How To Do Morning Pages

Three pages of stream of consciousness every morning, this how I do my morning pages. To say it’s been a transformative practice would be an understatement. I cannot believe how a practice so simple, possible so obvious, could make an enormous difference to me, my life, and my mindset. 

I have been vaguely aware of morning pages for years now, but it never truly registered with me that it was something I would enjoy, or benefit from. If I’m totally honest, I didn’t really understand what it was or what the point was. 

Surely if you have something to say, just write it, whenever? 

Well… since my therapy process started last summer, I have been experiencing not only a shift in mindset but also a kind of opening up to new ways of doing things. I can’t quite remember how I came across the concept of morning pages again (maybe it was just parked in my brain for a time when I was ready to try it) but one day Raj and I were shopping in town and I stumbled across some pretty notebooks. In that moment, I picked them up and decided these were the notebooks I was going to use to start writing my morning pages. 

It was just a moment when I realised morning pages might be something that would work for me. 

How To Do Morning Pages

My first morning pages experience

The next morning, I got up an hour earlier than usual, padded down the stairs in my big fluffy dressing gown (it was a cold December morning), fed my cats, made myself a nice hot mug of coffee, poured a glass of water (because you need to hydrate when you caffeinate), sat at my kitchen island and began writing. 

I had no idea what to do. No idea what I wanted to write. No idea if anything would happen. 

In fact, I think the first lines I wrote were:

“I don’t know how to start my morning pages as I’m not entirely sure what to say or how to do it. But here goes…”

I then proceeded to note that it was a new moon that day and I had an app that told me so. It seemed like pretty banal stuff to write about but soon I started t o write about the podcast I have been thinking about launching for years, and this led on to writing how I felt about my fears of creating something new. And this led onto more insights  about  the concepts of success, the process of becoming myself again, and my issues of disconnect between my mind and body. 

After three pages of stream of consciousness writing I had come up with some really interesting insights into my own psyche. 

It was uncanny. 

How does morning pages feel for me?

For three months now I have been doing morning pages, and without fail I always feel better for it. Of course, not everything that comes out is positive, and it can be quite intense if I’m writing about pain, hurt, frustrations, and fear. But the process helps me deal with it, and often reveals some answers to help me cope. 

I find writing morning pages incredibly therapeutic, grounding and inspiring. It’s a great way to start the day. 

I have been recommending morning pages to anyone I speak to. It has been such a brilliant thing to me. 

I am so committed to my morning pages routine, that I have since bought batches of the same notebook so that I don’t run out! I love the size of the notebook, the feel of it, the colour, it’s perfect. Over 3 trips to the same shop I now have 10 more of the same notebook. I reckon that’ll last my quite a while of writing. 

Why do morning pages?

The long and short of it – morning pages is a process of writing 3 pages of stream of consciousness every day. It allows you to brain dump, to get things out of your head. It helps to clear your mind before you start your day. It eases any anxiety or worry by allowing you to get it out of your head and onto paper. It helps you focus your mind. And it helps you find the answers to things that you are stuck on.

Morning pages is the act of physically writing down what’s going through your mind and allowing you to process and see it with clarity. 

For me, morning pages has given me daily insights into concerns in all areas of my life. It has allowed me to process past hurts. It has enlightened me to current mind blocks. And it has helped me to shift mindset to a place that is kinder to myself. 

Some mornings I finish my morning pages and my mind is blown. The insights and revelations my mind comes out with is amazing. 

And that is why I can’t believe I didn’t start doing morning pages sooner. It’s ace.

Morning Pages

How To Do Morning Pages

1. Buy a notebook that feels good to write in.

2. Get up earlier if you need to.

3. Make yourself your favourite hot drink.

4. If you feel the need to, only put on background music without words in. There’s some great classical stuff here.

5. Open a fresh page in your notebook, date it, and start writing.

6. Just write anything that comes to mind. Don’t overthink, just let it flow out of you.

7. Keep writing for 3 pages, or at least aim to fill 3 pages of your notebook.

8. Don’t look back at the pages. Just keep on writing each day.

9. Note how you feel after writing every morning.

10. Only reflect back on your writing after some time has passed. 

11. Keep your notebook safe and never let anyone read it.

 

If you need some ideas to get you started I have written a post filled with some Morning Pages Prompts to help you get started.

