Is it Time to Add Morning Pages to Your Morning Routine?

Is it Time to Add Morning Pages to Your Morning Routine?

Clear Your Mind And Reduce Stress With This Daily Practice
morning pages

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Feb 19 2024 | 5 min read

The tl;dr: Morning pages is a daily practice where you write stream-of-consciousness for however long it takes you to get through three pages. You do it — yep, you guessed it each morning as part of your daily routine. Learn about how this simple exercise can help focus you, clear your mind, and reduce stress.

I’ve always been someone who journals. Since childhood, I’ve stashed away notebooks where I’d jot down all my feelings, big and small. But my writing never rose to the ranks of a daily routine. I could go weeks writing every single day then stop cold turkey for a month. Or six.

Write. Stop. Rinse. Repeat.

But at the end of last year, I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and finally committed to a daily practice of writing, called Morning Pages. And while suggesting that you journal feels a bit hippie dippie (or ::gasp:: feminine-coded in a “Dear Diary…” sort of way), encouraging you to adopt a morning writing practice seems more akin to urging you to cold plunge, or eat more protein.

A (gender-neutral) life hack Tim Ferriss might devote a podcast episode to.

So, what Are Morning Pages?

At the heart of The Artist’s Way lies Cameron’s concept of Morning Pages – three handwritten pages of stream-of-consciousness writing that you’re meant to complete first thing in the morning.

The practice serves as a daily detox for your brain, allowing you to slough off the mental sediment that builds up in your mind overnight like the bacteria on your tongue that causes morning breath.

In this way, Morning Pages is sort of like brushing your teeth, but for your brain.

The goal? De-gunk your mind and embark on the day with newfound clarity.

How To Do Morning Pages

The first rule of Morning Pages? There’s no wrong way to do Morning Pages.

The only “rule” in The Artist’s Way is the number of pages you must write each morning. Three, written longhand.

So, what size journal or notebook should you buy? That’s up to you. The journal that accompanies the book is huge. Which, I’ll admit, was a beast at first. Writing three big pages can feel intimidating.

But the nice thing is you’re encouraged to simply brain dump in these pages. Not to write eloquently. Or with any purpose. But just to barf out your thoughts and feelings before you get on your day.

And more often than not, when I first sit down to write, it’s more “dump” than “brain.” Then, inevitably, the juices start flowing, and I begin to write down to do’s, or big picture plans, and by the time I’m done I am raring to take on the day. 

So, write whatever comes to mind. Really. As the ink (and always use ink! Commit to your thoughts and feelings!) flows across the page, you’ll be surprised at what hits the page. Nagging concerns, dormant dreams, and life ponder-y questions that may otherwise go unaddressed once your day gets going.

The nice part, too, is that when I finished with that journal, I just went to Target and — life hack alert — bought a smaller notebook. So now, writing three pages feels like a total breeze because I have less lines to fill.

Benefits Of Morning Pages

Creative thinking

Writing each morning can spark creative problem-solving you’ve otherwise avoided. Don’t know what to do about a cranky co-worker? Write about it. Can’t figure out where you want to go on vacation? List all your options in your Morning Pages and see what destination most excites you.

For those with creative inclinations, the daily writing ritual also serves as a way to get consistent reps in. If you’re burnt out and think your imagination’s well is dry, writing longhand each morning with no agenda can kick start your inspiration.

Mindfulness

In an era dominated by screens and digital notifications, the physical act of writing becomes a personal retreat. A moving meditation. Especially when you close your laptop, stow your phone out of view, and hurl your Apple watch across the room before you do it.

Because the tactile connection of writing really can’t be beat. I love tapping out a text message while listening to a podcast with the TV on in the background as much as the next phone-addicted millennial, but when I write? All I’m doing is writing.

Tips For Getting Started With Morning Pages

Set A Designated Time And Place

Hello, habit stacking! Whatever you’re already doing in the morning, add Morning Pages to it and commit. Find a nook, get a cup of tea. Whatever you need to make the habit of writing more enjoyable, means you’re more likely to do it.

Use Pen And Paper

This is not the time to open up a Word doc and start pecking away at your keyboard.

Get a journal or notebook you like, and splurge on a handful of your favorite pens. Morning Pages is about disconnecting before you plug into your day.

Don’t Worry About Grammar Or Spelling

If writing is a new habit for you, try to be kind to yourself. The only negatives are if you don’t do it. You could think of your Morning Pages as journal entries, or even a little personal blog you write only for yourself.

Write Without Judgment Or Editing

Embrace the brain dump! Sometimes to make it to the end of the three pages, I find myself writing affirmations I learned in this book, which is totally woo woo, but also works. Hell, you could write out your grocery list. Just keep writing.

Trust The Process And Be Consistent

Once you’ve written your three pages, you’re done. No need to review what you’re written, or plan your pages tomorrow. You’ve dumped your worries, manifested your goals, and captured inspiration that will serve you in your day.

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