This is the first post in a series about morning pages. In this post, we talk about why morning pages are so awesome. In the next, we talk about what it takes to write morning pages everyday.
For years I’ve wanted to write daily but been unable to. The proof is 5 or 6 journals filled with just a single entry.
Then, I came across Morning pages in The Artists’ Way, by Julia Cameron. The idea is to wake up and immediately write three pages about anything, simply transcribing your thoughts.
Their purpose is not to be shared with others or even reread by yourself but simply to create awareness and to free your mind of all the chatter.
They work incredibly well and have had a huge impact on me since I started consistently writing in December.
I know you have a ton of things to accomplish and I want you to accomplish them. That's why I want you to write morning pages.
But before I go into the how of getting into morning pages (next post) I want to go more deeply into the why.
Slice Through Brain Loops
Have you noticed that when something is on your mind you seem to go over it again and again and again? You think through the same dreaded scenario over and over and just can’t shake it off. On the contrary, each go around reinforces the pattern.
I call these brain loops and they’re devastating to actually accomplishing important tasks. They're energy being spent, taking you no where - like revving a car while it’s still in park.
I can’t explain it but the moment you take a thought and type it out, it simply feels wrong to loop through that thought process again. Your brain moves onto other things, either probing further into whatever that loop was about or considering more important subjects.
This is probably the most important aspect of writing morning pages. You allow your brain to cut through all those wasted cycles and make actual use of its processing power.
Identify What's Most Important - Everyday
Ordinarily, it's incredibly easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and lose sight of what's most important to you.
But writing morning pages, once you cut through all the brain loops, you’ll naturally be drawn to whatever is most important.
This means you can’t hide from the important things, ever. You may choose to do something else with your time, but it’s guaranteed that you’ll at least be face to face with what’s most important to you once a day, everyday.
Gain Perspective Over Events
The odd thing about getting your thoughts out of your mind and reflecting on them in writing is that you end up internalizing them even more. You’re able to ask yourself questions and approach situations from multiple angles. You acknowledge more of what’s going on and understand events in a deeper way.
As a consequence of this, you stay connected to things that have happened to you in a way you often don’t otherwise. This gives you more perspective in general about circumstances in life.
You remember the last time you were worried about a situation like the one you’re writing about now. You recognize the perspective you now have on the previous one and translate it to the current issue.
You may even go back and skim through the MP you wrote back then and notice the that many of your fears fizzled out and you dealt with the ones that didn’t.
Morning pages allow every experience to better you. They are a mental and emotional investment that compound over time, paying off many times over.
Keep Your Projects on Track
Free-flowing morning pages are the perfect form for this type of reflective writing. They keep me actively thinking and deciding each step of the way and allow me to handle the barrage of unexpected events that threaten any endeavor. They have become an absolute core necessity of my creative process.
Morning pages are for people that want to accomplish something.
Anchor New Habits
The nice thing about morning pages is that there’s really no barrier to get started - it's an easy habit to set.
You open up any text editor or take out a piece of paper and just write the first words that come to mind. Then you keep going.
Soon, it becomes weird to not wake up and write - it's no big deal.
The awesome thing is that you can then leverage that daily habit and use it as an anchor for new ones.
For awhile I’ve been enamoured by break dancers. It seems magical and I want to be able to do it. Whether I ever get there is yet to be seen, but I know that I am simply not flexible enough for it right now. So, every morning just as I’m about to start writing, I think “Oh, I’ll do some stretches first.”
A random habit that would have ordinarily been frustrating and difficult for me to obtain just got a lot easier.
When I first heard of morning pages, in the Artists' Way, I began thinking about who I'd become if took the time to consciously reflect on my goals, actions and thoughts everyday. The person I envisioned excited me.
I hope this article has passed that excitement onto you and that you use it to get writing - right now.
Don't just read, take action!
- Take out a piece of paper or open up a text-editor and just start writing!
- Get an account at http://750words.com and see if you like that format for morning pages - I hear many do.
- Come up with a list of reasons why *you* want to start writing morning pages. What do you hope to gain from them. Keep them private or help others by posting them in the comments.
Now read about what it takes to write morning pages everyday!
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