Your daily morning routine is probably the most important part of your day because it helps to set the tone for and helps you to organize your thoughts and todo list. One popular daily habit that has helped many people improve their morning routines is morning pages. Also known as stream of consciousness writing, morning pages are a form of daily journaling that you do right after you wake up.
Morning pages became popular through the work of Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.
“We should write because it is human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It makes it directly and specifically our own. We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance.
We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in.
We should write, above all, because we are writers, whether we call ourselves that or not.”
Although daily journaling in general is good for you, morning pages are especially beneficial, and there’s a reason so many successful people swear by a daily writing routine.
What Are Morning Pages?
Morning pages are simple enough to implement, and there are three basic requirements you should keep in mind.
- You must do your morning pages immediately upon waking up (though some might want to wait until after coffee and yoga!)
- You should write until you’ve completed three pages in your notebook, which is about 750 words.
- Morning pages must be handwritten.
This is your journal, for your eyes only. Write about whatever comes to your mind. You might find that initially you’re struggling with random thoughts or observations but if you keep at it, you’ll come up with some real gems later on. Just stay patient and committed, it will happen for you
Many people devote about a half hour to writing their morning pages though it may go faster for you.
Do you have to follow the above requirements exactly? While morning pages can be whatever you want them to be, there are some reasons for these A requirements.
It’s best to do your morning pages right away when you wake up because when it’s that early, your mind will be still be waking up and you’ll be able to write down more honest thoughts from the inner depths of your mind.
It does take about three pages to produce in-depth writing. Otherwise, you’ll only be scratching the surface with your journaling.
While handwriting is best for morning pages (many feel that putting pen or pencil to paper creates a stronger connection), computers and apps do have their place. As far as the requirement about handwriting your morning pages, there are a few reasons for this. Many people feel that the act of putting pen or pencil to paper results in a stronger connection between what themselves and what they’re writing. And if you’re writing on a computer, it’s easy to get sidetracked with notifications and social media. If typing is your preference, check out a site like 750words to help you stay consistent with your morning pages routine.
Finally, remember that morning pages are meant to be private.This makes it easier to write authentically because you’re not concerned about what people might think about you’ve written.
Mental Health Benefits of Morning Pages
Morning pages are a great way to get into a daily habit of journaling. While there are many kinds of journaling, journaling first thing in morning is often great for stream of consciousness, bullet journaling, and planning out your day with greater clarity. Here’s a few more benefits of morning pages to consider:
Journaling is Cheaper Than Therapy
Since you’re the only one who sees your morning pages, this is the perfect opportunity for you to privately write about your thoughts and feelings. Many of us are so busy that our thoughts and feelings get buried. Taking a few minutes to focus on how you feel and what’s really bothering you can make all the difference in your outlook. Journaling can also make a difference in your relationships. It can help you to better understand where your partner is coming from and show you how you can communicate better in the future.
Journaling can also help you to break down something that stressed you out the previous day, you may discover why it bothered you and what steps you can take to solve the problem.
Complete Freedom of Expression
Your morning pages are your own private world, and you can write and do whatever you want with them. While writing down your thoughts and feelings is one of the most common choices, you can also use your morning pages to create your vision and goals for the next few weeks and months, or take a more long-term view of what you want to accomplish in life. You can even use your morning pages to write your own short stories.
Journaling Stimulates Creativity
Many of us lose touch with our creative side as adults. It’s still there, we just have to put in the work to develop that creativity. To get your creative juices flowing again, the two most important factors are devoting time to it and having the right setup. Morning pages can help you become a more creative person. This is because instead of waiting for inspiration to strike you, morning pages require you to make a daily commitment to put in the work.
The other consideration is your setup. When you’re typing your ideas into a computer program, there’s may be a disconnect between you and what you’re creating, and you can quickly edit anything you don’t like before you’ve even thought it through. Using a pen and paper is a completely different process. The ideas flow much better this way, especially when you’re just waking up.
Finally, stimulating creativity isn’t just for artists. If you’re an entrepreneur, your morning pages could be where you come up with great new business ideas. If you’re a busy mom, setting aside some intentional time for morning pages can help the day go smoother.
