Writing Morning Pages

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What are Morning Pages?


Morning Pages are three pages of handwritten whatever-comes-to-mind-rubbish, done first thing in the morning. They are a daily brain dump. Nothing more, nothing less. They help you to get rid of the clutter in your brain.

Writing your Morning Pages will take you about 20-30 minutes. Don’t pause, don’t judge, don’t edit – just write. No one is going to read this. This is between you and you.

30 minutes a day is all it takes to get to know and accept the real you, to improve quality of life and experience more happiness. In this video Julia Cameron (author of The Artist’s Way, a must-read if you want to discover and recover your creativity) explains the concept of Morning Pages:


Why should I write them in the morning?


Because they are called Morning Pages, silly. 😉

Every morning, soon after waking up, you write three pages longhand. The idea is to start writing before your ego is awake, before its defenses are in place. You want to be caught off guard, vulnerable, honest. Your Morning Pages are a safe place to vent your hidden emotions.

You can try writing before bedtime, that’s a good habit as well, but the effect will be totally different. You’ll be reviewing the day, instead of laying down the track for the day that lies ahead. Remember, the first blow is half the battle: writing Morning Pages helps you to start your day with a clear head and a productive state of mind.


“The amazing thing is that stuff will start coming to you. I can’t explain it but it does.”


– Chris Winfield


Why write Morning Pages?


Writing Morning Pages will clear your mind, quiet your inner critic and your overactive mind, reduce anxiety and unleash creative ideas. These are just a few examples of what writing Morning Pages might bring you. There are many more reasons to start writing Morning Pages.

You should absolutely give them a try if you:


  • …love to write and would like to develop the habit of writing every day.
    Don’t try to start your day with writing perfect sentences. No writer does. You’ll be disappointed and you’ll probably give up writing all together within a few days. First develop the habit (sitting down, writing about whatever comes to mind), then slowly change the subject you’re writing about from incoherent thoughts into blog ideas or the outlines of your first novel. Do the creative brain dumping stuff in the morning and the editing and perfecting in the afternoon.
  • …want your thoughts to stop running circles in your head and have some peace and quiet up there.
    You tried meditation, but it’s just not for you. Morning Pages are good news – they’re an active form of meditation. Speaking of which, I dare to make a bold statement:


Morning pages are better than meditation.

Morning Pages perform spiritual chiropractic

I have tried meditation several times and I kept slipping from the practice. For me free writing works better than meditation. I think it’s because morning pages include solid grips on slippery thoughts. Once you nailed them, you can decide what to do with those thoughts and limiting beliefs. Keep ‘m or toss ‘m out?

Of course you can combine meditation and writing: first meditate, then write. I’m sure you’ll surprise yourself with the most beautiful thoughts and inspiring insights.

  • …want to get to know yourself better and grow as a person.
    Working on personal development is a proven recipe for more mental happiness).
  • …need honest answers to questions and issues that have been bothering you.
    And you already kind of suspect you have the answers 😉
  • …want to be in tune with your intuition, and know what’s most important in your life.
    Start listening to your heart and keep a focus on what and who is good for you.


“Everyone has this negative voice. It’s okay.
Let it speak up every morning and then be quiet for the rest of the day.”


Can anyone write Morning Pages?


Yes. Yes. And again, a big fat yes. You don’t have to be a writer to write Morning Pages – anyone can write them. Just fill up those three blank pages with words. And then do it again the next day. There’s nothing to it, just do it if you:

  • want to make a habit out of writing
  • want to be more productive
  • rack your brains too often
  • are anxious, restless or troubled
  • experience a lot of stress
  • are recovering from a burnout
  • want to unleash or boost your creativity
  • want to practice a form of meditation, without closing your eyes
  • want to digest traumatic experiences*

Even if, no, especially when you are just curious… try it!

*writing about past experiences can heal you, but please seek professional help if your memories and connected emotions are too upsetting to face alone.


How do I write Morning pages?


Writing Morning Pages is easy. Just buy yourself a beautiful notebook, take out your favorite pen, and start writing. You can’t go wrong. Anything that comes out is perfect. I’ll give you some detailed information on how I write my Morning Pages. I follow Julia Cameron’s recipe, but if you want to make changes: be our guest. It’s your start of your day: make it count.


