Today marks six months of writing morning pages. How unbelievable is that? For some reason, I took 3 weeks off in late May and early June. I sometimes do this: I’ll be on a roll with something and then all of a sudden I stop. Then I forget to start again! Does that ever happen to you? It happens to me all of the time, especially with exercise. But exercise is something that I dread and I have always looked forward to taking the time to journal, so I’m not sure what was up with that. I’m just glad that I was able to restart!
Don’t know what morning pages are? Here is the first time I blogged about them. In a nutshell, they were defined by Julia Cameron in her book, “The Artist’s Way.” She suggests writing three pages of whatever comes into your mind – whatever you’re worrying about, whatever you’re sad about, the things you’re excited about, your fears – anything! It doesn’t have to flow. It doesn’t have to make sense. You don’t need an introduction, supporting sentences, and a conclusion. You just need the words that are floating around in your head. And my anxiety is often roaring, so I have a TON of words floating around!
Julia Cameron’s model for Morning Pages is to write three pages a day. I wrote three pages a day in my moleskine notebook for about 3 months and it would take me about an hour a morning. When I switched to my Leuchtturm1917, it was just slightly larger and I noticed that it was taking me longer to fill up those pages. Unfortunately, spending more than an hour a morning would be too difficult for me to manage (a 2 and a 3 year old in the house and trying to get ready for work in the morning will crunch your time a bit!), so I shortened it two pages. I’m finding that it takes about 45-50 minutes to write those two pages, which I think is a sufficient length of time to get my worry thoughts out on the page.
Three months ago I wrote a blog post on how I was able to get up early enough to write in my journal every day. Those directions still apply. But despite those three weeks that I didn’t write, I don’t actually need to go through such a rigmarole each morning to get out of bed. I genuinely crave that quiet time with my notebook. And trust me – it’s not about creating art or anything that others will find useful. Most mornings, I know that my entire family will still be asleep and I can sit in QUIET and really think about the things that are weighing on me.
If you’re a parent, you know that “quiet” rarely exists in your life! How privileged we are to get an hour of quiet time with no one demanding our attention. No cleaning up the spills and the messes that become a routine part of life. But here’s a whole hour that’s mine and is RARELY interrupted.
And for a completely superficial reason? It’s pretty. I have notebooks filling up with rows and rows of writing. I just love that! I love how the texture of the page changes after I’ve written on it. I love how it feels when I rub my fingers over the writing and feel the little crinkles left behind. I know that I’m not the only one!
What have I noticed since journaling daily?
- My thoughts are much more organized. When I have an idea, I blurt it out in my journal and then I’m able to arrange it in a way that makes sense and can be shared with the world. Otherwise, I’m just exploding words that make no sense to anyone else!
- I can compartmentalize a bit easier. I ruminate often and have never been able to understand how people just “don’t think about” something that’s bothering them. I mean, how can you NOT?! It’s ALL that I do! But now I tell myself to give it to the page and leave it there. And it’s working.
- I’m happier. I don’t know if it’s because I’m making time for something that I love or if the process of writing is helping me – either way, even my husband has commented that I seem much happier lately.
- I actually reach my goals. I write about the barriers I hit when I’m trying to finish a project. And then I think past those barriers and brainstorm different ways to tackle the problem.
The only downside is that I’m a bit more tired because I wake up so early, but the good outweighs the bad by far. How about you? Do you enjoy writing in a journal? How do you make time for it? How do you make sure you show up for it as often as possible?