I’ve been using Morning Pages as a self care tool since October 2015. The idea of Morning Pages is suggested by Julia Cameron in her book/course “The Artist’s Way”. You can read more about my thoughts on the Artist’s Way and what I learnt from it here.
The idea of morning pages is to journal 3 pages of longhand stream of conscious writing each morning upon waking. Get the thoughts out before the brain even knows they are thoughts. This helps clear the mind to make way for creative ideas and self expression.
How I got started with Morning Pages
I heard about Morning Pages before I read The Artist’s Way. It was one of those ideas that kept presenting itself to me. The final push that I needed came in the form of an online retreat. Our teacher threw out the idea of Morning Pages and suggested that we adopt them to help get our thoughts and feelings out during the 4 week retreat.
Luckily, thanks to my stationery addiction, I had some unused notebooks looking all pretty and I decided to actually write in them…gasp! And now I love the fact that writing morning pages allows me to buy new notebooks!
So I started. To begin with I had to set a daily reminder to do it. By the time I’d reached the end of the retreat Morning Pages had become a habit and my first notebook was nearly filled up with words! It’s now second nature and feels weird if I miss it for some reason. Each morning I wake, grab my notebook and pen and fill my pages.
What I write about
I started writing Morning Pages just as we were reaching the decision to leave New Zealand and return to the UK and wrote through:
- the angst and the stress of reaching that decision and then putting the many hard yards in to get us to the other side of the world
- telling our family members and friends that we were returning to the UK
- as we learnt that our beloved dog, Rhett, had cancer and it was the worst kind
- the grief of attempting to come to terms with that
- all the organisation required for moving from one side of the world to another
- spirituality, happiness, unhappiness, grief, love and especially about the mundane daily annoyances of life that can sometimes weigh me down
How I’ve used Morning Pages as a self care tool
Getting it all down on those pages helped me process it all. Some things got repeated A LOT! Some things were written once and forgotten. Themes sprung up and stayed around for a while before being set aside when something else more pressing showed up.
And over time I realised how important these pages were to me. How they helped me Find the Good Everyday. I wrote through so many thoughts, feelings, random things in my head and I came out the other side with a clearer head, usually with a plan for the day and ready to get on with it.
I think Morning Pages were the therapy that got me through a pretty stressful time in my life. I’ve brought in other self nurturing tools since I started them but it started there. That retreat and the suggestion to start writing pages began a new time in my life where I put myself first. Each morning, before I did anything for anyone else, I wrote. I wanted to be a writer and I was doing that as my first action every day.
Inspiring Creativity and Ideas
Julia Cameron suggests that Morning Pages aren’t just for writers and that the writing you do is just a process to clear your mind and free up space for creative endeavours. She suggests that you don’t share the pages with anyone and you don’t read them (at least straight away) so that your inner editor doesn’t get upset and curb you from spilling your darkest secrets onto the page.
I don’t believe for a second that any of the writing in my Morning Pages is suitable for publication but I’ve had some brilliant ideas as a result of them. And when working on a writing project very close to my heart I have read them and referred to them. My Morning Pages are a capture of me, right at certain moments in my life that have been pivotal. It’s raw and messy and it takes me back to who I was right at that moment.
When I got The Artist’s Way and read the section about Morning Pages I realised that I had been doing something quite different from the suggestion. I’d been writing 3 x A5 pages daily. But Julia Cameron talks about 3 pages of letter sized paper (the equivalent in the UK is A4). She talked about 750 words being the magic number where your brain gets bored of writing mundaneness and starts coming out with cracking ideas. So I’ve upped my word count now. I aim to write 5 x A5 pages every day.
Fuelling my love of stationery
I’ve got through 14 notebooks. They are all different sizes and they cost different amounts. My favourite notebooks at the moment are £1 ones from Poundworld. The paper quality is fantastic for the price. And who doesn’t love metallic chevrons!
Morning Pages have also encouraged me to become even more obsessed with pens! I’ve now got several fountain pens and my favourite for my daily writing is my Lamy Safari with pink or green ink.
Morning Pages have improved my life greatly and I’d recommend them if you haven’t given them a go. You can see more about what Julia Cameron has to say about morning pages here.
More Journalling Ideas
If you’re looking for some prompts and ideas to develop your journalling practice have a look at Find Your Happy. It’s a journalling workbook with twenty one prompts designed to take 10 minutes or less. Each prompt will help you find more joy in your everyday. You can read about how it came together here. And buy a copy here.