Morning Pages – can they really make a difference
A while ago, I heard about Morning Pages but to be honest, they just seemed like a task I could do without. They appeared to be a different way of journalling and although I usually jump on anything to help me with my own growth, I decided to pass on this. I am working hard on saying no and that includes saying no to some self development ideas.
However, as much as I tried to ignore them, Morning Pages kept appearing wherever I turned. Pinterest. Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr and even Instagram. Everyone seemed to be getting in on the act and I started to read about how people were swearing this practice changed their life.
What are Morning Pages?
Julia Cameron introduced the concept in her book – The Artists Way: Morning Page Journal. It’s quite simple. Unlike journalling, there are a few rules.
- You have to write 3 pages – no more, no less.
- You have to write in long hand, no keyboards
- You have to do it first thing in the morning.
To be honest, the first thing in the morning was one of the reasons I kept ignoring any pull to do this. I am a mum of three; mornings are chaos. Trying to
drag encourage three children to get out of bed, eat a healthy breakfast, get washed, brush their teeth, get dressed and ensure everything they need is in their school bag is not a small challenge. As they all have home to school transport and this starts at 7.30am, I didn’t want to add another challenge of writing three pages to the list. I have learned to choose my battles!
However, the more I read about Morning Pages, the more I wanted to give it a go. Like most mums, my brain is always working. As I serve up a smoothie to the kids, I am thinking of what we will be having for dinner. As I search for a missing school shoe, I am thinking of how we need to sort out the storage in the boys’ bedroom. As I drink my now cold cup of coffee, I am thinking of the fact that I need to sort my diet out.
Starting Morning Pages
As the Easter holidays were arriving, I thought I would give it a shot. I would be able to try it as my mornings would be less chaotic. I also thought it gave me two weeks to see if they made a difference at all.
The first day was awkward to say the least. It felt quite pretentious to sit in bed with a notebook and fountain pen to write three pages with no structure. It felt quite self centred.
However, a few days in, I started to notice the language I was using. For example, I was talking about things I needed to do – I NEED to lose weight, I NEED to improve my writing, etc. Now one thing I know about me, is my needs always seem to come bottom of the list. I can ignore a Need. I started to write about why I needed to, what was in it for me? What would happen if I didnt. Then the next day I consciously changed Need to Want. I want to lose weight, I want to improve my writing, I want to have a hair cut that I like.
What a difference. Within a few days I was feeling more motivated, more productive. I was also feeling much more creative, I was having ideas for posts and projects, ideas which I should have had a long time ago because they were so obvious.
One of the big bonuses for me was that the holidays seemed to be much less stressful than normal. Usually a two week break from routine brings out the anxious me, the stressed me. The children battle with the changes too so holidays are usually fun for a short time and then stressful chaos. This time though, I was amazed at the end of the break to feel refreshed and happy despite a few “hiccups” (my polite way of saying total bedlam), I was still feeling as if the break had been a success.
Don’t get me wrong, I was as happy as every other parent when I waved my gorgeous crew off to school on Monday but I hadn’t spent the last week on a countdown to the day they went back.
I hadn’t realised how productive I had been until my friend popped in for our Monday morning coffee catch up. As I started chatting about what we had done over the holidays, I realised that I had achieved more in the last two weeks than I had in the two months and this was with the kids at home. Generally, the kids being home is my excuse for things not getting done.
Writing my Morning Pages has helped me to clear my brain of the emotional stuff. I have already written about how a brain dump in my Bullet Journal has already helped with the clearance of practical stuff.
Writing each day about anything which pops into my mind has made me see more clearly what issues are floating around in my head, often issues I hadn’t even thought were there. Sometimes we have things playing about it on our head but they are fleeting thoughts so we don’t give them much attention. Morning Pages seem to help to bring these to the fore so they can be dealt with.
So now the kids are back, I am still continuing the practice. I am however, not attempting to wake up any earlier (my day starts early enough – 4.45am – thanks to my eldest) but as soon as the last child is collected, I grab a coffee and my book and start writing.
I challenge you to give it a go and would love to hear how it works for you.