Thursday, November 14, 2019
Morning Pages
Self-Care

Morning Pages – The self-care exercise

Why I started to write Morning Pages

I started to write morning pages in April this year. It wasn’t a thought-out decision in search of a new direction or anything. My little one started to wake up at 5 in the morning along with me preventing me from practicing yoga. The moment he sees me in a yoga pose he either climbs on top of me or crawls under me bringing the peaceful balancing act to a complete stop.

So that day when I couldn’t practice yoga, I decided to write morning pages instead. After all, I’d been reading about this magical tool in the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I didn’t plan on writing that early as my morning time was already full, with yoga practice and studying for a test. Plus, I was already writing on journal every day that I didn’t feel the need to suffocate my morning time with too many activities.

What is morning pages

Morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness. It can also be called brain drain as that is what you are supposed to be achieving through this process. Putting word after word whatever that occurs in your head at that moment without dwelling much on it. The idea is to get the words floating in your head on to the paper freely. It isn’t meant to be a work of art. No editing. No correcting spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Write freely just as the thoughts pop in your mind.

It doesn’t matter if your morning pages are filled with negative thoughts. Get it out from your head to the paper so that you don’t have to carry it around. Julia Cameron recommends not going back to read what you wrote at least for a couple of weeks. You are free to tear the papers after you are done with writing. The choice is yours.

It is for your eyes only. That’s why Cameron says that there is no wrong way to do morning pages. If you feel that you don’t have anything to write, then fill your three pages with “I don’t know what to write”.

But I’m not an artist

Morning pages is not an exercise just for artists or creative people if that’s what stops you from pursuing this tool. In her book, Julia Cameron says that this tool can be used by anyone be it an artist or not, to take advantage of its benefits.

Benefits of writing morning pages

The main benefit of writing morning pages daily is to let that creativity residing within you to flow freely. As you are writing without the fear of judgment it won’t be long before you rekindle with your creative pursuit, whatever that is.

The benefits of morning pages include:

  • Declutter your mind
  • Get in touch with your creativity
  • Deal with your fears head-on
  • Push you to take that first step
  • Make you calm

What I write for morning pages

Mostly I started with how I wanted to spend the day. I wrote my to-do list of the day. I wrote about how I was feeling at that moment. If something bothered me heavily, it was easy to fill the pages with my concerns. Since writing down negative thoughts was okay in morning pages I always signed off with a few positive affirmations to hold on to through the day.

Now Cameron intended to write morning pages the old fashioned way – with a pen on a notebook. But since I had to stay on the bed for the sake of my kid and couldn’t turn the lights on for the sake of my kid, I resorted to using my phone. I typed in the google docs app on my phone. Later in the day, I wrote in my journal as usual, but not three pages. There were also days when I was able to get out of the bed and write in the journal first thing in the day without waking up the little one. When I could, I did that. When I couldn’t, I did what I could.

I wrote without being dubious that if I would benefit the benefits because of the adjustments I was making. If I had to trust the process without questioning it, then I had to accept that my circumstance wouldn’t be exactly the same as what Julia Cameron had when she developed this technique.

How writing morning pages helped me

It wasn’t easy to just write page after page when it seemed to be meaningless rants at first. I felt that I was wasting my precious early morning time to this senseless writing activity. But since I was tied to the bed by my little one’s watchful eyes, I committed myself to practice this activity. A couple of days into the habit, I realized that even though the words that I was typing were mostly meaningless and repetitive and not even remotely close to profound, it was helping me clear my mind of the worries and nags that followed me around.

It made me accept my circumstance as it was and do my best to adapt to the situation.

This daily writing ritual developed a habit of ‘writing no matter what’ in me.

I realized that this activity forced me to slow down and deal with the negative thoughts that were dissuading me from taking upon anything that I wanted to pursue.

I felt that morning pages gave me an assurance as though I have someone something to rely on as I was being honest while filling these pages with my rants. Someone who never judges you for the weird thoughts that encroach the insides of my mind.

As days passed by I feel more sorted from the inside and I was able to talk me out from the fear of failure at least a bit.

