October 7, 2010

Morning Pages

Dreams. Goals. Plans. I sat on my couch this morning, holding my coffee cup, thinking about my life and how utterly happy I am right now. Ever have those moments of reflection when it seems that everything is just as it should be....and even get a little misty eyed as the thoughts pervade?  That was me this morning.

I've also experienced just the opposite sort of days...clutching my coffee cup, feeling like I cannot muddle my way out of my own head enough to make any progress toward my goals. Confusion leads to frustration which leads to fragmented thinking until a good ole' dose of overwhelm begins to set in. And, I don't know about you, but I don't do too well when the overwhelm switch is thrown...I tend to just shut down, withdraw, freeze. And, horrors, sometimes eat.

I want more of the first kind of day, don't you?

A few years ago I did find something that helps every single time when the ugly scenario above begins to play out. It's called "Morning Pages," the brainchild of Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, The Right to Write and many, many more excellent books.

Julia Cameron knows what she's talking about. She's been helping creative types discover and sometimes rediscover their creativity through her classes, and one of the primary tools that she employs is morning pages.

So, what's morning pages? Here's the jist: every morning write three pages long-hand. Just write. No form required, punctuation is optional, spelling never an issue. No outlines, paragraphs, Strunk & White not welcome at this early morning party. Stream of consciousness if you will. And, nobody has to see it but you.

Write what you're thinking, feeling, struggling with, what you want to do, what you have to do, how you feel about it, your weight loss journey, your progress, lack of progress. It could be a prayer to God, words you wanna say to your SO, words you wanna have with your DH. Point is, you write....anything in the world. Just write. Three. Pages.

That shouldn't be hard for us bloggers. Seriously. So easy. But, I warn you...it requires a brutal honesty with yourself if you want it to work.

I learned of this beautiful practice a few years ago in a creative writing class, and in a very Cherylish sort of way (I didn't say childish), questioned the how of it. With all due respect, I told the instructor that I simply could NOT do this long hand, would have to be on the 'puter. She just smiled. I was looking for a debate, wanted her to defend this archaic notion of long-handedness. What I got, tho was just a gentle nudge, suggesting I should just try it. So Julia Cameronish. Sigh.

Anyway, I picked back up my Morning Pages a few days ago. Gotta say . . . it works. Every. Time. No. Kidding.

After writing my three pages, I somehow could think more clearly to make my to-do list. My mind was naturally able to prioritize my day. Ideas started popping like popcorn, confusion faded into clarity, dreams sparkled in the morning light, and plans on how to realize those dreams came floating right on into my brain. Was I ready for the day? You bet I was. And this only took like 20 minutes.

Is there anything else you can do for 20 minutes that offers you that? I can't tell you the science behind why it works. I just know that it does.

I encourage you to try Morning Pages for yourself. If you wanna learn more about it, check out Julia Cameron's website The Artist's Way. I promise you will not be sorry. Because, face it, the weight loss journey can be really really tough and overwhelming sometimes. I think this little, simple tool will help a lot of us keep on keeping on.

Are you familiar with morning pages? If not, are you willing to give it a try, say for a week? If you are familiar, have you practiced it and what were your personal results?

Keep moving forward,

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons


  1. I LOVE morning pages...Absolutely LOVE them..Been doing them for many, many years. It's like my morning meditation.

  2. I had one of those moments yesterday. And I found a song to speak the words for me...called "Life is Beautiful" by Vega 4. have a listen. I bet it will speak to you.

    I keep meaning to start The Artists Way..and havne't done that yet. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I bet it would definitely be a great structure for me to start writing my book.


  3. My mom told me a few days ago that I just need to write every day. Whether it is for a novel, a short story or just stream of consciousness, she said "Just write Holly!" She's always been a cheerleader in my desire to write. And she knows my fears too. Morning Pages sounds like a wonderful way to start my daily writing. Looking around at the Artist's Way website, I'm pretty stoked to do some 'Artist's Dates' too! Thanks for the resource Cheryl!

  4. @Jules - Its something that once you try it, its very tough to give it up! Glad it blesses your life so much!

    @Cinderita - I picked up a book at Half Priced Books a week or so ago called The Writing Diet - guess who wrote it? Julia Cameron! I plan to read, do, and review here.

    @Holly - You would LOVE morning pages Holly! Another woman told me that she does her morning pages in the evening! Whatever works, eh? :) Hope you find the time to give MP a try...let me know what you think if you do!

  5. Ive been doing my morning pages for about ten years now.
    Theyve change my life.

    writing and NONWRITING life.

  6. It's funny, I just posted a blog a few days ago referencing my Morning Pages - LOVE THEM! The creativity that comes out is wonderful. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

  7. I do a bible reading and that helps me get started in a positive direction. So important to really connect with ourselves.