I still remember my first day of morning pages 5 years ago. I don’t remember what I wrote about, but I remember feeling anxious to face my thoughts. Morning pages are an exercise in free writing the thoughts that come to your head without editing them.
What I felt was not discomfort but relief. I told myself that I would try it just for a few days and see what it was like. Today, this writing practice is my lifeline.
Having anxiety feels like there is this steady charge of energy in my head. It’s always on at a low hum, but depending on life circumstances, that electric charge can get bumped up a few notches.
The Little Fuckers – a chorus of critical and judgmental voices in my head – chatter at an ever higher volume. They tell me that everything I have done, am doing, and will do is wrong, all wrong, so very wrong. Listening to them, it’s all I can do not to set everything in my path ablaze.
In any profession, that anxiety is difficult, but as a creative it’s particularly difficult, because I need to be able to create without worrying about what the outcome will be.
If you are a writer who is trying to find your voice, then any chatter from an inner critic is enough to silence the very thing that makes you unique.
That’s where morning pages come in. The benefits of this routine are for the kind of person who has decided that fulfilling their purpose is more important to than the discomfort caused by reaching for it.
Clarity. Free writing over 1,000 words every day is an outlet for your Little Fuckers. Giving them an outlet creates space in your head for the more important matters.
Creativity. When you know that nobody is going to read that shit, you get to say anything you want. You have space to practice and play and experiment with voice without any judgment.
Focus. When the chorus of Little Fuckers quiet down, it’s easier to concentrate on more demanding projects.
Self Awareness. You discover when you are making excuses, being lazy, going in circles, getting distracted, and wasting your time. When you clear that out of the way, you discover your gift, contribution, purpose, and voice.
If you’ve always wondered whether Morning Pages could help you but are anxious about that whole turning inward thing, here’s a good place to start.
- Set aside time. Go to bed earlier, so you have 45 minutes to an hour. Make yourself a cup of something that will wake you up and put you in a good mood.
- Set up your space. Know where you’re going to write and set up materials. The fewer choices you have to make in the morning, the more successful you will be.
- Try it just for a few days. It’s too soon to stress out over making this your routine for success! First see if you can even stomach it, and get over that initial fear and anxiety.
Stick with it, and you won’t be able to start your day without it. The dreams that always get put on the back burner will become real, and you will find your voice.
Photo by Alexey Suslyakov on Unsplash