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As I thought about launching this public creative journey last week, I tried to think about things I could do every day that would keep me connected to and focused on this goal of mine to be more creative and to help you all hopefully be more creative, too.
The first thing I thought about was morning pages. The second was daily inspirational photos, which I’ll tell you more about later or this post would go on forever.
Three Pages in the Morning
If you’ve never heard of morning pages, they’re a concept made popular by writer and creativity guru Julia Cameron. She first wrote about the pages in her book The Artist’s Way, a classic in the creativity genre.
Morning pages are simply three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing done by hand every day, preferably in the morning. It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself a writer or if you don’t know what you’ll say for three pages every day (in fact, it may be better if you don’t consider yourself a writer because you won’t overthink it).
Morning pages are a way to get things out of your head. They can help you see patterns and solve problems, give you ideas and give you a place to be honest and vent when you need to. Morning pages are essential for moms!
You can see Julia talk about them on her website; I love the statement that the pages are “meeting your shadow and taking it out for a cup of coffee.” And that they’re not supposed to be artful; they are supposed to be a place for the whining, complaining, dark thoughts that we don’t otherwise get to express.
I haven’t done morning pages with any consistency for years, but there have been periods of my life when I did them regularly. I often pick them up again when I’m hungry for change or have something big going on, so now is a good time.
Julia says the pages are non-negotiable; you have to do them every day. I try to give myself some slack with them, allowing myself to miss a day here and there or do them at night if I have to. Even if you can’t sit down and do all three pages at once, or you can’t do them in the morning, I think you’ll still see benefits from doing them, and just from the act of taking time to do something that’s important to you.
It’s a small step that means a lot more than it might seem on the surface.
All you need to do morning pages is a notebook and pen. It’s important to do your pages on paper rather than on your computer because it causes you to slow down and think a little more and it’s just a more tactile, real experience to set your words down on paper rather than on a screen.
There’s no right way or wrong way to do it. The power is in beginning and making it a consistent habit.
I’m already seeing a benefit from doing the pages, just four days in. This morning I was writing about how we had such a nice morning but I was starting to feel the weight of my to-do list and had almost forgotten to do my pages because my mind was rushing ahead even as I was driving home from taking the Bit to school.
I reminded myself that my to-do list is an illusion of my own making; no one is telling me what to do from day to day (and what an amazing luxury that is!). Just telling myself that allowed me to calm down and take my day as it comes. I’ve still gotten a lot done, but I haven’t felt as frenetic about it, which is awesome.
Do you do morning pages? If you do, I’d love to have you chime in with some of what they’ve meant in your life.
If you don’t do them, I’d love it if you gave them a try with me. Even if you can’t commit to every day, doing this a few times a week will give you a little calm, creative place that you’ll want to make more time for.
And if you do try it out, let me know how it goes for you.