Three pages

I choose to write three pages, just like Julia Cameron. The only difference: her pages (A4) are a bit bigger than mine (A5), so I’m done within 30 minutes. A4 didn’t work for me. It took me too long and I began to skip mornings. So I went back to my A5 notebook and I was back on track. Keep writing until the three pages are full. Do not pause, do not let your mind wonder off (without writing down where it’s going), do not read what you’ve written. Keep writing.


First thing in the morning

Write your Morning Pages first thing after waking up. Well, I do visit the bathroom first. And make myself a cup of coffee. This might mean that you have to get up earlier, to create some me-time for the writing. So be it. It won’t kill you. If you want some answers, some changes in your life, or whatever: do the work. Walk the talk. You can use your morning pages to complain about the early hour.



Why longhand? Wouldn’t it be faster to use a computer? Entrepreneur Chris Winfield explained that as follows:


“Writing by computer is a more emotionally detached practice. It helps keep our Inner Critic alive and well, since we are so easily able to go back and fix our mistakes. It yields us speed and distance, but not the depth that we are looking for.”


Keep that pen moving

Don’t stop, keep writing. Even if it’s nonsense, even if you don’t know what to write about, just write that down. A new thought will come – they always do.


For your eyes only

You must feel free to write whatever comes to mind, so make sure nobody else reads your pages. Julia Cameron strongly suggests you don’t reread them either (maybe after a month or so). Just let yourself go, without worrying about how you will feel looking back at them later on.


No judging, no editing

You want to disable the part of your brain that is responsible for criticizing, editing, judging, and interpreting — the neocortex. Only when your neocortex is off the page you  can experience freedom, creativity and flow.

How do you shut up your neocortex? Just tell it to. That’s the good thing about your neocortex: you can reason with it. Just tell yourself to pay no attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, neatness, or style. All that matters is the act of writing. Forget about correctness and quality. When you feel truly free, and nobody will ever read what you write, your neocortex feels safe enough to let down its guard, and let the real words out, so that you (and the rest of your brain) can read them.


But, then again, there are no rules


I advise you to start writing Morning Pages the way I described above. Don’t start changing things in the first ten days or so just because you don’t experience any change. Does it feel uncomfortable? Good! You’re obviously stepping out of your comfort zone… Just do the work. Any complaints? Write about them, in your Morning Pages. 😉

Try writing them for at least 10 days, preferably 30 days. After that, you can experiment with the form or the frequency, if you like. Maybe you do want to use a computer and write 750 words for your novel, each morning (750 words are approximately three pages). Maybe you’d like to skip writing during weekends. Or maybe for you two pages is enough. Maybe you want to answer a specific question, or start every day with a line like: today is going to be the best day ever. All is good. They are your Morning Pages, write them according to your rules. With Morning pages you can’t go wrong.


“Studies have shown that expressive writing and journaling about (either positive or traumatic) life experiences improve health, well-being and mood.” 


– source: NY Times


So just do them. The only rule is that you let go of the results. We always want to see results. Yesterday, preferably. It doesn’t work like that. Life doesn’t work like that. But I can promise you one thing: you don’t have to be a ‘believer’ or a woolly type to get results.


About Eva


Hi, I am Eva Smitt. I have been working as a copywriter since 1998. I loved my job. Until I didn’t anymore. That was weird. I felt completely lost. I had been writing other people’s stories for so long, that I completely forgot to ‘write’ my own story. Who was I? Where was I going in life?

Writing Morning Pages helped me to get back in touch with myself, my dreams and my goals. I want more people to experience the healing power of writing, so I became a writing coach. Everywhere I go, I try to inspire people to pick up that pen and just start writing. I do talks, I write blogs and I develop challenges and programs on the subject of writing. Mostly in Dutch, but my English is good enough to help people all over the world!

Stop hiding, stop making excuses and stop judging yourself. Unleash your inner power. Dare to dream. Dare to write. Dare to live. If you need guidance or coaching in any way, contact me. I’ll be more than happy to help you find the answers to the questions you have.