I wanted to share my experience with a tool I have used for years, yet rediscovered in the excellent book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is a simple way to help manage stress and issues in your professional or personal life. It is effective at clearing your mind and unblocking your creativity and productivity. It is cheap, portable and time efficient. This tool is The Morning Pages.
For over 12 years I have written this blog in one form or another. But surrounding what I posted publicly were the private scribblings of a young man making sense of his world, direction and desires. This journal writing was my version of the MPs before I had even read Julia’s book and saw it explained so clearly. From that moment on this approach became a consistent part of my daily routine, a most beautiful brain dump. It helped in managing my mental health, developing the ideas of all my books and creating my coaching programme.
What are The Morning Pages?
The Morning Pages (MPs) are three pages of stream of consciousness written in longhand. Quite often they can be the weirdest, non-sensical writing ever produced. Now and then they produce utter gems of creativity. More often than not though it’s the former rather than the latter. All you need is a pen, a pad and to write down whatever is on your mind. You don’t show these pages to anyone else and I’d recommend not looking back on what you’ve written (you’ll just worry yourself!)
But Tom I am not a creative!
I believe we all have some kind of creative streak within us. We may not title ourselves with that moniker, but the ability to create is there in all. Whether it’s cooking mouthwatering pies, being a dab hand with DIY or playing piano as a pastime. You don’t need to be a creative to benefit from the MPs; for all you professionals and busy individuals with jam packed brains read on!
So how will it help me?
You are probably aware of the surge in popularity of mindfulness meditation amongst CEOs and the rest of the business world. It is just one of many tools touted as a secret weapon amongst the business elite, along with waking up before 5am, cold showers and colonic.
I jest! Nobody benefits from cold showers.
The morning pages is like mindfulness meditation in that you are taking note of your thoughts and putting them directly onto the page. In effect you are clearing your head like a brain colonic. The goal of MPs may be to unblock your creativity by removing all the crap that is swirling around your grey matter. But it also helps you remove the small and large issues experienced as part of your professional and personal life. Those issues that clog up your neural highways and make your thinking slower than the M25 on a bank holiday Friday.
Ultimately the MPs make space for what matters to you. It can create a showground for new business ideas or to figure out your relationship woes. It can help your prioritise your task list and clear you to make important decisions. Like meditation it is a daily practice that can take minutes but last for days (provided you are consistent.) You don’t even need a fancy pen or paper (though you’ll likely end up with them) to complete these three pages. So why not give it a try for the next week? Three short pages a day. You’ll appreciate the benefits you reap.