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What Exactly Are Morning Pages, Anyway?

Open book with folded sheets in heart shape and cup of tea

Morning Pages are pages of writing that you complete in the morning. It seems pretty simple. But as with so many things in life, the details are what matter.

In an increasingly competitive world, we’re all looking for ways to get an edge without sacrificing our wellbeing. You might have seen Morning Pages mentioned in productivity circles for years, but never really known why.

The concept of Morning Pages started when author Julia Cameron wrote a 1992 book titled The Artist’s Way in an attempt to people get out of their heads so that they could get on with creating things. Morning Pages were part of that process, and they were so well received that Cameron released a follow-up book titled The Miracle Of Morning Pages.

That all sounds grand, but what are these Morning Pages everyone seems so enamored by?

They’re Anything and Everything on Your Mind

Morning Pages really couldn’t be simpler. Take (or make) some time in the morning to write three pages of text.

That text doesn’t need to have structure. Stream-of-consciousness writing is very much encouraged here, and nothing is off limits. You won’t show these pages to anyone, and you might not even reread them yourself. That’s the biggest difference between Morning Pages and journaling (which you really should be doing, by the way). With the latter, you’re writing things down that you probably will re-examine at a later date. With Morning Pages, the act of writing is what matters.

As anyone who swears by Morning Pages will tell you, it’s a wonderful practice for decluttering your mind. Getting stuff out of your head and onto paper is a sort of therapy in itself, and it doesn’t matter whether the topic turns to what you want for dinner, or something much important.

People who write Morning Pages say they feel less anxious, and more prone to bouts of creativity. They think that their mind is clearer and they have more space to come up with new ideas for their professional and personal lives. The benefits are many, and all it takes is three pages of text.

If all of this sounds a bit hippy-dippy, you’re right; it is. Or at least it was back in 1992. But since then, Morning Pages have taken on a life of their own, and some of the most productive people on the planet swear by Morning Pages. They can’t all be wrong, can they?

After all, professional writers have been practicing something similar for decades. A quick three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing serves as a great way to warm up your writing muscles and break through writer’s block.

Starting is Easy

Closeup of woman at home writing in journal

You don’t need anything special to get started, and there’s no better time than the present. Here’s all you need to do to take Morning Pages for a spin for yourself:

  • Try not to use a computer: The act of physically writing is part of the process and makes you more conscious of what you’re doing. If it’s a computer or nothing, though, we’d choose the computer.
  • Get some paper: All you really need are some loose leaf A4 or US Letter size pages, although anything will do.
  • Carve out some time and space to yourself: Morning is best because you haven’t properly woken to take on the world yet, and studies have shown that creative thinking is easier in the morning.
  • Choose a pen: Something easy to write with. You can work with a pencil if you want, but we find ink on paper more enjoyable.
  • Write: None of this will work if you don’t take that first step, so start writing what’s on your mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s mundane or even makes much sense. If it’s in your head, write it down. No one else is ever going to see it, and you don’t even have to re-read it yourself.
  • After three pages, stop: The aim here isn’t to write until your fingers bleed. It’s to write just enough to clear your head and get your creative instincts warmed up.
  • You can’t go wrong: Above all, remember that there’s no right or wrong way to write Morning Pages.

If you already keep a journal, writing morning pages might come more naturally, but the main thing is to stick to it. If you miss a morning, write your pages in the afternoon rather than skipping them altogether. That’s how habits get broken.

Oliver Haslam Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam is a professional freelance writer with nearly ten years of experience. His work has been published on Macworld, PCMag, 1Password's blog, and other websites. He writes about all things Apple. Read Full Bio »
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