This morning, I wrote my 3 morning pages for Day 19 of my 90 day challenge. Writing has been my preferred way of processing my thoughts for years now and I've enjoyed journaling, travel journaling and making lists for as long as I can remember.
During my travels, writing is always important for me as it allows me to process any reactions I can't always show in front of locals when dealing with culture shock. Another great aspect of travel journalling is being able to record the full experience of a moment and knowing that I read back on it later or even years in the future I can be straight back in the moment.
Whilst travelling, I write at all times of the day without any set schedule or regularity. Although I've tried morning pages as part of that, I haven't always stuck to it despite seeing the benefits. So why would I start now and stick to it? Maybe lockdown provides me with an ability to take time out in the morning to write a set amount of pages without feeling the need to rush out and start my day. That could be a reason. Another could be that I've recently enjoyed doing a silent retreat where writing featured quite heavily throughout. Recently, the podcasts I've listened to have all seemed to mention the benefits of Morning Pages and 'The Artists Way' by Julia Cameron which has influenced and inspired them greatly.
Around 3 weeks ago, I started to look differently at what Morning Pages could bring me and agreed to the 90 day challenge where rather than starting and stopping, I would dedicate time and effort to complete it.
What are Morning Pages? This is where you write 3 pages (A4 size it seems) everyday with the view of not showing them to anyone or reading back over them. Simply allow the stream of consciousness to come through your pen/pencil to be captured on the paper. Morning is apparently a good time to do this and I have found that when I've had to leave it till later, then I am far too distracted to write so it takes much longer and thoughts are not necessarily as deep as they could be. Some choose a notebook to keep all the writing together in one place whilst others choose to write on separate sheets of paper and collect them in an envelope that they put away somewhere hidden away. I'm not a natural morning person so the fact that I've stuck to it shows that there is value in it for me.
What are the benefits of Morning Pages? I've found a few benefits for me which could of course be linked to the fact that this is happening during lockdown so I'll be interested in seeing if this continues once lockdown is lifted more and more. I've noticed that writing down my thoughts first thing in the morning means that I can let go of any concerns or distracting thoughts before starting my day. Some days, I'll write down creative thoughts, ideas or poems and there may be a business idea coming through which is then actioned in the day.
There are also other days when nothing really interesting or important comes through and still I write 3 pages of something and nothing whilst other days, my pen gets to the end of those all important 3 pages and it still carries on. I think the most in one day so far is 9 pages and I luckily had the time to keep on writing and got it all out before carrying on free of all those thoughts.
I imagine when I get to the end of my 90 day challenge that the wish/need to read back over all those pages will either be strongly there to see what has changed or the opposite feeling of simply wishing to leave them, shred them or burn them will take over. Who knows, for now I'm just happy to write each morning getting my 3 pages out of me before breakfast or whilst having my morning coffee.
An area which interests me is whether someone who has never used writing before as a coping strategy, would find the same benefits as I have. Would they find so much more to say to finally let it all flow out or would the words, thoughts or more need greater encouragement? Maybe the benefits would be seen and acknowledged sooner than 3 weeks or would they need longer to welcome morning pages into their daily routine?
If you are such a person then please let me know how you get on. As I'm only on day 19, I'll be updating further into the process so feel free to ask me any questions or leave your comments.