In an attempt to improve my writing capabilities, I have been trying to read and write more regularly. Since I don’t always have something to blog about and because I don’t want to stress myself out by trying to blog every day, I have been seeking alternative ways to stimulate my writing muscle.
About a month ago, I started this journey by working on the idea list exercises in Become An Idea Machine every day. Sometimes twice a day! This was all well and good but the exercises are to make lists and the lists aren’t always that long. I wanted something with a bit more substance, I wanted to write more.
But what am I going to write about? After doing some research on the subject, I came across the concept of “Morning Pages”. Best as I can tell, the concept was created by Julia Cameron and was featured in her book, The Artist’s Way. Full disclosure, I haven’t read the book (it’s on my list) but the concept is regurgitated across the web without much citation.
The concept is simple; write three pages a day, first thing in the morning. I think they are supposed to be handwritten, but I have opted to type it out because I really don’t want to have another piece of paper in my life. Since I am typing I am aiming for 750 words or more. A bit more research yielded that three pages is the equivalent of 750 words. There are even sites dedicated to this number.
What do you write about? The content is supposed to be a brain dump. Simply put, you can write about anything. The point is to get the words on the page and not to be productive in some way. This is how it differs from my blog. My blog is full of topics whereas my morning pages are more of a journal. They aren’t for anyone else to read, just me.
Tim Ferriss once said that journaling is “the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found”. I can’t speak on the level of going to see a therapist but I can tell you that morning pages have replaced my meditation ritual. Getting the words out of my head frees me up for the rest of the day.
Some days I feel a great weight lifted off my shoulders as I write, other days I feel inspired to write some more. I feel as if my ability to knock out a blog post has improved dramatically since I decided to start my day by writing out three pages. I’m also amazed at how often I run over the 750 words, getting well into the 1200 word range from time to time.
I have made this writing activity a part of my daily routine and have kept with it for the last two weeks. Waking up and knocking out this task takes less than half of an hour but the benefits have been immense.