It’s hard to be creative and productive when you’re sad and disheartened. Especially after a heartbreak… But my full-time job is to write — to be creative — and I can’t afford the blank page.
So, I took a webinar for creatives last month, desperate for answers. I wanted to learn how to increase my productivity and creativity.
In this webinar, the host suggested Morning Pages. I’ve known about Morning Pages for years but have never wanted to try. Until this webinar. Now I’m hooked.
I love journalig but Morning Pages feels different. It’s useful for my creativity and productivity. The practice helps me stay grounded, be inspired, and free of distractions.
I find it easier to conquer the day after doing my morning brain dump. I have more focus throughout the day. I pull ideas from my Morning Pages to integrate them into my work. I feel more connected to myself: my wants, needs, and goals.
It’s time you try Morning Pages too.
Are you finding it difficult to sort through all the things rambling in your mind? Could you be more inspired at work? Do you find it hard to concentrate?
Morning pages are the answer to all of these questions.
The habit of Morning Pages can increase your productivity and help you find direction in your life. So let me share with you how you can also make Morning Pages work for you too.
Julia Cameron is the mother of Morning Pages. She calls it the bedrock of creativity. Now, I am here to tell you; it isn’t just for creatives. It’s also for businessmen and women, college students, or parents. Here is how Morning Pages work.
Within the first 20 minutes of waking up, your brain functions on a slower wave-length, about 10.5 waves per second. It’s called the alpha state — or ‘the gateway to the subconscious.’
This is why you want to write first thing when you wake up. Before you even roll out of bed, you fill three pages of a journal with free-flowing-subconscious material. That’s it. It’s a morning brain dump.
The morning part is essential. I even notice a difference when I use the bathroom before Morning Pages. Ideally, it’s the very first thing you do before you reach for your phone, go pee, or make coffee.
Pen and paper
What I love about this practice is how simple it is. You write three pages in a journal. I have an old-school composition notebook, but any A4 size will do––that’s the size of a piece of printer paper. It won’t be as effective if you get a smaller journal, so make sure those pages are big.
Some people write on their phones or their laptops, but I discourage this format. The act of writing triggers the brain differently. It can take many forms and expressions, where typing has one dimension. Yes, you can change the font but you can’t change the expression from one word to the next. These differences are important when it comes to subconscious work.
The most essential part of Morning Pages is the “what”. But really, the “what” can be anything.
The goal is to 1. not filter yourself and 2. to keep going. Don’t worry about making full, readable sentences. My Morning Pages are super sloppy. I stop midway through one idea and start writing about another. Just keep writing, allow your brain to carry your pen away.
I find the morning pages to be grounding and orienting my week.
Sometimes I write “today is Wednesday,” and then continue to talk about my plans for the day. I also write about what happened yesterday and my reflections.
My feelings are expressed. I digress on a specific sensation I’m experiencing or complain about something someone said to me 3 years ago. I unravel my stresses, my feelings, and my annoyances. I also notice my insecurities and write them out on the page.
I make a point of encouraging myself on the pages as well. I write something like, “I’m so challenged by this coaching client,” and explain why. I then give myself a pep-talk, “this is an exciting opportunity, and I am capable.” Writing out my concerns and being an active encourager for my life gives me confidence.
Oftentimes, I think about work and expand on ideas, concerns, or goals. I can generate many ideas during the Morning Pages because I’m not filtering myself, instead just allowing the creative mind to wander and play.
I have noticed the effects of my Morning Pages in every area of my life. I’ve noticed a deep shift in my days: I am calmer, more focused, and productive.
While the Morning Pages practice is simple, there are ways to set yourself up so that it will be easy for you to start and continue this habit.
Ok, arguably, the worst thing about Morning Pages is setting your alarm about 30 minutes earlier every day. If you already have a morning routine, you’ll have to consider those as well, and frankly, Morning Pages need to be the first thing you do every day.
Set up for success
Keep your journal and pen within arm’s reach every morning. You also are going to need light to write. A window can do the trick, but you might need a lamp or get up to open the curtains.
Sharing a bed
Waking up with someone in bed makes Morning Pages a bit tricker. You might have to do some extra planning, such as getting a lamp — if you don’t already have one — or moving to the coach for the exercise (not ideal). Some people do accompany their Morning Pages with coffee, so don’t stress too much about having to take a few extra steps to make them work for you.
Don’t stop writing
Here is a mistake I made early on: pausing to think about what I was going to write. It isn’t a novel or even a journal. It’s a brain dump, meaning anything goes. Even if your first few sentences are “I’m tired, it’s early, and nothing is on my mind,” that’s ok. Things will come. The idea is to clean out the corners of the subconscious, so keeping the flow is a good trick to allow things to come forward.
The third page
The third page can be challenging. However, many people notice bigger insights on the third page. So follow the mantra, ‘don’t stop writing,’ and push yourself. There is no time limit for Morning Pages. It will be natural for the pages to come easier on some days and more difficult on the next, this is the practice.
Keep them to yourself
It’s best if you keep your Morning Pages to yourself; they are not for sharing. It will help you create trust with the practice. I don’t even re-read my pages, and I don’t share them with others. Keeping those pages as super-private will allow you to say whatever genuinely comes to mind. Don’t judge or take the pages too seriously.
Morning Pages is such a simple practice that I challenge everyone to try it out for 10 days and see the shifts. If you want to get clarity, increase productivity and connect deeper with yourself, Morning Pages is for you.
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