A couple of years ago, I discovered Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way,” which I highly recommend! It’s a book about reconnecting and nurturing your creative soul—which we all have, in one form or another—and removing the blocks that get in the way of creativity and connection.
While the book is intended to take you on a 12-week journey, there is one foundational tool that I found indispensable, and you can start using it today.
What I’m talking about is the concept of Morning Pages, or three pages of stream of consciousness writing, handwritten first thing in the morning.
The idea is that when you first roll out of bed, before the chaos of the day sets in, you take time to process your thoughts and feelings, both conscious and unconscious, in an effort to dust off all those forgotten corners of your mind (the ones collecting old stories that no longer serve you and outdated ideas of who you think you are) in an effort to rediscover your creativity.
To rediscover the creative soul that makes you truly unique.
Now you might say, “But Sarah, I’m not an artist, and definitely not a writer.”
To which I’d reply, “But that’s not the point.”
The point is that we are all creative beings—whether that means creating ideas, meals, products, cups of tea, conversations, or whatever else you find yourself bringing into this world.
And wouldn’t it be more fun to do all of that with more freedom and connection and intention?
Or maybe you’ve been secretly wanting to create something and put it out into the world, but something is blocking you from doing it? These pages will clear the way so you can begin to reconnect to that vision.
So, here’s how to get started, and the process is simple:
First thing in the morning, before you dive into the day’s tasks, sit down at your desk or somewhere comfortable, with nothing but a notebook and pen. (And if you’re like me, something warm to drink may also be included; tea latte, please!).
For the next 15-20 minutes, focus on nothing else but the pen hitting the pages as you write three whole pages of stream-of-conscious writing.
If you’re not familiar with the term “stream-of-conscious writing,” it simply means that you write without stopping to think critically about you’re writing, or how it sounds, or whether it’s grammatically correct.
And if you don’t know what to write, write “I don’t know what to write.” If you think this whole thing is stupid, write “This whole thing is stupid.”
But no matter what, just keep writing.
And when you finish 3 pages, you’re done.
Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the point of all this? If there’s nothing coherent or particularly creative in this writing time, and no one will ever see what I write, why am I spending this time every morning doing this when I could be doing something else more productive?”
The answer is simple: Because in order to write anything creative, that is true to your voice and purpose, you have to get past everything that’s getting in your way. And this exercise helps you dust off all those cobwebs and get to the heart of what it is that you want to create and share with the world.
So, carve out that time in the morning, first thing. And remember: While it’s a simple exercise, it takes dedication.
Because for Morning Pages to really work their magic, they have to be done every day.
Which I personally know because whenever I drop off from doing them (which is usually not a conscious decision, but a result of my days feeling overly crammed), I find myself moving through the day, wondering what’s up.
My mind feels more scattered, and my energy is lacking.
And then in order to process it all, I intuitively find myself back at my desk, journaling whatever I’m feeling. And within 10 minutes, I almost always feel better. Lighter, clearer. With space to think and room to breathe.
And I realize, yet again: “Maybe there’s really something to these morning pages all along.”
So, give them a try and see what they offer you. It’s only 15 or 20 minutes a day, but it’s something that truly nurtures your soul.
And if there’s anything worth making time for, it’s for things that nurture you.
If you decide to give them a try, let me know how they go! Or if you already do Morning Pages, drop me a comment below and tell me what you’ve found to be true about the practice.
I love this! One of my sculpture professors got the whole class big green Moleskine notebooks at the beginning of the semester. We spent 10 minutes journaling/sketching “stream of conscience” style and it was invaluable. Grounding, inspiring, all of it… I still do it every once in a while!
Ah, love that so much!