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Morning Pages: FAQ

My #1 tip for creative unblocking is a tool I have taught— and used— for three decades: Morning Pages. Morning pages are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness morning writing, for your eyes only, done as quickly upon waking as possible. These pages do not have to be “good writing.” There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.

Some of the most common questions I’m asked about Morning Pages are:

Do Morning Pages really have to be done in the morning?
Yes. Doing pages in the morning allows us to plan and adjust the trajectory of a day that is about to happen. Doing pages in the evening— which is something more like journaling— allows us only to reflect on a day that we’re powerless to change.

Can I make coffee before starting Morning Pages?
Yes. I like to say that I teach adults— and I would never get in between someone and their caffeine. However, I recommend getting to the page as quickly as possible— the pages are most beneficial this way. So don’t spend 45 minutes brewing the perfect cup. I personally brew coffee the night before and drink it over ice in the morning.

Do the pages really have to be longhand?
Yes. Typing Morning Pages may give us more speed— but will give us less depth. Writing by hand connects us more intimately to our thoughts, and paradoxically is more efficient in terms of getting in touch with ourselves and opening the path to our most authentic selves and the day at hand.

What size paper do I use?
I have found that 3 single sides— so, three pages, not six— of 8.5x11 or A4 sized paper is the ideal amount. Smaller paper will cramp your thoughts. More than three pages risks going too deep into self-absorption.

Lessons I’ve learned from three decades of Morning Pages
Persistence pays off. Doing the pages day in and day out, even when they seem dull, boring or difficult, eventually leads to breakthroughs. Because they can be about anything, pages are like taking a whisk broom the to corners of our consciousness.

You don’t need to be in the mood to write. Any mood is a good mood to write from. Very often, pages that begin in crankiness end in jubilation. The pages themselves are mood altering, moving us from the negative to the positive.

Our nasty inner critic can be ignored or evaded, and it is not a good reason to avoid the pages. Make no mistake: our critic will weigh in with negative opinions. We learn to say, simply, “Thank you for sharing” and keep right on writing.

Positive ideas emerge seemingly at random. A simple phrase, seemingly of whimsy, may be the portal to a new piece of work. “Wouldn’t it be fun to try—“ we write, and at first we think, “Oh, I couldn’t do that. But we realize, at the pages repeated urging, that we are in fact able to try a new direction.

The pages are a tough love friend. They will nag repeatedly until we take action on an issue. Let us say we have an alcohol problem. The pages will say, “You were drunk last night.” Then they will say, “You were drunk again last night.” Then they will say, “Maybe you’ve got a little drinking problem.” Finally they will ask, “What do you plan to do about it?”

Pages completed give us a feeling of self esteem. On days when we feel unable to accomplish anything positive, we can nonetheless say to ourselves, “At least I did my pages.” These pages count on the positive side of our inner ledger.

No matter how scattered our pages may feel to us, they are still moving us forward. Unlike journal writing, where we set a topic and stick to it, pages skitter from topic to topic. It is as though we have ADD. Over time, the mere mentioning of a topic corners us into tackling it. Pages force us to move ahead, often in a direction that we at first dismiss as inconsequential, only later to see its importance.

There’s no such thing as something too petty to be mentioned in the pages. While our critic may tell us that we are nitpicking, experience shows us that there is no such thing as too trivial a topic to bear mention. We site something small, only to have it later be revealed as something large.

Pages train us to take risks— first of all, the risk of doing the pages themselves. Over time, the pages teach us to resist our resistance. What initially seems impossible becomes, at the pages’ urging, possible.

Pages always expand our creativity over time, making us far larger than we initially perceive. All of us have a creative ceiling— an imagined limit which we dare not transgress. Pages teach us that our creative ceilings are frequently false. We discover ourselves to be far larger and more expansive than our pre-pages negativity would allow.


39 Comments on "Morning Pages: FAQ"

  1. Happy to see you posting again. I just got back into morning pages so this is a nice reminder to just hang out on the page.

  2. Me contenta encontrar su blog!!!, ando por esa nube oscura y revuelta, pero con fe de encontrar el camino en escribir, que vaya me siento bloqueada y el miedo me paraliza para escribir, pero quiero sanar y voy a empezar por mis páginas de la mañana , para acercarme y vivir una vida creativa.

  3. Comencé a trabajar con el segundo libro “Nunca es tarde para recomenzar” a fines de agosto.
    He adquirido el hábito de escribir las páginas de la mañana y no puedo prescindir de hacerlo. También cumplo con las citas con el artista y he descubierto mi pasión por la fotografía.
    Muchas gracias por sus enseñanzas! Me han devuelvo a la vida, pues estaba en un letargo mortal. Beso grande!

