Last February, I began Julia Cameron’s course titled “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity”. The course was originally created to help blocked artists become unblocked and keep the creative well full. One of the two main ingredients for success is called Morning Pages, and so my journey began.
After more than 13 months of consistent daily morning pages, this habit has found its’ way firmly into my morning routine. I had heard good things about this habit, but I had no idea how much this was really going to change my life. If it can improve my life, it can improve yours, too.
Before I dig into this, you might be asking, “What is/are Morning Pages?” Well, for starters, Morning Pages is a habit (and written in the singular form). This habit consists of writing three pages of stream of conscious writing done shortly after waking up. It’s best done long-hand, but I would guess that any form of writing is better than no writing at all. If you think it, you write it. You do not sensor your thoughts or writing in any way. Just write. It’s super easy. Promise.
Off and on for years, I’ve had an early waking insomnia. I have no trouble getting to sleep. In fact, I fall asleep almost as soon as my head hits the pillow. However, I may wake up around 1:30am to 2am. Once I wake up, my brain just kicks into “light speed” gear. I’ve termed it “busy brain”. This busy brain makes it very difficult to get back to sleep, and at that hour of the morning, all I want to do is go back to sleep.
After several weeks of Morning Pages, I noted a significant improvement in my sleep quality. I still woke up, but only slightly. I found myself going right back to sleep. I don’t even remember looking at my clock. After a while, I didn’t even remember waking most nights. Considering I woke several nights each week for a very long time, this is a significant improvement in my overall sleep quality.
Why did this help me? I’m guessing that it helped me, because I developed a solid habit of waking and writing. I know that when I wake up (at the appropriate hour), I can think and get those thoughts out of my head. I think it gives a subconscious confidence that I can go right back to sleep (if I wake at all) knowing that I can face and address all my thoughts when I wake in the morning.
If find it interesting that when I just let a thought, problem or situation roll around in my head, that’s where it seems to say – in my head. It’s very natural for our thoughts to progress into emotions/feelings. I’ve found that the longer we stew on something, the deeper our emotions become.
It’s not been my experience that those kind of emotions make anything better. If anything, they can make a situation more complicated, worse. That is not healthy, and it doesn’t really make any sense to do that to oneself.
So, get the thoughts out of your head. When you see them written down on paper, you can see them for what they are, analyze them (if they even need that attention), and be done with them. Just like that.
The mere act of writing my thoughts down on paper (vs. “busy brain”) stimulates deeper exploration. In most instances, I can find some sort of solution to a problem or situation. The solution might be a short-sighted solution just for today, but that’s absolutely okay. Concluding and taking ownership of the situation gets it out of my head and moves it along.
Sometimes I am just writing about a decision I must make. With all the decisions we must make in a day, decision fatigue is real. Going back and forth in my head about a decision does not help. Writing out my thoughts onto paper in that uncensored way often leads me to a decision much faster. Make that decision and move on, I say!
Because I can get my thoughts out of my head and can solve problems and make decisions faster, I am more productive. My mind is clear to focus on my work, my calendar, and my To Do List.
Productivity is not exclusive to various types of work either. I’ve read more, hiked more, and enjoyed more free time and family time. It’s amazing how this one simple habit can impact a whole day!
And that leads me to creativity. Clearing out the junk in my mind leaves room for creativity. Morning Pages has acted as a primer for my daily writing. Ideas flow more freely, thoughts unfold more clearly, and it takes less time to bring them to life.
It does not matter whether I am writing a book, writing a blog post, or writing for work. While I am working on one project, I often have ideas for others.
The creativity doesn’t end with writing projects. The ideas even extend into creative problem solving throughout the day. When my twins see math problems from different angles, it helps to be able to come up with different ways to help them understand different math concepts. And on the fly!
So there we have it! When are minds are free and clear of the clutter and junk, it’s amazing what having that extra head space can do for us during the day.
Question of the Day: If you use this method or anything similar, name one way it’s helped you. If you have never used any type of journaling method, would you like to try it out? Let me know if you do and how it helps you most. Please leave your answer in the comment section below, so we can all get ideas from one another.
This Is Moore Like It!