My head is a busy place.
At any given point, I’m pondering a work project, planning a barre class, churning through a Junior League to-do list, breaking down my lifting session, deciding what I’m going to eat next, tossing around content and novel plots, and trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life – all at once.
It can get pretty loud in there, not to mention cluttered. I dream up ideas for everything from blog posts to barre moves, and then promptly forget them because I’m off thinking of a Junior League email I need to send, a work project I need to finish, and a bill I need to pay.
I’m pretty used to the busy mind of a creative at this point, but sometimes, there is just too much floating around in my brain. I keep a to-do list, both in my Day Designer and through KanbanFlow and I’ve learned to keep a small notebook nearby to jot down content ideas and plotlines as they come to me. If all else fails, I use my notes app.
A racing, cluttered mind also makes me anxious. I react similarly when my physical space is cluttered, so it makes sense that a chaotic mind causes the same anxious feeling. I used to be really diligent about making time to be still and quiet in an effort to curb that. I fell out of that practice, but tried to re-introduce it to my routine after the holidays.
All the blogs and even The Today Show told me to meditate, even if just for five minutes a day. I downloaded not one but three different meditation apps. I listened to medication podcasts. I downloaded soothing music. I tried sitting upright, lying down, sitting in the floor…
Y’all, I’m not good at meditating.
That busy mind we talked about? It gets even busier when I’m consciously trying to quiet it. All the Headspace and deep breathing in the world couldn’t help me. So, it was back to the drawing board.
I had heard of Morning Pages, mostly mentioned in blog posts and articles about successful creatives and entrepreneurs. The mentions grew in frequency, and so I decided to learn more.
From her website:
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages – they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
Intrigued and already an avid journaler, I went to Rock, Paper Scissors, bought a notebook, and sat down at my kitchen table to start the Morning Pages process.
I’m two weeks in, and I’m a big supporter of the Morning Pages concept.
I don’t follow Morning Pages exactly as prescribed. I go to the gym first thing in the morning, and I just don’t see myself waking up even earlier than my five AM alarm. I come home from lifting and sit down at my kitchen table with my coffee and breakfast and begin to write. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, days I don’t go to the gym, I reach for my notebook first thing. On the weekends, I may not get around to writing until the afternoon or even nightfall. I still do them though, all three pages.
Three pages of free writing sometimes feels like a LOT. Sometimes, it isn’t nearly enough. Morning Pages are meant for your eyes only – I’ve even read of people who throw away their notebooks once they’re full – as it’s a place to be entirely honest. It’s a place to work out creative ideas, decisions I need to make, fears I may have. It’s also a place to write that I had a great lifting session or my stomach hurts from the strawberry shortcake I ate over the weekend. Whatever comes to mind, I write it down. This morning I wrote that I needed to find a long, flowing pink skirt, just because it popped into mind mid-write about something totally different.
The real benefit of Morning Pages is that they set you up for the rest of the day. I’ve felt more together and less scattered since starting a Morning Pages practice. My mind is less chaotic, more focused. My creative ideas have a place. Writing one creative thought down tends to breed more. I’m essentially meditating each morning, but with pen and paper.
Morning Pages are easy to adapt. Buy a notebook, pick up a pen, and dedicated 10-15 minutes in the mornings to putting ink to paper. I know it isn’t always easy to find an extra quarter of an hour in the mornings, but remember, there are 24 hours in a day. Whether you write them first thing in the morning or last thing at night, I don’t think it really matters. The benefit is the same.
Have you practiced Morning Pages? What do you think of them?