have helped me in so many different ways, everything from defining and pursuing goals to practicing (and improving) my writing. Plus, the daily routine has shown me that it *is* possible to write every day, and that “I have to be in the right mood to write” isn’t a valid excuse for avoiding the pen and paper (or computer screen!). 🙂
I am right there with you! It is now just habit for me to get out of bed, grab a cup o jo, and clunk upstairs to my room to write in my notebook. If I’m not on that computer, I can write in long streams of consciousness without checking emails or facebook! If I’m outta town, my notebook comes with me.
Wow, I am speechless. As I read this I knew deep in my heart that I have always thought that writing is a way of mediation and it is a tool for replenishing our souls. God does work in mysterious ways and your journey on morning pages has spoken to my heart. I am a writer, have been for a very long time. I love your blog and just when I was kind of tired of reading other things I found myself reading your post on Facebook. Thank you for sharing what morning pages can be a blessing to everyone.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for your kind comments and for taking time to visit my blog. I see so many artists struggling because of that crummy inner critic. Morning pages can honestly be a weapon against our demons, don’t you think?
Indeed so true Shari Daniels. I am sorry to reply so late. I am struggling with working with WordPress and I am so far behind. I am working on two blogs on WordPress, one for my art work and another for my photo art.
Hope you forgive me,
That’s great advice. I’ve just realised I was doing morning pages on the train to work without even knowing what they were! When I look back at the chunks of the draft novel I wrote during those early morning train journeys, I can see from your post how the tone echoes how I was feeling and what was bothering me at the time. Thanks 🙂
That’s so cool! I was doing that as well and somehow when I named what I was doing, it became more important to me. I was affirmed that this has meaning.
Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting! 🙂
I’ve started a similar routine, although I’m not freewriting. Rather than merely reading my Bible, I’m actually copying scripture down. First, I read a chapter. Then, I break it into two or three segments, depending on length, and handwrite each section down. It causes me to slow down (we touch on that, again), really understand the context in which it was written, and see what the Lord has to say to me. I’m able to remember key points much better.
Writing in long hand is a personal gesture. It’s like something is lost in translation if all a person uses is the computer. I even take the time to consider how my arm and hand move as one as my pen glides across the paper. The fingers shouldn’t be the sole life of the writing tool.
Writing is art. The art of writing. The write art.
Shari, I began reading “The Artist’s Way” last night and knew that you and “it” had come into my path when I began to cry. Thank you, My Friend, for your insight. You touched a nerve deep in my soul that’s needed to heal. Blessings & love. ♥
Terri, I’m so glad that the words from my writing and Julia Cameron were messages, or answers, you needed. God has an amazing way of connecting souls for His purpose, doesn’t He? Gives me goosebumps. Savor the book and read it again and again. And, write those morning pages. . . peace and love to you, Terri. 🙂