Productivity & Creativity Tip: Morning Pages

Morning PagesIf we’ve ever had any kind of discussion on productivity, creativity, focus, goal-setting, getting out of one’s head, or anything tangentially related to those things, you’ve almost certainly heard me sing the praises of Morning Pages.

The concept comes from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which I encountered in 2012. Danielle Krysa was the first to recommend it to me at Girl Crush Philly, and then a really amazing musician friend named Lauryn Peacock recommended it a couple weeks later. Two recommendations in such quick succession got my attention.

The book and the process themselves are pretty amazing, but the part that sticks with me, even after having finished the process, is Morning Pages.

Morning Pages are three pages written by hand every morning. These words aren’t for an audience. They’re totally stream of consciousness, just whatever floats into your head and out of your pen. Whatever you’re thinking through or worrying about. A snippet of conversation you heard in a coffee shop last weekend. A memory from when you were a child. A song you recognize but can’t remember the name of. The argument you had with your mother or your partner this morning. There’s no concern for transitions, just for getting the words out.

The pages themselves aren’t serious, but the discipline of writing them is. And even though I’m not terribly disciplined about them (I hardly ever do them in the morning), especially when I’m not actively going through The Artist’s Way book, they’re still useful.

When I’m overwhelmed with different projects and competing demands on my time, I sit down and write three pages. When I feel out of sorts and unfocused (and like I’ve spent too much time reading the internet), I sit down and write three pages. When something’s bothering me and I’m not quite sure why or how to name it, I sit down and write three pages.

It may sound like a waste of time, but taking this small break to settle myself and articulate what I’m thinking about helps my mind to slow down long enough to make a plan. I come out on the other side calmer and more prepared for whatever’s ahead.