How The Morning Pages changed my life

I’ve never been a big journaler. Yes, I’ve bought my fair share of notebooks over the years and left them sitting there because they were too lovely to write in! Then, for the less fancy notebooks, I’d mainly use them for work, lists and brain dumps. But last year, I started doing the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. My friend Catherine did it a year or two ago, and she inspired me to buy the book. But at that time, I just wasn’t in the right head space for it. Then, last July, I decided to give The Artist’s Way a go, and while I didn’t do all of the tasks in the book, one thing that I was consistent with was the morning pages.

What are the morning pages?

The idea behind the morning pages is to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing, so whatever comes into your head, you write it down. And as the name suggests, you do them in the morning before you get stuck into your day.

When I first started, I didn’t know where or how to begin, so I’d start with something like “I’m excited for my coffee this morning”, followed by my to-do list for the day. But I wanted to ensure it wasn’t a Dear Diary type of thing. But when it comes to the morning pages, there are no rules. It’s up to you what to put down on paper.

How do the morning pages help me?

I mainly use the morning pages to help me think things out. Because I work for myself and primarily by myself, I’m in my own head a lot. I tend to overthink things or have them swimming around my head constantly, leaving me mentally drained. I always have at least 5 thoughts running in my head at once, and writing them out helps me to process them one by one. It helps me to focus on one thing at a time, and because they’re written down, I don’t worry about forgetting anything because I know I can go back and read over them. Except I don’t. I’ve never looked over any old pages I’ve written before, but the option is there if I do.

I’ve had many epiphanies with the morning pages, but it isn’t like that every morning. I’d be exhausted if I was diving that deep every day! It’s helped me make work decisions by realising what I wanted to focus on, what I needed to let go of and what I’m capable of. I’ve been able to manage my anxiety better by getting it out of my head, even for a while.

Sometimes, I’d ask myself a question, and I’d write the question out. As the pen moved across the paper, writing the question to myself, a lot of times, I knew that I already knew the answer, and it just flowed out of me. Sometimes, however, I don’t get the answer so quickly, but I do get there in the end.

Be honest

The Morning Pages work for me because I’m honest with it. Sometimes, I’ll write, “I don’t know why I feel like this”, and as I’m writing, I think “, I 100% do know why I feel like this”, and because it’s me who’s writing it, I’m not judging myself. I know I’m trying to get to the heart of a problem I want to solve.

There’s something powerful about writing out your questions and thoughts rather than just thinking about them. Like many of you, I’m sure, I always have at least 5 different thoughts racing around my head at any one time, and it can be hard for me to think through the problems or issues at hand. But by writing them down, I’m more clear-headed and can process them better. I don’t get distracted with the following thought until I get this one out.

What do you need?

You don’t need a fancy notebook or a fancy pen to start your morning pages or journalling session. You just need a pen and paper and the trust in yourself that you’re going to give it a try and see how it works out.

On days when I’m feeling positive, my morning pages reflect that, and the words just flow out of me. If I’m feeling low, it’s written all over my notebook’s pages. Literally. But more often than not, getting my thoughts out of my head and onto that page clears my head and lightens it before I get stuck into the day.

Morning pages for self-care

It’s been one of the best self-care tools I’ve used, and I miss it when I don’t do it. I like to write first thing in the morning before I do anything else. Sometimes, I do it sitting in bed, and three pages take me about half an hour or so. Then, no matter what else happens for the rest of the day, I’ve done something good for myself and prioritised myself over everything else for those 30 minutes. I work for myself, and I don’t have kids, so I’m privileged to be able to give myself that time first thing in the morning.

When you’re self-employed, it’s easy to get up, have breakfast and get to work immediately. I’ve done that for years, and it’s only now, by allowing myself that bit of time before I do anything else, that it’s been a true game-changer. It’s shown me that self-care isn’t all about face masks and pamper nights! But there’s nothing wrong with those, either!

The Morning Pages have helped to clear my mind and helped me realise that, for the most part, I have the answers to my issues already; I just need the process of writing to help get my thoughts together and out on paper.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of journaling or doing morning pages, please give it a go. I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me.

P.S. TK Maxx and Home Sense do some stunning notebooks! I love this type of notebook shown in the photos – ring bound and with a soft cover. I’m dying to get stuck into this notebook, once I finish my current one!


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