Morning pages are a practice that I have learned from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. I took The Artist’s Way course, taught by Julia herself at the Open Center back in the spring of 2008. We met every Tuesday night and did lots of exercises to “unblock” creativity. The foundation of Julia’s work is morning pages. She spent a whole hour on the first night of class explaining morning pages and answering everyone’s questions.
Here is the protocol:
First thing in the morning when you wake up, you sit with a notebook and write 3 pages in free-hand.
That means pen-to-paper, no typing on a computer. The pages should be 8.5 x 11 to give your thoughts enough room to spread out. Yes, you should do this before anything else, including meditation or exercise. It takes about 20-25 minutes to write morning pages.
Julia describes morning pages as meditation on the page. It’s a chance to write anything that comes to mind, stream-of-consciousness, and to get back in touch with yourself.
I consider morning pages to be meditation, therapy, prayer, goal-setting, even to-do list writing. I wrote morning pages every single day for a full year after taking Julia’s course, and then I got a puppy and I fell off the wagon. But last month I started my practice again and I jump out of bed to write them. I love my morning pages. I find myself sorting through my emotions, using the space to figure out why I got upset about something silly, planning out my day, creating goals for my career, scribbling some notes about a dream, and on and on. Everything goes. I’m in a relationship and want to maintain a strong sense of self — morning pages are such a good way to do that, to claim yourself, to know your opinions and beliefs even when you share your life with another.
It’s not always so easy to make morning pages fit into your schedule. It takes determination. Self-care is an extreme sport, people! But I encourage you to give it a try. Try it for a week and see how it goes.
Here is a short video from Julia Cameron herself describing the practice of morning pages:
My favorite lines:
“It’s as though you’ve taken a little dustbuster and poked it into all the corners of your consciousness.”
“Think of it in Jungian terms that you are meeting your shadow and taking it out for a cup of coffee. And what I find is that when you put the negativity on the page, it isn’t eddying through your consciousness during the day.”
Enjoy and please keep me posted on your morning pages!