Morning Pages: 8 Lessons Learned

Today is day four of the morning pages exercise. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

1. Make Morning Pages a Priority

I almost skipped morning pages today. It wasn’t something I consciously chose to do. I just let myself get side-tracked. I started surfing around reading other peoples’ stuff, looking for inspiration, and before I knew it, an hour had passed, and I’d still not started writing.

I may have to change my morning routine, which typically looks like this. I roll out of bed and hit the bathroom. Then I grab a coffee. Next, I turn on my computer and check a few things. Then I finally sit down to write my morning pages. I think tomorrow I won’t turn on my computer until my morning pages are done.

2. Let Go of Results

When we start some new course of self-improvement, whether an exercise program, a spiritual practice or morning pages, we tend to expect immediate results. At least I do. And If I don’t see results pretty quickly, I tend to find reasons to stop doing the exercise. I decided this morning that I’d commit to doing morning pages for 30 days without any expectation of results.

3. Make Morning Pages a Special Ritual

Get clear about the reasons you’re doing this. For me, there are several reasons. First, writing is imperative to my business. Any successful online business is driven by relevant and informative content, and that starts with writing. Second, I’m doing this to become a better writer so I can write more, and touch more people with my writing.

Third, this has become a spiritual practice for me. Through this process, I’m reconnecting with myself; with my inner spirit. It’s a form of meditation. I’m reconnecting with my true self and the divine within me.

When I sit down to write, I have a hot cup of coffee or tea, and turn on Gregorian Chant Radio on Pandora. The music is soothing and relaxing and it sets a mood that reflects the special and spiritual nature of my ritual. Of course, if I don’t turn on my computer tomorrow, I’ll need to find a new source of music. Fortunately, I recorded some Gregorian chant music that I can download to my iPod.

4. Get a Good Notebook

I learned this the very first day when I tried to write on one of those notebooks with the binding on the side. The binding gets in the way when it’s on the side, so find a notebook with the binding on the top. It’s much easier to write that way. Also, because I tend to write small, I prefer wide-ruled instead of college ruled.

5. Get a Good Pen

A good pen is crucial when writing longhand. You want a pen that doesn’t require you to use a lot of downward pressure, or else your hand and arm will get sore pretty quickly. And you don’t want this process to be painful. I use a Pentel BL-17A Energel pen. You can pick one up at the local drugstore, an office products store, such as Staples or online at

6. Just Keep Going

I noticed this morning that my typical writing style is to go really slow and think about everything I’m writing. I would finish a sentence, and then stop to think about what I want to write next. It was like driving down the road, and suddenly, there’s a roadblock in the middle of the road. You’re stopped. Dead in your tracks. So, you just sit there and stare at the roadblock.

This is writing from the left side of your brain. The logical, analytical part of your brain. The whole idea with morning pages is to write from the right side of your brain. The creative, non-analytical side of your brain. So, if you find yourself stopped, just keep going. Even if that means you write something like “okay, I don’t know what to write now” until you’ve completed your three pages. The words will eventually begin to flow again.

7. Date Your Morning Pages Entries

I’m not quite sure why I think this is important, but I started doing it this morning. I think it has something to do with keeping track of how long I’ve been writing morning pages. A month from now, it might be cool to look back and say, “wow, I’ve been doing this for 30 days straight.” Or not. Who knows.

8. Pick Out Any Big Ideas for Future Articles

After you’re done writing your three pages, go back through and see if there are any big ideas that can serve as fodder for an article that you may actually publish. If you can pick out some big ideas, go ahead and start a draft article based on them. You don’t necessarily have to complete the article immediately, but at least you can get it started.

If you’re using WordPress, it’s really easy to do this. Just add a new post, give it a title and write the big ideas out in the post editor. Then you can simply hit the “Save Draft” button in the upper right corner. Whenever you’re ready to finish, go for it. I have several draft articles already saved in my WordPress control panel. I may never finish them, but at least they are started.

There are 13 brilliant comments

  1. I love the idea of this. Unfortunately I have a problem with my wrist so writing long hand is not easy especially when it is cold. I came across a website and just wanted to find out if you have heard anything about it.

  2. Great points.

    I think number 2 is crucial.
    We often think too much about it, try to prepare, imagine how others will react if they see what we’ve written, feel like we’ll be judged, worry about grammar and stuff.

    And all this prevents us from actually letting out thoughts out, clearing our minds and letting in the freedom, peace and joy that the morning pages exercise results in.

    Enjoying the process is also important. I love the way you make it clear why you started doing morning pages in the first place and remind yourself of it every now and then. Many people tend to give up when nothing happens after some time. But the point is to know the ‘why’ behind your actions.

    Turning it into a pleasant ritual is also a nice way to enjoy the experience. And we’ll even look forward to getting up in the morning so that we can have these 15 minutes of pleasure and creative energy.

    Thanks for sharing your lessons and how this writing practice helped you.


  3. RE pens… can I recommend the Kaweco Sport Rollerball pen, made in Germany. It uses small European-standard fountain pen ink cartridges and writes just like a fountain pen, BUT it has a roller-ball style writing tip, and hence is MUCH more resistant to leaking.
    After having discovered this pen on a trip to Berlin in 2011, I would never go back to any other pen.
    Regards, Mark.

  4. Fascinating. The Universe at work.

    Another Michael Pollock introduced me to the Artist’s Way last June and I’ve been doing Morning Pages ever since. My conclusions about the practice are running parallel to yours, although I still enjoy my longhand mornings. Best quality paper, bound at the top, perfect pen. NO COMPUTER first.

    They are taking me through some rough times and bringing me out stronger and happier than I’ve ever been.

    Couldn’t ignore the Michael Pollock connection. Have already grown from browsing your blog. I’ll be back.

    Make a good day!

    1. >>> Another Michael Pollock introduced me to the Artist’s Way last June and I’ve been doing Morning Pages ever since.

      So funny. Weeeeird the way the universe works. Thanks for the comment and the kind words.

  5. hi, thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I know about morning pages since 2007, but just started it four days ago. I found it unstoppable for me. meaing once I start to write, words just flow out and I have to tell myself to stop. I love it so far. but I must do it the first thing in the morning in order not to just record my day what happend so far. my writing is normally joyful. but I actaully want to unload something on my mind, but once I start writing, I don’t write those things. I don’t know why. I read the book that you are not suppose to go back to read it many weeks or month later. so I never turn back the pages… I think it would be interesting if you read it two month later at least.

    1. My pleasure S. I actually do go back and read mine now and again. Most of it’s mindless drivel, but there are a few good ideas scattered about as well.

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