Morning Pages Can Help to Clear Your Head
Morning pages are great therapy for reducing anxiety and helping you be in the present moment. They allow you to clear all those nagging little thoughts and stressors from your mind so that they aren’t weighing you down the rest of the day. Many of us know how overwhelming it is to have an ongoing monkey mind as we attempt to focus on what needs to be accomplished on a given day. By putting those thoughts to paper in the morning, you set yourself up for a more focused and productive day.
Morning Pages Help You Value Your Time More
Even though you’re setting apart 30 minutes to write morning pages into your room, it will pay off throughout the day as you make better use of your time. You’ll know what your priorities are and be less apt to get distracted. And you’ll have a conscious desire to make the most of each and every moment.
Once you see how much those 30 minutes of morning writing can improve your life, you’ll want to use the rest of your time just as wisely. That means less procrastination and killing time on mindless tasks. You’ll move through life far more efficiently.
Simple Ideas for Your Morning Pages
Even though there are some recommendations on how you approach your morning pages, there really is no right or wrong way to do them. This is your personal mental playground. However, if you’re unsure how to start writing your morning pages, here are some ideas that could help.
Write What’s On Your Mind
This is probably the popular choice for morning pages, as it’s great for clearing your head and ridding yourself of stress. You’re get to be your own therapist here by analyzing how you’re feeling about a situation and why you’re feeling that way. The important thing to remember here is to keep asking yourself “why” as you write about how you feel. The first paragraph or two may just skim the surface, but as you continue to write you’ll make more progress as you break down your thoughts further.
For example, one morning you wake up feeling worried. As you write, you can pinpoint exactly what’s causing that worry and how you’re going to handle it. If you hadn’t done your morning pages, you may have spent your whole day stressed out.
Create a Plan of Attack for the Day
Your morning pages are the perfect place to write what you’re going to do that day, from the most mundane tasks to your big picture goals. By writing all these in the morning, you’re less likely to forget anything that you wanted to get to. One idea is to visualize everything as you go, and remember to keep positive mindset about it.
For example, instead of just writing that you have to get some cooking today, write down all the wonderful meals that you’re going to create and how much time this will save you in the kitchen over the next few days. Many times it takes is belief that things will go well, and positive results will follow.
Morning Pages for Brainstorming
If you’re trying to get those dormant creative juices flowing, you can use your morning pages to brainstorm new ideas. You may find that ideas just flow as you’re writing about other things. You could be writing about a recent annoyance, which then gives you an idea for a new way to deal with it.
You might also find it helpful to dedicate entire mornings of journaling to brainstorming, though. Your morning pages give you a place to work through ideas, even ideas that may seem silly at first. Remember that not every idea is going to be brilliant, but you should still give them all a chance.
Combining Different Ideas in Your Journal
As you decide how you’re going to approach your morning pages, consider combining different journal ideas and giving them each a portion of your writing. For example, you might spend your first page and a half on getting your thoughts down and clearing your head, and then use the next page and a half on what you’re going to do that day or week.
Or, you can just jump in and see where your writing takes you. It’s fine to start your morning pages talking about how tired you are and how much you’d rather be sleeping. The stream-of-consciousness approach tends to work very well for morning pages, and you may be surprised with what you come up with.
How to Make Morning Pages a Lasting Habit
To be successful with writing morning pages, you need to turn it into a daily habit. Start by carving out 30 minutes in your morning routine, even if that means waking up earlier. If you fly by the seat of your pants, the odds are that start skipping them because you don’t have the time.
Make daily commitment to writing your morning pages for 30 days in a row. It will probably take time to see the results of this new morning routine. You’re selling yourself short if you stop after five days because you haven’t noticed a difference. When you set 30 days as your first goal, it gives you enough time to see the results in action and make morning pages a habit.
Morning pages are a time tested way to reduce stress, boost creativity and problem solve any situation. All it takes is a notebook, a pen or pencil, and about 30 minutes of your time to make yourself happier and healthier.