The practice of writing morning pages felt much like meditation to me and the effect in fact was akin to a meditation practice, restless at the beginning, gently settling down raking through my muddled thoughts, to a clearer mind.

It is a form of self-care as far as I am concerned, as morning pages are all about you and yourself. Giving that priority to myself the first thing in the morning is surely having a positive effect on me.

Your turn

Yes, it is your turn now. If you think that the whole process of morning pages sounds lame, then I will tell you, it is lame. But it is that lame activity when done consistently will help you clear your mind and figure out what exactly was lame. Now don’t get me wrong, you are not going to reap the benefit just by doing it for a couple of days halfheartedly. So if you are starting with your morning pages then be prepared, it is a form of meditation where you are allowed to weed through your thoughts, silly or otherwise, and gently put them down, word after word.

Pinnable Image

Linking with #MondayMusings at EverydayGyaan by Corinne.

#MondayMusings
Monday Musings
Vinitha
<p>I am an ex-Software engineer turned into a SAHM with a love for words. I secretly wish to be called as a writer. You can read my affair with words at Void Thoughts(http://thevoidthoughts.com) and Reflections..(https://www.vinithadileep.com)</p>

27 thoughts on “Morning Pages – The self-care exercise

  1. First of all, I loved the way you expressed your thoughts, Vini! Such clarity, maturity, and a relatable feel. Like you are sitting there and talking to me and I am nodding my head at every sentence!
    A few years ago, a dear friend gifted me the book and that’s when I began doing the morning pages. Those days, there was a lot of stress I had to deal with every day, and the morning pages helped me quite a lot in clearing my mind. It was more like I was sharing my feelings with a close friend. I stopped doing the morning pages some time back, but going by what you said, I think I ought to begin again. Maybe I will do an Afternoon Pages…

    I am repeating my words, but seriously, Vini, you write so beautifully! <3

    1. You are so kind, my dear. You made me very happy with this comment. <3
      Morning pages or afternoon pages or evening pages – any time we can find some time just for ourselves is good. There are mornings when I can’t do any of my routines, then I postpone it for a later time. Adjusting to our circumstances is important, isn’t it? Journaling leads to a happier self. 🙂

  2. And, thanks to your post, I found a wonderful topic to write on!
    I did note down this topic in my diary sometime back and had planned on doing a post but forgot about it all.
    So, thanks a ton for this post, Vini! <3

  3. Beautifully written and I loved how systematically you explained everything on a topic that is on everyone’s lips these days but, many, like me, are clueless as to what to expect from it and how to go about it. FYI, I’ve just started writing my morning page (just one page only!) since two days back and I’m loving it. Since it is short, I practice brevity in putting my thoughts down and it feels so very therapeutic! All thanks to you and the conversation we had last time, remember?
    Thank you for this awesome post, Vinitha.

    1. I am glad you decided to give it a try, Esha. I hope you are continuing with it. Since I type in my phone in the morning, I make it a point to write later in the journal. I find that while typing in the phone gives me a good start to the day, writing in my journal is something I enjoy tremendously. Whatever works for each of us will do, I believe. This is about giving us that time to get everything that’s lingering in the mind holding us back than about the perfect time and routine.
      Will catch up soon, Esha. 🙂

    1. It is a wonderful way to start the day for people like me who has a tendency to think too much. 🙂 As I love journaling this is the perfect self care routine for me. 🙂
      Give it a try and tell me your experience, Rachna.

  4. I loved how you explained more about morning pages. I just read another post on Shilpa’s blog as well. It gave me better insight into nothing pages and how it helps us to clear out our thoughts.

  5. Okay, you know I began writing morning pages a few weeks ago. It helped me druing the days I wrote them. For the first 5 days, the mind just poured and poured and the 3 pages ot filled easily. Thereafter, did my mind quieten or what as I had nothing to write after half a page. So, I made the to do list for the day with specifying time which ofcourse I didn’t follow much. I have not written them in the last 1 week.
    Yesterday, I was telling my mother about the concept of morning pages and asked her to try doing it and see the difference. Her issue is she feels herself too old to hold a pen to write. She told me I am lucky to have a group of friends who do and suggest things for each other’s upliftment which wasn’t the case with her.

