From entrepreneurs to artists, people swear by Morning Pages: they’ve been credited with changing lives, causing major breakthroughs, and unlocking some of the best ideas.
Coined by writer, Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, Morning Pages are an exercise designed to release creativity and boost productivity. The premise is simple: do exactly three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing every morning. Why? By scribbling away in the morning, your mind is more at ease to create and get things accomplished throughout the day.
Curious? Here are the basics.
Write Every Morning, Every Day, By Hand
The trick to Morning Pages is that you must do them first thing in the morning and you must do them every single day: even if you’re not a morning person, even if you have other tasks that need to get done. Why in the morning? Being slightly groggy from sleep means you are less likely to censor yourself. Also, you must write by hand: typing means you are too tempted to edit, delete, and rewrite sentences as you go.
Always Fill Up 3 Pages
No matter what it is going on inside your head, you must keep writing until you hit three pages. Three pages is enough to get the thoughts flowing, but as Cameron explains, more than three pages means you start to wade in “self-involvement.” Can’t think of what to write for three pages? No worries. You can literally just put I have nothing to write over and over. But even if you are stuck, chances are that as you scribble you’ll eventually arrive at something, be it a random thought or observation.
Write Whatever You Want, Anything Goes
Save for keeping a regular schedule and writing up to three pages, morning pages have no rules. They’re not about creating works of art or even creating something readable; they’re a literal brain dump. You can put down whatever comes to mind, whether it’s worries, banalities, silly observations, complaints, judgments, or notes on what happened the day before. There is absolutely no wrong thing to write, as nobody is supposed to read your Morning Pages. They are for you and you alone. No matter what comes out, just keep going. Write and don’t stop until those three pages are complete.
Initially, some people are skeptical. After all, Morning Pages are just more thing to do, and how can three pages of randomness amount to anything? But doing Morning Pages is about uncluttering the mind to make room for more creative thoughts. All the stuff that usually simmers under the surface-including any inner demons and anxieties-gets wrestled from your head and put on the page. As a result, your inner critic becomes quieter, and negative self-talk dwindles. Your focus increases, and clarity sharpens. And in the midst of all that haphazard jotting, strange and wonderful ideas sometimes do appear on the page.
Oh and one more thing. Anyone can write morning pages! They’re not just for people who identify as artists. Morning pages are about creativity, and everyone has a creative side no matter what they do for a living. So give it a shot. Save for some paper and ink, you have nothing to lose.