Morning pages is a writing exercise where one fills about three pages of standard A4 size papers with their thoughts as soon as they wake up. It’s like writing in a stream of consciousness without worrying about anything—like being proper and grammatically correct—or filtering out your thoughts.
Waking up and writing down your thoughts and ideas first thing in the morning sounds like the last thing anyone would want to do. But apparently doing just this could actually help you better your mental health and get your life in order. This writing exercise that was systemized by American writer and artist, Julia Cameron, in her 1995 book The Artist’s Way, is called ‘morning pages’.
What are morning pages?
Morning pages is a writing exercise where one fills about three pages of standard A4 size papers with their thoughts as soon as they wake up. It’s like writing in a stream of consciousness without worrying about anything—like being proper and grammatically correct—or filtering out your thoughts. Doing this everyday can help you think more clearly, get you more focused on your goals, lessen your anxieties and worries, enhance your creativity, and help you generate more ideas.
How to get started?
According to Cameron, there isn’t really a right or correct way to start or write your morning pages. The only rule is you keep a pen and a notebook somewhere near your bed so that you can grab it easily as soon as you wake up and start writing in it. Ideally, you are supposed to fill three full pages of an A4 size paper but if your notebook is in a different size, estimate the length or number of papers that approximately amount to as much. Push yourself to write these three pages even on days when you don’t feel like writing. And don’t exceed three pages either. Doing so might make you subconsciously start filtering your words. Also, it’s important that you actually write as it is more therapeutic than typing which just won’t have the same calming and clearing (your mind) effect. We recommend buying a pretty notebook and a pen that is easy to write with and keeping them on your bedside table to use for your morning pages.
What do you write?
It doesn’t matter what you write as long as you write. There might be days when you forget to do it in the morning. Do it in the afternoon instead, or right before bed. You might start writing and feel like you can’t fill out three pages, that it’s just too hard. But fill all three anyway. The magic of the morning pages comes from pushing yourself to complete these three pages. It doesn’t matter what you write either. Write whatever comes to your mind at that particular moment—be it your worries, plans for the future, how you think your day will go or what you haven’t been able to stop thinking about since the previous night. You could also write down what dreams you had the night before, what you are currently worried about, your schedule, the chores you don’t want to do, a to-do list, or the things you have been putting off. It doesn’t matter if you are writing affirmations or a grocery list as long as you are writing what pops into your head.