What are Morning Pages?
Morning Pages are written immediately after you get up, before the routines of starting the day have had time to interfere with your thinking. In freeflow and without editing, you write three pages of A4 by hand, and see what your brain comes up with.
Where did the concept come from?
The idea of writing Morning Pages is credited to Julia Cameron who wrote the well-known creative handbook The Artist's Way. She has a useful introductory video on her website, just here.
How can they help creatively and mindfully?
Writing Morning Pages can help different people in different ways. The focus is absolutely not on the written outcome; it's all about the process of downloading your thoughts and clarifying them on the page. I might think I'm worried or annoyed about a certain thing, but as soon as I write it down I could realise that my emotional reaction is actually due to something else. Equally, I may feel that I am overwhelmed and have too much to do, but when I see the list on paper it doesn't look so intimidating.
Do I have to follow the rules strictly?
No, I don't think so.
I have a confession to make: I very rarely do my Morning Pages first thing when I get up. I'm not sure why this is, perhaps it comes down to a lack of self-discipline, but I have adapted my version of the Morning Pages into a freewriting exercise to be done at any time of day.
This may not result in 100% of the same benefits as Julia Cameron's original practice, but it is still immensely valuable to me, and certainly better than nothing. Similarly, if you only do two pages, or choose to type your writing, I think that's okay if it works well for you. As is so often the case with daily habits, there is value in finding a version that you enjoy and will therefore commit to with consistency.
Are they private, or do I have to share them?
In my version, I quite often tear them out of the book and throw them away after writing! This means I don't have to be self-conscious about what I write, because nobody (not even me) is going to read it later.
In my workshops we do a similar freewriting exercise to start every session, and I never ask people to share what they wrote. What we do sometimes talk about is how the process made us feel - especially if it's new to people. This doesn't mean divulging the content, but becoming aware of our reactions to the writing.
If you try Morning Pages at home, I'd love to hear how you get on. My email is always open for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org