Last week I got myself the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I bought it because I felt fairly unproductive and because many people recommended me that book. I thought: “Let’s spend a couple of bucks and see what the fuss is about.”
And while reading the first pages of that book, I immediately recognized a habit I had forgotten over the last couple of months: Morning Pages.
The concept of morning Pages
I would describe Morning Pages as a kind of writing therapy. It was introduced by Julia Cameron, who has helped millions of people find their creativity. Morning Pages is the habit of writing down all your thoughts that come to mind on three pages. This habit should be done and repeated every morning.
In the process of writing down these thoughts, you should not think about what you want to write. Don’t structurize your thoughts. Don’t care about bad grammar. Don’t mind the bad ideas you put down on paper. Just write for the sake of it. Nothing more.
The use of Morning Pages
When done regularly and correctly, Morning Pages can be very helpful. Julia Cameron describes morning pages as the tool to cut through the bedrock of creative rigidity. It is a tool to help you arrange, prioritize and synchronize all your thoughts. It is a tool that helps you start up your day. A tool that might pull you through the creative slump you are experiencing.
Because if you browse the internet for a living, you’ll likely get lost in a whirlwind of emotions, unrealistic goals and distractions. If you’re not producing, it means you are consuming. And this means you are stuffing your brain with excessive information, emotions and thoughts.
And with all these goals, distractions and emotions, you create function properly. Your brain is too fill to function well. And this is why I find Morning Pages so useful: It’s simple, free of distractions, and therapeutic.
The only thing Morning Pages demands from you is three pieces of paper and a pen, and the only goal is to fill up these pages with your thoughts. Nothing more than that. It’s roughly a 20-minute task. And you don’t need the internet to retrieve information. You just need to write, so no reason to be distracted.
And because Morning Pages is about writing down all your thoughts, it helps you deflate that brain that is full of the unnecessary things you are worrying about. These emotions and thoughts are like wastewater blocking your inner creativity and productivity. Just try it. Write down these thoughts on a paper. For me, it really helps. It’s like you’re talking to an imaginary therapist, and after you’re done, you get back to business.
And you know what the cool thing is about Morning Pages? You can throw them away after having finished your task. But you can also save them if you feel like you could use them for later. It’s totally up to you.
Morning Pages exemplified.
The only reason for writing this blog is to tell myself why I should do Morning Pages more often. Because somehow I’ve neglected this habit for months and yet I find myself complaining about my unproductivity.
Well Jelle, here you go: This blog, written on May 10 2021 is the byproduct of the Morning Pages session you’ve done that morning.
Because let me tell you all how efficient Morning Pages can be for gathering and refining ideas for the content you are creating.
That morning on May 10, I woke up late, I was feeling uninspired. It was 12 PM and I had nothing done so far. So I started my Morning Pages:
“Yet today I experience the slowness of starting up. I have some vague ideas for writing in mind, but they do not pop up at first instance. The fact that I am distracted by social media and other online sources prevents me from doing any sufficient work.”
Yes. These are the first sentences of my Morning Pages written on May 10. I just wrote down how I felt and what I thought. And then I kept on writing. I tried writing as quickly as possible, so that I’d prevent myself from editing anything. Just to ensure that my mind’s thoughts reach the paper in their purest form.
A couple of minutes and random thoughts later, I wrote down this sentence:
“But still, writing down random thoughts for just five minutes can be more effective than consuming content for entertainment purposes.”
Hey! That’s actually a good idea! Why don’t I save this sentence to publish it on my Twitter profile later? And I actually did that. I picked that sentence, made some edits to it, and Tweeted it a couple of hours after finishing my Morning Pages.
Some more minutes later:
“I think I referred to that earlier in one of my blogs, but if not, I should certainly put up a blog about writing for the sake of it”
And that’s how I started writing this blog. And I started writing this blog by using the same tactic I had used for my Morning Pages: just write down everything that comes to mind. I’ll review and edit them at a later stage. I’ll get rid of the bad ideas, grammar and spelling later on.
Now, creativity is like ebb and flow. So you cannot be perfectly creative each day. Sometimes you might feel like you can draft 5 blogs at the same time, and sometimes you feel like you’re worth nothing. It’s part of the process. But doing these Morning Pages certainly does help you get your thoughts straight.