How to Do Morning Pages Journaling
We’ve all heard of journaling before, but have you heard of the morning pages technique? It was first derived by Julia Cameron in the book The Artist’s Way and is a powerful and cathartic practice that allows you to express yourself, release trauma, access your creativity and unburden your mind. Let’s dive in a little deeper;
What is Morning Pages Journaling?
Morning pages are a style of journaling where you allow your writing to flow freely from your stream of consciousness. It’s the practice of waking up first thing every morning and writing three pages without any predetermined plan. Sounds like a lot of work, but it’s actually quite simple. There are no rules for your morning pages writing, no parameters or plan. It’s about simply writing whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
What is the Point of Morning Pages?
Writing morning pages will provoke you to let out whatever's lurking in the subconscious mind. You might not realise it but around 90% of the thoughts you think today are the same as the ones you had yesterday. The subconscious mind is kind of like our version of auto-pilot. It's the place that you store all of your memories, beliefs, values, trauma and past experiences. The subconscious mind takes all of these stored emotions and plays them on repeat in your mind without you even realising it.
Writing first thing in the morning is crucial because it allows you to write freely before you’ve had time to kick into your auto-pilot default. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung stated that we have about a 45 minute window after we wake up before the "Ego" kicks in. By doing this in the morning and using a stream of consciousness writing method, you’re bringing greater awareness to these subconscious thoughts that you would have otherwise ignored.
What is Stream of Consciousness Writing?
Usually when you sit to write something down (that is, if you ever do anymore), you think a little before you put pen to paper. You might have mapped out what you want to write about or have a general idea about what you want to get down. You take your time, pause to think, write slowly and in a more considered manner. Stream of consciousness writing is not that. No thinking, no planning, no pausing; just write. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just get it down. Go in with no expectations, jump from topic to topic even if it doesn’t really make sense, that’s how you write your morning pages. This will prevent you from being confined to your conscious mind. It will help you to access parts of the mind that generally go unnoticed.
What are the Benefits of Morning Pages Journaling?
It’s incredible what you’ll find out about yourself after a week of writing your thoughts down. Morning pages journaling is basically like talking to a therapist. It’s an emotional release that will help you to access the trauma from deep within the subconscious mind. This will lead to a lot of “a-ha” moments as you reflect on what you’ve written in your journals. Processing this emotion will ultimately help you to unburden yourself from past trauma.
If you’re going through a creative lull then this style of writing may re-inspire you. There are ideas within you that are sometimes hard to reach. It’s why you may feel really creative today and have literally no ideas tomorrow. Frustrating right? By writing in the stream of consciousness style you’re unburdening your mind which will allow for your creative ideas to come through.
How to Practice Morning Pages Journaling
1. Do it First thing in the Morning
Practicing this technique first thing in the morning is of vital importance. It may be difficult in the beginning but will quickly become a habit after a bit of practice. If you’re not convinced, try it for 7 days and see how it makes you feel by the end of the week.
2. Hit the 3 Page Mark
Try your best to hit the 3 page mark (on A4 paper). I know, it sounds like a lot, but writing 3 pages will help you to dig deeper than just surface level. This will elicit more profound breakthroughs. Any more than 3 pages will tempt you to ruminate and think too much while writing.
3. Don’t Censor Yourself
Don’t censor yourself, this is a journal just for you. Be open and honest in your writing, say whatever comes to mind without any consequence. You need to be free as you write, with no inhibitions. Write down whatever crazy, weird, stupid or wild thing that comes to mind. Spill out all of your dark desires and messed up thoughts. Let everything flow out of you.
4. Don’t Share
Don’t share your journal with anyone. It’s important that you remain uncensored in your writing. Even if you think that you're close enough with someone to share it, you will subconsciously limit yourself when you’re writing.
5. Try Not To Get Distracted
Try your best not to get distracted during this process. Really lock in to it, you’ll look kind of crazy as you sit there fervently writing first thing in the morning, but that’s okay. Dedicate this time to yourself and let it all out.
Morning pages journaling is an incredible way to clear the mind and access your subconscious thoughts. It can be a transformative and tool for your mental health and is a path to greater awareness, clarity and creativity. It generally takes 30 days to form a habit, so we recommend trying this method for 30 days to see the full benefits.
If you tried the morning pages journaling challenge we'd love to hear from you! Feel free to contact us with your story or if you have any questions.