"Put simply, the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing; strictly stream of consciousness. Pages are meant to be the act of moving the hand across the page, and writing down whatever comes to mind - the stuff that eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days. Get it on the page."
~ Julia Cameron
Starting a daily journal writing practice not only invites fluidity into your written expression, but you will also find yourself speaking more honestly as well. Writing every day will help you express yourself in a freer, more authentic way.
Regular writing practice is a way to explore your thoughts and feelings through words. Expressive journal writing can elucidate problematic thinking patterns and illuminate the deeper beliefs that are not serving you.
To begin, relax your body and close your eyes. Empty your mind and place your attention within. Simply wait. As your thoughts arise, write them down spontaneously without worrying about whether they make sense.
Do not censor your written self-expression. No thought is irrelevant. You can choose to write fast, to not overthink. Or, you can choose to write very slowly, allowing each thought to arrive up from your depths.
Julia Cameron, the originator of Morning Pages, shares how to write them.
How to Write Morning Pages
Step 1: Dedicate a Notebook
I like composition-size notebooks which are 7.5 inches wide and 9.5 inches high. It is best not to buy a fancy journal for this process. Keep your notebook and a good writing pen by your bed so that you can write as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Step 2: Write Three Pages
Writing morning pages typically takes about 20-30 minutes in the morning, depending on how fast you write. Make yourself a warm drink and dedicate yourself to writing to the end of the three pages. The deeper insights and ideas often come at the end. It does not matter what you write. Let it all out even if it seems hard, boring or pointless. Get used to expressing yourself spontaneously and accepting what comes out.
Step 3: Write Every Day
Write your three pages every morning and do not reread them as you might become too critical about what you are writing. If you want to reread your morning pages journal - wait until the end of your journal.
Step 4: Review Your Morning Pages
After your entire morning pages journal is finished, you might enjoy spending a weekend contemplating what you have written. I recommend looking for repetitive themes and deeper meaning in your writing. Consider circling sentences and words that stand out as emotionally strong with different coloured markers. If going through your entire journal all at once seems like too much work, try going through your pages once a week, in order to find the main themes in your writing.
Negative emotions always signal how you are not meeting your emotional needs. Your negative journal rants can help you to become much more self-aware. For this reason, it is helpful to leave 3-5 blank pages at the end of your journal so that you can gather your final insights. After you write a final summary of what you have learned from your morning pages journal, you will know exactly what positive changes you need to make in your life.
Benefits of Writing Morning Pages
1. Having a safe place (your private journal) to express your authentic voice allows you to practice honest self-expression.
2. Clarifying thoughts and feelings through writing deepens your connection to your deeper preferences, needs and goals.
3. Knowing yourself better through daily writing will help you to better discern what situations and people feel healthy and toxic to you.
4. Writing about intensely charged thoughts helps to release stress, guilt, shame, and other painful emotions.
Expressive Journaling Tips
Buddhist and writer Natalie Goldberg shares how a daily writing practice can inspire the growth of your authentic voice:
1.) Lose Control. Say what you want to say. Do not worry if it is polite, correct, or appropriate. Just let it rip.
2.) Be specific. Don't muddy your language with generalities.
3.) Don't think. Write down your first thoughts. Go with what first flashes into your mind.
4.) Don't worry about punctuation, spelling and grammar.
5.) Be free to write the worst junk.