    1. You know Anamika, some days when I don’t have anything in my mind to write, but if I have the time to write, I will just write “write” or something which makes no sense, as in some random words that I hear or pop in my mind with no proper sentences. It sounds ridiculous, but it gives me a sense of satisfaction. And of course, some days I ramble on for more than three pages. I think the act of sitting an writing and the acknowledgement that this is just for me, has something to do with the way I feel about the whole process. There is no other expectation out of these pages. Somehow it works in clearing my cluttered mind and is also making me happy. I am glad that you are giving it a try, Anamika.
      Yes, you are lucky to have me as your friend. 🙂 😀

  6. Yes, it is my turn now to write morning pages and fell the magic. Vinitha, this is a gorgeous thing to do early in the morning. You are right that as soon as we get up, negative thoughts start crossing your brain. But when you write on your phone, doesn’t your kid peep into the mobile light? I had this problem so I didn’t try this when my kids were small.

    1. My son is still asleep in the morning, but he is a light sleeper and detects my absence in the bed. That’s why I use the phone. I have blue light filter on for 24/7 and keep the brightness level at the minimum. Whenever he stirs or turns, I just lock the phone and pretend to sleep. It is not ideal, but works for me. I tried to write in my journal on the bed, but it was difficult to keep the noises made by the rustling of the paper, it wasn’t comfortable for me to write. I am hoping that in a year or two he will learn to sleep without me and I will regain my freedom. 🙂
      Do try it out and share your experience, Geethica.

  7. I first came to know about Morning Pages through Corinne. She sent a copy of The Artist Way to me a few years ago but apart from skimming through some chapters, I havent done anything about it. Your experience and insights have inspired me and I am surely going to start this amazing self care exercise. Thanks for the nudge, Vinitha!

  8. My therapist had asked me to write morning pages. I used to write them at length and then tear them. It helped me get rid of many negative things. I stopped writing them, but after reading your post, I feel that maybe I should start writing again. Lovely heartfelt and honest post Vinitha.

  9. Morning pages! Such a delightfully interesting concept. I will give this a try for sure. Could help calm my mind down looks like 🙂

  10. Glad to know that this new habit of writing morning pages helped you. Iam not sure if I get that much time in the morning these days but atleast I want to breath peacefully multiple times after waking up, refresh my mind before starting my day. Have to see if this helps.

  11. Love the concept of Morning pages. Explained so succinctly and beautifully by you, Vinitha. Thank you so much. Have been meaning to read this post of yours for the last few days, and finally I land up here.
    This seems to be the perfect way for me to heal, as I am on a healing break currently.

    Truck loads of gratitude and good wishes. And this is such a fantastic post that I’m book marking it. Thank you once again. <3

  12. I think it’s awesome you’ve been doing the morning pages and I like how you have listed the benefits of it for you. I want to do it but yeah, my mornings are busy and by night time I will admit I have no energy. Maybe I should start my work day with ‘morning pages’. Something for me to think about because I really would like to do some free writing.

  13. This was an eye-opener for me, Vinitha. I’ve never heard of this system before. Rather unique and I sense it will be quite effective as well. You’ve conveyed the idea, process and benefits of this process very succintly and unbiasedly as well. I think it is a really simple and effective method to clear out the mind and let fresh thoughts and words flow. Definitely hope to try this…soon. Thanks for creating this lovely post!

  14. I have heard about Morning Pages from a few friend in the Daily Challenge group I was a part of before 4-5 years. I used to write something down all through the day when I felt the need to back then. I stopped after a while because things got better. Now that I am going through a struggling phase again because I am holding back a lot again, I was advised by Anamika to write Morning pages. It was like a reminder for me. I started at the beginning of the month and I am still working on it, this time I am determined to focus on my healing so I know I will write this for a while now. She suggested I visit your blog, Shilpa’s for more information on this. I am happy to visit you guys and know more about it. I write randomly because I am still trying to stick to my to-do list! 🙂

    You’ve written this in a beautiful way Vinitha. I like it and it gives me a feel that I am doing something right every morning. Thanks.

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