Every morning, get pen and paper,
and write 3 x A4 pages.
Priya Singh described it to me as (paraphrased): “a way to clear your brain, so that you have a clean slate to take in new creative ideas during the day,” and that’s what got me interested in it.
I started writing morning pages a year ago, and this exercise has given me some huge benefits:
Forces me to talk to myself.
I didn’t realise how important this was, until I started doing it. For about 30 minutes each day, I have to talk and listen to my own thoughts. 3 pages is a wonderful length, too, because I see how much blank paper there is to fill, and then I set about exploring ideas and problems in great detail.
Helps to improve myself and my life.
Writing to myself each day helps me understand what I want, and what I don’t want. For months, I was writing about how I was unhappy with my job, and I was able to write about all the alternatives I could think about (other jobs, other careers, unemployment, funemployment) and slowly feel OK with moving in a new direction. If I’m nervous, angry, sad, confused, or just feeling weird without knowing why, I write about it, and it helps me work through the thing.
Is a form of meditation.
I often feel calmer, more centred, more organised and less stressed when I have this period of meditation. It is reflective and improves perspective. If there’s something really bothering me (like a confrontational experience, or I’m worrying about a decision, or I have regret) then I can dedicate those full 3 pages to this one topic, and explore it in detail. Having the opportunity and the time (this is all you’re doing for 30 minutes, and that is calming in itself) to think inwardly gives you a kind of quiet / rest / being in the moment.
Morning pages lets me start the day doing something for myself, and this is hard to explain, but here goes… it also gives me a sense of independence and owning my own life. When I was at a job that made me unhappy, I noticed that on the days when I started with morning pages, I felt like the rest of the day (working for someone else, doing work that I didn’t enjoy) was temporary, and that underneath everything else, I was in charge of my life; whereas the days when I didn’t do morning pages, I felt like I was helpless, with no escape; no love for myself and what I wanted.
Gets me into “sharing mode.”
Writing each day, in a conversational way, puts me into (what I call) “sharing mode.” Often, we can be quite okay with keeping our thoughts to ourselves, and we never try to describe or explain them out loud; especially complex thoughts. I think this is unhealthy for us, and it makes us inarticulate, ignorant and frustrated. But when you write your thoughts every day, you become more comfortable with sharing them, and you’re more likely to discuss them with people, or write about them publicly, and I think this is fabulous.
See more pages in Creativity.