I’m pretty obsessed with my morning journaling practice. I use the Morning Pages method as described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. I was quite shocked how easily I took to my Morning Pages practice as I never consistently journaled before. I believe I was able to make it a habit quickly because of the great benefits of journaling I saw pretty immediately. It is more of a struggle to stick with a new practice when the rewards are a long way down the road.
I started journaling for personal reasons, mostly for anxiety (my most awkward and persistent issue). I’ve been stunned and delighted to see how this simple practice has helped in my business as well.
So, WTF is Morning Pages and how do you do it? You basically spend some time each morning writing for about three letter-sized pages in a journal. You write until you’ve filled them up. Just whatever comes to mind and keep going. I do mine either from bed or on the couch, but always with my morning coffee. That’s all there is to it! If you want to know more about it, check out The Artist’s Way here.
What you need to get started with Morning Pages:
- A journal. I’m obsessed with Rifle Paper Co, and this journal is gorgeous, though a little small. Here is a cute journal with peonies that’s 8.5 x 11. I just use a silly one with unicorns and rainbows from Fred Meyer.
- A good pen. This is more important than you might think. I like to use this one in purple ink. It glides quickly over the page. I cannot STAND a felt-tip Sharpie type pen for this. It bleeds through the paper and makes it hard to write on the opposite page.
- A space to write privately. A KEY element of this type of journaling is writing with the understanding that nobody else will ever read this. It is the only way to allow yourself to write completely freely.
- On that same note, maybe a lock? Or a locked drawer to keep it in? If you’ve got kids or a snoopy roommate/partner, this might be the only way. I hope this isn’t an issue for you!
Here are the powerful benefits I’m noticing from my morning pages practice:
- Decreased anxiety. Anxiety is an ongoing issue for me, but almost nothing seems to relieve it quite like writing/journaling. I can clear my mind instead of having thoughts swirl in my head and torture me. This has made me a braver freelancer. I’ve been able to try more things, approach more potential clients, and put myself out there, even if not as much as I should or would like to, but more than I was before!
- More ideas. Writing each morning helps me get ideas out of the ether and onto something tangible. I sometimes spend a part of my morning journaling just writing lists of ideas, for things I think would help my business as well as for clients’ businesses.
- More blog topics! Because I’m generating more ideas of all kinds, I’ve been able to develop an extensive list of blog post ideas. Sure, some of them are not good at all, but at least I’m keeping my idea muscle toned.
- Motivation. While I might start out my morning pages a little grumpy and feeling a little stuck, usually the combination of my coffee kicking in and writing make me feel in control, ready and excited to tackle the day.
- Organization. Since I declutter my brain on paper each morning, I feel I’m able to organize and prioritize my time more efficiently. I can also see patterns and notice things that keep popping up and need my attention.
I hope you give Morning Pages a try. Do you do this already? Or do you have another activity you like to do to clear your mind, generate biz ideas, and organize your day? I’d love to hear about it!
Let me know in the comments, how do YOU start your day?