Morning (Daily) Pages (FAQ)

We’ll use this page to share tips, tricks and insights into using Morning Pages. Feel free to add your comments as you work with Morning Pages.

Julia Cameron envisions Morning Pages as a way to clear out the clutter in your head to set yourself up for the best day ever. Think of it like combing your hair and brushing your teeth before heading out to work in the morning.

Doing MPs is a practice that you have to learn and adapt to your own life. It takes some thinking through and planning.

Do I have to do Morning Pages first thing in the morning?

No, but you should try to do them before you dive into your day, even if it means getting up a half hour earlier.

I (Chris) am a morning person. I wake up raring to go, so MPs are an easy thing to fit into my life.

Cee might get out of bed in the morning, but it takes her a good two hours before her head is really engaged. She handles a lot of mundane tasks before she sits down to write.

Cee suggests that if you aren’t a morning person, that you can try to take time right before bed to do your mental decluttering. If will probably help you sleep better, and give you a head start the next day.

The important thing is to get the practice going, and to try to do it at about the same time every day.

Where to write?

Try to not only set aside time for your MPs, but also a place to write. Can you find a space in your home where you can write undisturbed for 15 to 30 minutes? Or is it better for you to head to a coffee shop on your way to work? Can you get up and do the same thing on your days off?

Me Time!

Lay out the ground rules for friends and family. Get them to agree to leave you alone during your writing time. And stay firm about that. You’re only talking about a few minutes a day. They’ll survive.

Turn off your phone and ignore your email.

Turn off your phone and don’t check your email until AFTER you’ve done your MPs. If you don’t, you’ll get distracted and lose your discipline. You can’t declutter your head when you’re jamming new things into it at the same time. All of that can wait a couple of minutes.

Keep them private.

MPs are a private dumping ground. Never, ever share them with anyone else, unless you make a deliberate choice to do so.

Don’t re-read them.

MPs are a place to vent and throw things away. You wouldn’t empty your trash bins on your kitchen floor and double check that you really wanted to throw all that muck out before taking the bin to the curb. The same thing applies here.

There will be time during this class that you will be told to go back and read something. That’s okay. Just don’t make a habit of doing that because it gives power to your inner critic.

Dealing with distractions!

Things are going to surface when you’re writing. That’s the purpose of MPs. That’s a good thing. Some of the ideas that pop into your head are actionable. I keep a small notepad nearby for those, and just jot down a quick reminder. I don’t let those thoughts interrupt my writing, but I’m also not willing to forget about them. Jot it down then turn back to your pages.

I don’t know what to write.

That will happen. When that happens to me (Chris), I write things like “I’m feeling really twitchy and restless today. Don’t know why but I am.” I’ll try to capture my feelings, but if the doesn’t work I’ll write, “I don’t know what to write. Nothing is connecting in my head.” Just start with something like that and keep writing, even if all that you do is fill the page with the same sentence over and over again. Eventually your head will rebel and start spitting out more relevant things.

I already keep a journal / diary.

I (Chris) have been doing Morning Pages off and on for years now. I’m someone who journals daily, so Morning Pages are easier for me than for anyone who is facing a blank piece of paper for the first time. That being said, I only use MPs when I feel like I need them (and when I’m doing this class). My journal normally takes care of cleaning out my head. I journal throughout the day, but I always start with a morning entry just as I wake up. What sets it aside from MPs is that my journal entry doesn’t always run to three pages. In fact, it seldom does.  MPs force you to declutter.

17 Comments

  1. Good morning Chris from Wellington NZ. I’m looking forward to restarting MPs. I’ve used them on and off for about twelve years and always suggested using them to my life coaching clients. IWhen i do them it’s sitting up in bed with my first cup of tea.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sitting up in bed with your first cuppa sounds wonderfully luxurious to me. 🙂 My cats and dog would never allow that! I have to get them settled first and then take that wonderful “me time”.

      I’ve had an on and off relationship with MPs, too. I’m doing them now for the class.

      Nancy raised the point that she’s already keeping a journal. Perhaps you can speak to the difference between regular journalling and MPs a bit more eloquently than I?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t decided yet what to do about the morning pages. I recently started using a bullet journal and am doing a similar thing at night, with listing out what needs to be done and when, my reflections on the day, and anything else I need to know or offload from my brain.

    I think the morning pages are a good idea, but need to think further on whether I’m already doing something similar or will be with some minor modifications.

    Nancy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I bullet journal, too, Nancy. The MPs have a different purpose. They get you into deeper layers where you’ve been stuffing things down and give you some breathing room to deal with them. So all of it has a different slant. May I suggest doing MPs for at least a week, just to participate in the class fully, and then see what you want to do? It does mean a change in your routine and time commitment, I know. Maybe Judith can chime in and talk more about her experience.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Or another thought I had reading your first comment. Do your morning pages at night and just expand on what you add to your bullet journal. Morning pages are a way to clear the clutter from your day. So why not do it before bed and get a good nights rest and wake up refreshed and eager for the day.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That was my thought. I’ve tried it now the last few nights and am pleased with it. Mornings are out in any event. With three old dogs, the first activities of the morning are to get the dogs out before they pee and clean up from whoever couldn’t hold it overnight (insert eye roll). Then, of course, feed them. FINALLY I can take care of myself 🙂

            It could be worse. At least it’s not kids anymore unless I’m visiting my daughter.

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            1. I get the whole dogs thing. I have one dog and two cats who get up with me and are clamoring for their breakfast. I get them taken care of so I can have some peace and quiet before I do my MPs. I’d try them in the evening but I am such a morning person that I’m not sharp enough to write that long in the evening. You can ask Cee. LOL

              Do what works best for you! And thanks for sharing your feedback.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. What I like about doing it at night is it really clears my brain for bed. But like you, when I was working, I was not functional enough at night to do it then. I’m not sure Cee realizes that I retired last year. I’d finally had enough of all the tax law changes and overtime. Now I’m delving into my writing and photography.

                Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve done morning pages in the past but not for several years now. Now that I’m caring for my husband I may have to do evening pages. He goes to bed very early, and that will give me some alone time. No matter what time I get up in the morning, he wakes up and gets up, too. If I try to get up half an hour earlier to write morning pages, he’ll just get up at the same time. LOL I could get up at 4 a.m., and so would he!

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    1. Deb, I think that’s a good idea. The point of MPs is to get some quiet time to yourself where you can sort through the clutter and free up your head. If that works best in the evening, I’d say go it. This is a tool that has to be adaptable and work for you.

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        1. The last couple of days, I’m trying writing at night too. So we can share notes back and forth on how it is going. I’m not an early morning person, so Chris is graciously giving me a half hour of me time in the evening. Previously I had been taking time out around 10 am but decided to switch it evenings for now.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve done MPs on and off over the last couple of years and look forward to getting back into the 3 pages of discipline! I’m a morning person in love with her several hours of quiet time first thing in the day so that’s when I will write 💙

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  5. I did my MP the last two days in the morning (because it was a weekend), but I was trying to rush, because I had a lot on my to-do list. My hand hurt and it wasn’t relaxing one little bit! :o) I think I’ll try it at night and see if I can brain dump/de-stress from the day and see if that works better.

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