How I’m Using Morning Pages to Write My Way Through

A couple years ago, I heard about a thing called Morning Pages. Julia Cameron is the brainchild and the concept is pretty simple:

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

At first, I didn’t know what I thought. Well, to be clear, I DID know what I thought and what I thought was, “I have a child and there are few things I can do reliably first thing in the morning.” Flash forward a few years to #3under3 and the concept of doing anything immediately upon waking is pretty absurd.

Recently, though, I’ve known that I needed it. I’ve been going through a difficult season (more on that to come), and finding my way through to clarity has been tough to come by.

And so in the last couple months, I’ve slowly started the practice. I don’t do it exactly as it should be done, I hear, but what I’m doing is working. And, more often than not, I find that I’m actually able to write my way out of a problem, or a funk, or a lack of motivation to start the day and get going.

Morning pages haven’t replaced other aspects of my morning routine, but they have been a great addition, and one that isn’t too far away from the regular practice of journaling, which I’ve done for years. The difference, though, is in allowing yourself to truly free write, without any sense of pressure for writing down a chronicle of what’s happening in your life, say (which can often happen with typical journalling practices).

So here’s what I do:

  1. When I get started with my workday (and not first thing, because #3under3), I also get started with my regular morning routine.
  2. As part of that routine, I write my version of my “Morning Pages.” To do so, I use my awesome Leuchtturm1917 dotted journal (I have the purple) and shoot for three pages of written word with my favorite Precise V5 extra fine pen. I write about anything. I typically start with some kind of recap of what’s going on in my life (this is similar to the regular chronicling that happens in any journalling practice), and typically end with a few things I am grateful for.
  3. If I am particularly blocked and don’t feel I have anything to write for three pages, I try to focus on “writing my way through” a particular problem. So, I start moaning, and then proceed into coherence, and then usually come out the other side a calmer soul, more balanced on the issue at hand.

So far, I’m finding the process is extremely useful, and I always come away better off. Even if I don’t have a great “aha!” moment in the process, I DO come away feeling more upbeat, positive, and ready to tackle life as life comes.

Have you tried a version of the Morning Pages? Has it worked for you? Tell me below.

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27 thoughts on “How I’m Using Morning Pages to Write My Way Through

  1. Capturing thoughts on paper seems to allow the mind to remove them from the repeat cycle. Whenever that happens whether early morning or middle of the night I find writing creates a resolution of some kind. Not necessarily solving the issue but addressing it, putting it in a concrete form of words on paper.

  2. Help! How do you stop at 3 pages? Once I get writing, I can’t stop till my hand cramps up, and I can no longer hold the pen, or something happens like I gotta leave for work lol.

  3. YES!
    Not necessarily every day,
    or all the time;
    but fairly regularly…
    and I think this was
    a major contributor
    to my knowing
    that I have a
    – rather-
    poetic style of writing 🙂

  4. I still have diary, you know 😀
    I start a day with devotional: reading Bible and praying.
    So, the morning pages are “writing” out in my prayer. Haha.

    Still, your article’s rock!

  5. As a big fan of the Miracle Morning (book by Hal Elrod), I try to journal everyday. The parts of the Miracle Morning are Silence, Affirmations, Visualisation, Exercise, Reading and Scribing. I do not get to 3 pages of writing but I spend time being creative in my bullet journal come art journal. Another Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks here 🙂

    • Which color?! After 15 years of Moleskine I was surprised I embraced it so quickly. I STILL haven’t read Hal Elrod’s book!

  6. Another fan of Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks here – I use the A5 lined books and love the quality of the paper. Morning pages help me to ‘defrag’ my brain and leave me clear-headed for the day ahead.

  7. I’ve never tried this, in the morning, I do a recap at night. What my day was like problems I had, ways to fix them, and what I plan to do tomorrow. I’ve too had an addition to the family, my furry family, 7 adorable pups. They’re now into everything, leaving little messes behind so I have to adjust my schedule to care for them. I love them all will be sad when they go to forever homes, despite them being a handful.

  8. I love pages, too. I’m not a purist — I may not get to them until 10:30 at night (I always mark the date and time at the top of mine), and I don’t always write three full pages — but they definitely help keep me centered. On good days, I write them while I wait for the coffee to brew, or at the latest, when I sit down to start my work day. They’ll be anything from a extended to-do list/anxiety list to short essays.

    I find writing longhand in general is a good way to focus, and often draft in longhand. I’m also a bit of a notebook nerd (understatement) and so I have a traveler’s notebook-style leather book with four inserts, one of which I use for my pages. I always have it with me, and some days I end up doing morning, afternoon and night pages 🙂

  9. I love that you’re doing this at the start of your work day rather than first thing! I’ve always resisted Morning Pages because I can’t imagine getting up earlier to write (#nightowl). It’s a good reminder that it’s okay to take people’s great ideas and modify them to suit how you work best.

    • Totally! Also it DOESN”T have to happen at 5 am. That’s what was a game changer for me in terms of doing a morning routine at all!

      • The earlier in the morning I can devote to writing the better. That said, midnight and beyond tends to be the opportune time for the nitty-gritty part of writing.

  10. AMEN!! Loved Julia’s book! A friend and I went through it together about a year ago. We held each other accountable to morning pages. Then it slipped away (really no excuse, we are actually grandmas, not moms, of 3 under 3). So just last week we picked up the practice again. The “working through problems on paper” part is transformational! It makes us better human beings because we are not dragging every nuance of our difficulty into every relationship/conversation. Also brings clarity and often resolution!!

    • I know, isn’t it fascinating. It’s like — I’m the same person after — how am I smarter from writing?!

    • Also, there’s a companion book I have as well that is more of a journal to help you walk through. Also interesting.