Morning Pages Experiment: One Year Later

morningpagesAbout a year ago, I wrote a post called, Morning Pages: Results From My Two-Week Experiment. Since then, the experiment has really been taken to a new level.

In case you don’t already know what they are, Morning Pages are three hand-written, stream-of-consciousness pages you write every day when you wake up before you do anything else.

Created by writer and creativity teacher, Julia Cameron, Morning Pages are one of the most simple and effective creative unblocking tools I’ve come across (and believe me, I’ve done the legwork).

Morning Pages: Why Do Them In The First Place?
My interest was piqued in Morning Pages after reading The Artist’s Way (and then later reading The Writing Diet). Could hand-writing three pages first thing every day really make that big of a difference?

Turns out, yeah, it can. The results from my two-week experiment speak for themselves:

  • A much more positive attitude
  • Fewer complaints
  • A clearer, more focused mind
  • The unclogging of my entire life, which allowed my creativity to flourish

(To see the rest of the results, read this post.)

While these results probably sound too good to be true, I promise you they’re not. And although everyone’s results will be different, they will all be similar in the fact that your creativity will be unblocked.

But what happens if you’re writing your Morning Pages and then suddenly you stop? How will that change things for you?

Well… I experimented with that too.

Quitting Morning Pages
About four months into writing my Morning Pages every single day, I just stopped. I was way too tired to continue waking up ten minutes early to write my Pages anymore.

Plus I was making excuses for why they really didn’t matter anyhow.

So I went, I’d say about two months, without writing a single Morning Page. What happened was pretty crazy. (And hopefully you don’t have to experience the same thing I did!)

I had a total meltdown in my life. Everything felt wrong. Nothing I was working on felt like it was the right thing to be doing.

I was sick of blogging, sick of writing, sick of thinking about writing all day… sick of it all.

I ended up quitting this blog—for six weeks. I had some amazing guest posters step in and help me while I worked through my meltdown.

I couldn’t figure out why I was having this attack on my creativity. I couldn’t understand why I was writing along with no problem two months prior and now, nothing.

Then I realized what had caused all this drama to unfold: I had quit my Morning Pages.

Starting Morning Pages Again
Immediately after having this realization, I grabbed my old Morning Pages journal and wrote three pages on the spot. I felt much better.

Then the next morning, I got back into my routine of writing them upon waking.

While it is a challenge to get up 10 minutes earlier, the results are worth it (and avoiding the negativity trap I fell into when I stopped writing them is definitely a motivator for me, as well).

What A Year Of Morning Pages Can Teach You
Two days ago, I finished filling up my fourth Morning Pages journal and started a new one. It was a great feeling. I keep all my old journals piled on my bookshelf. It’s a constant reminder of how far I’ve come with my creativity.

I’ve learned so much about myself, as a person and as a writer, from writing Morning Pages for the last year. And I’ve had some of the most amazing ideas and breakthroughs in my life.

But I don’t want to make this all about me, because it’s really all about you.

So I’m going to stop talking about my experience and share with you why I think you need to get moving on writing your Morning Pages (or why you should continue with them or start again if you’ve stopped).

I’d say the biggest reason to write Morning Pages is this: Clarity.

Clarity of focus, clarity in your thoughts, clarity of your goals, clarity of your why, clarity of everything.

I could go on and on with the amazing things that have happened to me over the last year that I directly attribute to writing my Morning Pages.

But that’s not really going to convince you. The only thing that will convince you is trying it for yourself.

This is especially true if you’re someone who uses the excuse “I have ‘writer’s block‘” as your reason for not writing.

If you never listen to another thing I tell you on this blog, listen to this: Morning Pages will support your creative life and rescue it when it feels like it’s drowning.

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How do you use your Morning Pages to support your creativity?

Image Courtesy of JulieJordanScott

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5 replies
  1. Illoura
    Illoura says:

    Jennifer,
    I had to laugh inside when I recognized myself in your post. I USED to do the Morning Pages, though it wasn’t disjointed gobbedy-gook free-writing per se.
    At a certain time in my life, I wanted to simply document the beauty and balance that were present in my life for the first time. I was in a good place spiritually, emotionally, etc… and I was living the pinnacle suburban mom life with a green yard under palm trees, and a marble bistro table that made me feel accomplished, (a mother’s day gift from one of the kids), and that early morning birdsong all around. Those pages were a place to express every observation of the moment- (even hashing out and regurgitating parenting and kids issues (in a new blended family- made life good- since it meant I was living the good life & I was most fortunate for the opportunity). I could indulge the silly& whimsical and could safely put down everything that I thought was part of the beauty of that moment (for 10 minutes).

    What a bunch of crap, lol, but it was beautiful crap. In that way it was focused, but it was as you expressed, a kind of ‘cleaning out’, too. I think that’s the important part.
    If I tried writing anything on my story then my desire for prose and landscape and all those tiny wonderful sun-drenched thoughts would fill up the serious writing pages – and that’s not good for a story. Morning pages allowed me to filter out that stuff when I was seriously writing.

    Maybe it’s time to try again… been a bit stumped lately!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Blanchard
      Jennifer Blanchard says:

      @Illoura It is such beautiful crap!! Even on days when I wake up moody and don’t want to do them I still force myself to get down at least one page (and that’s usually enough to get me flowing with 3 pages). I find that when I skip my pages too many days in a row the BS inside me/in my life starts back logging itself and all hell breaks loose!

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] a notebook and handwrite a stream-of-consciousness ramble for at least one page or until you run out of things to say. This gets the BS out of your head and […]

  2. […] Pages—created by Julia Cameron, Morning Pages are three hand-written, stream-of-consciousness pages you write first thing in the morning before […]

  3. […] Ed. Note: I updated my results from this experiment at the one-year mark.  […]

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