Of all the personal development practices that have had the most profound impact on my life, the Morning Pages take the cake.
I have done them on and off for the better part of a decade and they have given me more insight and guidance than anything else I’ve ever done.
The premise is simple.
Write 3 pages, stream-of-consciousness first thing in the morning. Don’t take your pen off the page. Write, “I don't know what to write,” over and over again until you get bored of that and find something else to write about.
Blabber on, be judgemental, curse, and otherwise allow your worst self to show up on the page. Also, be hopeful, focused, empathetic, and allow your best self to show up on the page.
Just show up. Let all of you show up.
And once you’re done with the 3 pages, put them aside and get on with your day.
Then wake up the next morning and do it all over again.
The practice of doing the Morning Pages is from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.
Cameron stipulates that the Morning Pages must be done in the morning so that you’re fresh and looking towards what’s possible. Writing at the end of the day—for this particular exercise—doesn’t work because you’re not able to change what happened in your day by that point.
So, get up 30 minutes earlier than you normally would and write.
It’s also important to do the Morning Pages every day. The benefits won’t show themselves if you do them sporadically. This is a daily practice and a weekly practice and a monthly practice and a yearly practice.
Give up scrolling through social media for 30 minutes a day and you’ll be able to fit the Morning Pages into your schedule.
If you’re not a morning person, you still have to write your pages in the morning. Write them with one eye open if you must. Let it be completely non-sensical.
Just show up and write.
I have often found that it is on days when I want to write the least that I uncover something profound. Even if it’s just that I’ve been avoiding looking directly at something that needs my attention.
I write out future conversations in my Morning Pages and this has allowed me to become a much more skillful and effective communicator.
I write about money a lot in my Morning Pages and this has allowed me to stay hopeful and focused when I’m starting something new and the money isn’t there yet.
I write about the prettiest things in my Morning Pages and this has allowed me to get them off my chest so I can dig into what’s really bothering me.
I write about future versions of myself in my Morning Pages and this has allowed me to stay connected to who it is I’m trying to become so that I can make decisions that are in alignment with my future self.
My Morning Pages are what allowed me to write this blog. I don’t get writer’s block much these days and can pretty much write on demand. (Which is not to say that what I write will be any good. Just that I’m able to get started immediately.)
Just show up and write.
Write because it’s cheap therapy. Write because you have a story to tell. Write because you’re heartbroken and want to process that pain. Write because you’re bored and want to imagine a more exciting life for yourself. Write because it’s a quiet place amidst the noise of your life. Write because it slows you down. Write because it’ll help you to feel more at peace with who you are.
Write because you can.
Because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Write 3-pages stream-of-consciousness first thing in the morning.
And, whatever life throws at you, keep writing.
(Then email me in a month and let me know what’s shifted for you.)
Now go write!