How to wake up with a clearer mind, better ideas, and less anxiety with the Morning Pages

What does your morning look like?

For many people, it’s probably the ringing of your alarm clock, following that “oh shit! I’m late” feeling.

No lie. How we start our morning reflects how our day goes for the rest of the day.

If you wake up in a shitty mood, you’re most likely carry that shitty rushed mood for the rest of the day.

It’s actually why I set a morning routine. Here’s my routine. Affiliate links below.

  • Brush my teeth
  • Take a morning dump (very important btw)
  • Sip on my cold brew coffee with some pomegranate white tea 
  • Plan my day with my Panda Planner (includes gratitude, goal setting, and affirmations)
  • Workout (yoga, powerlifting, jiu jitsu)
  • Read a book for 15-30 minutes
  • Write my “morning pages” outlined in Linda Cameron’s The Artist’s Way

As you can tell, I take productivity very seriously.

Getting shit done
Getting shit done in the morning

But out of everything, the morning pages is the most important part of my morning routine.

If you want to clear your mind, think of better ideas, and lessen anxiety, try out the morning pages.

Today you’ll learn everything you need to know about the morning pages including:

  • What are the morning pages
  • How to do the morning pages
  • A better way to do the morning pages

Everyone has their own way to do their own morning pages, but today I’m sharing the most effective way.

You’ll learn how to reap all the benefits of the morning pages within 15 minutes.

What are the morning pages?

The Morning Pages is a journaling practice introduced by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. It’s a book designed to help blocked creatives get unblocked.

The artist's way

I found this book initially when trying to start my blog and working as a pharmacy manager. I constantly ran into writer’s block, especially after those stressful and overwhelming days at the pharmacy. 

Even though it’s meant for “artists“, it’s great for adding back fun and excitement in your life. And it’s perfect for those feeling stuck, bored, and unfulfilled in their work and life.

The only requirement? Write three pages or 750 words.

I know what you’re thinking.

God damn Kevin. Three pages sounds like a lot. As someone who hated writing, I guarantee you that this is different.

Unlike those essays from high school, the morning pages is a chance to write about the things you actually give a fuck about.

Journaling definitely sounds hippie as fuck, but there’s studies suggesting that journaling helps with…

Sure. These aren’t double blind, randomized, controlled trials. But then again… are drug companies really going to sponsor studies about journaling?

If anything, the morning pages gives you an opportunity to write out your thoughts for 15 to 20 minutes. It doesn’t hurt to just try.

How to do the morning pages

Write three pages. That’s it.

You can write it out by long hand on a Moleskine notebook or type it out. You can do it first thing in the morning (recommended) or at night before you sleep.

It doesn’t matter what you write about. And that’s the thing that I love about the morning pages. No thinking, no analyzing, no stressing.

If you’re drawing a blank, you can literally write “I have no idea what I want to write today” for 3 pages. Even that counts.

What matters is that you just write. And do not stop until you’ve hit three pages.

How often do we get the chance to let out our thoughts and put it to paper?

At times, it feels like verbal diarrhea. And it’s ok. Don’t judge or hold back anything. Give yourself permission to write “shit content”. The morning pages also isn’t for anyone else to read.

Even Linda Cameron even says that you shouldn’t reread them at all.

“Do not reread these pages or allow anyone else to read them. Ideally, stick them in a large manila envelope, or hide them somewhere.”

Typically I’ll start my morning pages with what I’m excited for or grateful for.

Sometimes my morning pages will transform into the Gary Vee show, where it’s a bunch of random Q&As.

They can sometimes be profound and remind me of Reddit’s Shower Thoughts. I’ll go balls deep into random life thoughts, obstacles, or opportunities that I’m overlooking.

Reddit's Shower Thoughts

Other times, it’s a pile of shit. If I ever read them out loud, it would make the ramblings of the schizophrenics on LA’s skid row sound sane.

You simply can’t fuck up… other than not doing them at all.

better way to do the morning pages

When I first attempted the morning pages, it took me two hours. Why? One word. Distraction. I hate you push notifications.

Sure. You can download the News Feed Eradicator for Facebook to get rid of the distractions. Or you can use tools to help you stay focused.

The number app I recommend using for your morning pages is The Most Dangerous Writing App, which I ironically found on my friend’s Facebook newsfeed.

It’s works like this:

  • You set your time or word count for your session
  • You click the “start writing” button
  • Don’t stop writing or it’ll destroy your progress if you stop typing

The Most Dangerous Writing App

You heard me right. It deletes your progress once you stop typing.

Failing the most dangerous writing app

No lie. This app feels like a video game and is impossible to get distracted. That’s why it’s perfect for the morning pages. For the morning pages I suggest these settings…

By the way, you can change the session goal the by changing the url. You can also use this tool when trying to write a “shitty” first draft as well.

Some people say that writing your morning pages by hand is more effective. But for myself, staying focused is more important.

How the morning pages creates more time

At first glance, it seems like you’re spending more time writing the morning pages, but I’ve found that it creates more time. How?

The morning pages is a chance when I tune into my thoughts and emotions. Once I see what bothers me the most, I set my priorities for the day based off the opportunities and obstacles in my life.

And no lie. It feels good not to carry bullshit throughout the day. I think clearly and move efficientlyCreativity seems to just flow.

Some of my best ideas has come from the morning pages including…

When I skip a day, the anxiety comes back. Trying to be creative while stressed is like taking a shit while clenching your butthole. Nothing ever comes out.

Every time I write my morning pages

I realize one thing… the truth.

It’s a constant reminder of the two choices we have in life when we face difficult times

  1. Do something about it
  2. Do nothing and continue being miserable

It allows you to be honest about your life problems. After all, you can’t bullshit yourself.

No lie. It’s hard writing. There are days when I don’t want to write at all. Or days when I wake up late and feel that I don’t have enough time. But either way, it requires consistent effort to see the benefits of the morning pages.

Everyone has hard times

As I’m currently writing this, I’m dealing with the loss of my dad and isolation from launching a business.

Avoiding my problems isn’t going to make them go away. The only thing that can? Action.

When we can change our how we feel, we can our thoughts. When we can change our thoughts, we can change our actions. The psychology “tri-force” baby.

The cognitive triforce

Finally if you have a morning routine, share it below. I would love to hear from you. 

Until next time,

Kevin Yee


ABOUT KEVIN YEE
This article was written by Kevin Yee and posted at RefugeeHustle.com. To get posts like this delivered once a week, for free in your inbox click here to automatically subscribe.

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