Morning Pages

Do’s and Don’ts for Morning Pages

  • Do try to form a habit of writing morning pages every day.
  • Do try to write as soon as you can when you wake up. But if you can’t do it at the earliest opportunity available to you.
  • Don’t beat yourself up about it if you miss a day or two. 
  • Do write more pages at any point during the day if you need to. 
  • Do try different formats or styles of writing to see what works for you.
  • Do question yourself and your thoughts as you write. 
  • Do be reflective.
  • Do write lists of gratitude if you’re stuck.
  • Don’t worry if you only have 1 or 2 pages in you.
  • Don’t worry if your mind drifts. 
  • Do explain to the people you share your household with what you are doing and that you need space, and quiet to write.
  • Do keep your morning pages notebooks safe.
  • Don’t let anyone read your notebook. You need to write from a place knowing that it’s for you only.
  • Do allow the process to flow.
  • Don’t be surprised if it first you feel a bit crappy after writing your morning pages. Sometimes a therapeutic practice (much like having a massage) can brings things up to the surface. Acknowledge the feeling, and be reassured that it’s normal, and part of the process. Stick with it if you can.
  • Do be kind to yourself as it takes practice to form a habit.
  • Do trust yourself and your stream of consciousness.
  • And most importantly, do what feels right for you. I hope this process helps you, but only you can truly know what will work for you.

The morning pages science

There are proven psychological benefits of externalising thoughts via journalling.

The morning ins the best time for creative thinking, and your brain’s inhibitory processes are still weak. Therefore the breakthroughs are more likely. 

And some psychological studies have found that daily writing practice has physical benefits as well.

 

Good luck with doing your morning pages! 

If you have any questions let me know.

Further reading:

Morning Pages Prompts

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8 Comments

  1. 1 March 2019 / 1:24 pm

    I love the sound of this, I had similar experiences when I was meditating daily, a pratice I really want to get back into. However, mornings aren’t good for me – I have a toddler and I get up when she does, and there is then no peace and quiet, and when she is off to the childminder i have to walk the dogs then I have to get on with my work day! So mornings = hectic. I am sure they are the optimal time to do it, but do you think doing evening pages could still have a few benefits? It would be much more relaxing for me! x

    • Elizabeth
      Author
      3 March 2019 / 8:06 pm

      Absolutely! I can imagine toddlers probably change the morning vibe quite a bit. 😀

      I definitely think it’ll help in the evening. It might bring things to the fore so potentially could get your brain processing when you want to be winding down to sleep. Maybe try a couple of hours before your usual bedtime?
      Otherwise maybe just try different times and notice how your brain processes afterwards and for how long.

      I do hope it helps, and let me know how you get on!
      x

      • 11 March 2019 / 2:00 pm

        Thanks! I hadn’t thought about the potential to get my mind going, was more thinking of it as a brain dump but I can see how it would work the other way too! I think I might start trying it while waiting for Millie to fall asleep – usually dead time I spend scrolling Insta – it might give me motivation for my evenings too as I am usually exhausted at that point and ready not to do anything! x

  2. 1 March 2019 / 3:35 pm

    I do something a bit like this with my bullet journal, giving myself the time and space to reflect on the day every night before bed. I’d like to develop it a bit more and your post has given me some great tips.

    • Elizabeth
      Author
      3 March 2019 / 8:08 pm

      That’s great to hear. I tried to start a bullet journal a while ago but got distracted by all the youtube videos of people making them super pretty and artistic. I guess I like that the morning pages can be messy and stream of consciousness. The ‘letting go’ aspect of it allows my brain to come up with some great insights.
      Hope my tips help! Let me know how you get on.x.

  3. 4 March 2019 / 3:31 pm

    I’ve started doing something similar recently. I write a page of gratitude and positive intentions for the day – how I want to feel and what I want to achieve for the day. Its like a written meditation and does me a power of good

    • Elizabeth
      Author
      8 March 2019 / 5:45 pm

      That’s ace! I love that term ‘written meditation’ it really does help to get things down on paper doesn’t it. I had forgotten how powerful writing things down could be. I love the idea of setting an intention of how I want to feel for the day. Thank you for the idea!

  4. 8 March 2019 / 2:26 pm

    Touching post. I’ve had so much going on recently and I needed a way to clear my mind. I’ve heard of this being done before but though nothing of it until I tried it myself. I’ve not looked back since. Kind regards, Luke.

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