I’m an advocated for the written word. I’m that person that secretly hopes that technology doesn’t get so advanced that actual hand writing becomes obsolete.
Ever since middle school I’ve kept a journal off and on. It started off as an assignment from my art teacher in order to get our creative juices flowing before classes each day but it’s something that I grew to love. We would spend 20 minutes every class answering a journal prompt and then drawing a picture to go with it.
After a while I decided to get my own personal journal that I’d keep at home.
I would either write about things that happened in my day or look up writing prompts when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write. Sometimes I would even write full song lyrics just so I could work on my handwriting.
But as I’d gotten older I wrote less and less. Life became busy with college courses, relationships, and work. And then when I entered the real work force doing 40+ hours a week, writing went out the window as I learned how to adult.
Every once in a while I’d grab a couple of blank sheets of paper and write a random journal entry just to get my thoughts out but I would just throw them away right after. Which I was okay with doing for the time being. It wasn’t safe to have that type of information laying around for anyone to have access to anyway.
Now fast forward to earlier this year.
I had a strong desire to write again. At this point in my life I was feeling overwhelmed with my job, being unsatisfied in my relationship, and wanting more for my life.
The idea of journaling came back into my head as a way to cope so I went and bought a new notebook but I didn’t know where to begin. I wasn’t interested in a “Dear Diary” style journal or using journaling prompts that felt unauthentic.
So I did some research on journaling styles and came across stream of consciousness writing.
Stream of consciousness writing is exactly how it sounds. You write your thoughts exactly how they come to your mind. No editing on paper. Or in your head. To me that sounded like the most authentic way of journaling and so I tried it.
But I wanted something slightly more structured so I kept looking. That’s when I came across Morning Pages.
What are Morning Pages?
Morning Pages are 3 pages long of stream of consciousness style writing. It’s done first thing in the morning as a way to prioritize the day ahead. Once you start writing you don’t stop until you have 3 pages full.
And remember: No editing.
It’s that simple and only takes about 30 minutes of your time.
Morning Pages are meant for you to feel whatever you want and think whatever you want. So if the first thing you think about in the morning is ” I’m tired and I don’t feel like doing this,” then write that.
After a page or so it pushes you past the superficial thoughts and gets you to write out the real gems. To be vulnerable and honest with yourself.
It’s highly important that it’s handwritten not typed. I didn’t have a problem with this because I enjoy writing, but the purpose is that it forces you to slow down and be more connected to the process and your emotions.
Oh and the biggest thing is to never let anyone read it. Not even yourself. At least for a few months. Give yourself a chance to write freely without judgment. Not even from yourself.
But how can something that simple be so life changing?
Honestly I was just looking for a way to express myself and deal with my life situation. But the more I wrote everyday the more I began to get clarity.
It was therapeutic.
I wrote about my worries and anxiety. The struggles in my relationship. My hopes for the future.
I didn’t go back and read anything until about 6 months later and I realized that I wasn’t myself. The pages that I wrote were borderline depressing and it inspired me to take charge of my life.
From that point on I made the decision that anything else that happens in my life is because of me.
There’s more to life than watching other people live it.
I left my long term relationship. I quit my part time job. I booked a trip to Costa Rica. I paid off my debt. I started my blog again. I began doing all of the things that I wanted to do for a really long time and felt so much freer for it.
My writing began to change. Those Morning Pages turned from depressing to inspiring. I started to write about all of the ways I wanted to improve my life. Sometimes there were bad days, and I complained about those too. But I always found a way to remember that I am in charge and I can choose how my story ends.
It became an essential part of my life and it still is. And now when I go back through old entries I see growth.
I’ve always been a writer but even if I wasn’t I’d still highly recommend anyone thinking about writing or journaling to try this.
Now I have to say that it won’t necessarily flip your life upside down like it did mine, but it’ll provide so much clarity.
You can write about whatever is on your mind. Any anxiety or stress, or angry feelings you have that you don’t want to express to anyone else. Your accomplishments. Your fears. Your doubts. Your hopes and dreams. It’s open season.
It may open up your creativity. It may help you feel more connected with yourself. It may even help you realize what you thought you wanted in life may not be what you want after all. Or it may just give you some peace of mind in this crazy world that we live in.