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Morning Pages: why 3 pages?

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, morning writing about anything. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages, and they are for your eyes only. Doing Morning Pages, we find that we go into our day with more clarity. Although they do take time (about 30-40 minutes), they actually make more time than they take because we move more efficiently through our day.
They are three, single-sided, 8.5x11 pages (so in other words, not 6 pages). Yes, they must be done in the morning. Yes, they must be done by hand.
Why three pages?
Ordinarily, the first page and a half is pretty easy. The second page and a half is more difficult, but it moves us into action. More than three pages invites self-obsession. It's a little bit like when you go to see a therapist, and you say "when will I see you again?" You're hoping they'll say "every day," but instead they say "how about in a week?"
Three pages seems to be the ideal length.

25 Comments on "Morning Pages: why 3 pages?"

  1. Dear Julia, thank you so much for this post!!! Now I will finally stop grumbling that I write my 3 MP’s in notebook which is A4 format, and for which I was sure that I was writing 6 “normal” pages :))) Ana.

    • Love that book and this is so true. I turn everything off dnriug the day when I’m writing. If anyone’s home, I put in earplugs!Barbarab4s last [type] ..[] Reply:February 20th, 2012 at 8:26 pmBarbara thank you for sharing that, about the earplugs. I’ve thought of doing that and then thought it was maybe too anti-social’ or judgemental’ or something. Crazy really when all I’m really looking for is silence and space to think, to reflect, to feel, to create.I’m in Week 4 of The Artist’s Way right now. The Morning Pages have been a Godsend and the Artist Dates, something I worried I’d not be able to figure out or be good at, have emerged each week in interesting ways and I’m thriving as a result.We all have so much to share ~ blessed are those who tune in, and turn out. So grateful you’re still here []

    • I won’t be doing it, but I have written a book; it was just not one that would be puhlsibed; it honestly wasn’t good enough and the idea wasn’t good enough. So, I begin again. I made a vow for 5 pages per day then. That is about 1500-2000 words a day or 45.000-60,000 per month. So, I think I did that one. Good luck! And, you are right; it does take commitment.Scott

  2. I’ve never been able to find why the three pages have to be longhand. Could you or someone explain why typing is not recommended?

    • Profile photo of Ton Hoeksma

      Typing is another activity than longhand writing. I believe that it is just that the words flow throughout your physical body through your hand onto the paper, instead of a mechanical action of just pressing a key to let appear words in a text document.

  3. Profile photo of Ton Hoeksma

    Dear Julia, thank you for this post. It is my own experience that although the 3 pages sometime are asking more than an hour of time it often learns me a lot when I’m finished writing. In some cases my hand seems to be an instrument for the other side of consciousness. Things that bother me are spontaneously transformed into answers. Would I write a little or just one page, it won’t happen to occur, while it is most on page 2 or 3 that the answers are revealed. So the discipline of 3 pages is just good.

  4. Profile photo of Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux

    I’ve been doing MP’s since about 2006. Even with an infant I would get up to do them (though the “start of the day” took on new meaning in those sleepless months). I recommend them to everyone.
    Doing them for so long has helped me give the Critic space to speak instead of always trying to shut it up. Very insightful and useful, and it saves me energy. I also am better able to hear when it is the Critic talking during the day.
    Here’s my ode and invitation to Morning Pages:


    Thanks so much for your writing. It really works for me!

  5. When I went to She Speaks someone briefly touched on how important morning pages were, but didn’t explain the process. I have been hoping to get clarity. Thank you so much. I feel more purposeful now and will get started!

  6. Christine Tiaré Stein says:

    Hi Julia,

    I have always wondered what size pages these MP should be written on? And why does it only take me around 15-20 minutes to scribble across 3 A3-sized pages…? I write fast to make sure I don’t use my head or start analysing or rationalising what I’m writing… what is your view on this…?

    Thanks very much in advance!!
    Christine Tiaré

  7. Sarah Cody says:

    I have small handwriting. Can I just write 2 pages instead?

  8. Jenna Chaplin says:

    I have to wonder about the rigidity of this instruction also. Somebody gave me a nice notebook that I have no other use for but the pages are about 7 x 10 inches not 8.5 x 11. So I could write 4 pages but it seems as though Julia would say ‘No, it absolutely MUST be 3 pages of 8.5 x 11. I really don’t get it. Some people’s handwriting is going to be larger than others and it might take them 20 mins. Others with smaller handwriting might take 40 mins. Of course I realize all this is very L-brain so maybe I’ll just use my new notebook anyway! I don’t think the Source is going to be too put out if I do.

  9. Dear Julia,

    I am writing you from Italy, I have just discovered the MPs. I just have one question: I have small handwriting too. Writing two pages takes me half an hour, and I write more or less 900 words (into Italian, which has longer words). Is it ok? Or do I have to spend more time and write 3 pages? Or maybe I have to try to write with a bigger handwriting to fit 3 pages with 750 words in half an hour?

    Thank you for your help.


  10. Mike Bessey says:

    I’ve been doing morning pages for nearly a year now and I am a complete convert… I do however object to this assertion about three pages. I have *very* small handwriting and fit about 750 words on a single page of A4. Having done my research the average seems to be from 250-350 so I’m essentially managing to fit those three pages on a single side of paper. I usually go to a page and a half which by that measure is a generous three pages for most people, I then use the rest of the second page for affirmations which I can easily fit three sets of five in with room to spare.

  11. I’m back to writing. There have been many times when I have found that writing has got me through turbulent times however I stop when things settle although perhaps haven’t resolved. So now I’m back and will stick with morning pages. I’m passing on my copy of The Artist’s Way and using The Artist’s Way for Retirement although it seems the wrong word for it.

    I don’t have a problem with 3 A4 pages first thing in the morning but I am wondering why they should be single-sided. It seems wasteful. I’ll try both and see if there is a difference. (And even in asking about this I can see how much I reveal about myself . . . writing has such power.)

  12. Xxx_steena says:

    Is it ok or recommended if we feel extremely blocked up or maybe have a very strong censor to also apply morning pages mid day?

  13. Hi Julia, all these years I thought 1 page was two sides of a page!!! Maybe that understanding is a Britishism. Oh well I think 3 sides will be much easier. I wondered why I was taking 90 minutes to do them! Love to you. I am very excited to begin The Vein of Gold in January. Dx

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