  4. I am committed to doing my morning pages as I find that they reliably bring me unforeseen answers to questions I have and unforeseen questions that I benefit from exploring. My handwriting is small, though, so I have been writing a page a day instead of three. One page generally takes about 30 minutes. I’m wondering if this falls under the “no wrong way to do morning pages” heading or if I am missing something by not filing three pages.

  5. Maryanna says:

    PLEASE HELP! I did this project 7 years ago when I was childless. Now I have a 13 month old baby who wakes up at all hours, but I’m desperate to do this again. How do I do the pages first thing, if he’s screaming? It feels really hard to make a set schedule. He may be up at 5:30 am or earlier. I don’t know how early I can set my alarm.

    • Profile photo of Community Manager

      Hi Maryanna! Julia actually created these tools when she had a toddler, and she got up BEFORE the baby to write. I know it is very early! But this is what she did. I hope this is helpful!

      • Hi. I had year old twins when I did The Artist’s Way the first time. I would put them in their carriers with a bottle when they woke up because they could hold it themselves and write while they ate. Maybe you’ve stopped bottle feeding but it’s an idea. Good luck!

      • Maybe write as many pages as time allows each day. Eventually, your baby will have more or a routine. Your routine has been disrupted for a while. However, as a middle-aged mother of three grown children, I can share, with confidence, that everything has it’s “season”.

  6. Hello!
    Can I write my morning pages on my laptop?

  7. Morning pages are the best.

  8. I like to write every day. dreams, texts, what ever. With morning page it is different. Do I need a separate note book for the morning pages ? by the way I bought the book. It seems echtic and need time for each week. So I keep morning page and slowly will look at the others chapters…. thank you.

  9. Profile photo of Coleen Ferris

    Please help. I have a physical problem with my arms and hands (actually whole body – Fibromyalgia, they think). My forearm muscle tightens up and my hand goes numb after a couple minutes of writing. Can I use type the pages? I know it’s not as effective – so should I type more than 3? or how can I make them more effective? Thank you.

    • Profile photo of Julia Cameron

      Hi Coleen, If you are physically unable to write, type three pages instead– it is much better than doing nothing! I hope this is helpful.

  10. Dear Julia,

    I am so grateful to have discovered you! I just bought a few of your books on Amazon and have been doing a half-ass job with Morning Pages. This truly helps me so much to make it count and do it effectively. This blog post is informative and inspiring. It helps me understand why we do Morning Pages a certain way. I love your creative and spiritual perspective, tremendous knowledge and guidance. I look forward to trying the Right to Write video course next.

    Respectfully,
    Lisa

  11. America Berea Zamorano says:

    Apenas la encuentro, y esto surgio en una nota de radio que dio la señora Gaby Vargas. Necesito desesperadamente encontrar algo que me motive a leer, abrir mi mente, hablar mejor y soltar muchas cosas que hay en mi. Espero y deseo que hacer las paginas me ayuden.

  12. Would you recommend putting a date on each one or would that make them too much like a daily diary?

  13. I just want to understand how the daily Morning Pages are written. Can the pages cover multiple topics, should it be one topic or does it matter the approach to writing? Thank you —

  14. Hi! i understand the morning pages have to written in long hand, but can we type in the rest of the exercises ?

  15. should you keep the morning pages or can you throw away the next day

    • Profile photo of Community Manager

      You may absolutely throw out your MPs if you prefer– some people save them, some do not. Completely up to you!

    • rubix, I woke up with the same question. I dread the thought of dying and someone finding my morning pages and thinking I’m a complete lunatic! (Lol, I know how ridiculous it is to worry about what people may think after I’m dead.) I often wish I saved all my rantings and ravings, there were probably some rare jewels of wisdom to be found in there.

  16. Annie Burke says:

    Thank you.. THANK YOU.. I’ve been doing Morning Pages for a bit less than I week now.. but already had a deep faith in Affirmations.. and a belief that God was a benevolent, responsive, intelligent, responsive entity.. like a Great Friend.. who cared about me and protected me..
    I’ve felt the Hand of God in my life many times.. what you call synchronicity I too have experienced.. ( I don’t understand how atheists don’t feel it)
    Anyway.. have accomplished MORE in 4 days with my painting than in 3 months.!
    I want to HUG you!!
    What a generous, awesome woman you must be to share such Wisdom freely!
    I’ve been gently leading my Wonderful hard-working Nurse practitioner daughter to take better care of herself using the experiments in your book..
    I love her so.. I adore both my children.. my son’s a little harder to reach with suggestions.. but I’m hoping there’s a noticeable trickle down effect as I talk to them about some of my progress / revelations / experiences.
    So glad to find a way to Thank you!!
    With love and Best Wishes..
    You’re a True teacher..
    Annie

  17. michael brazda says:

    I am going to take the video course,”The Artists Way” for $150.00 Do I need to buy the book first or its included?

  18. Do you suggest ever going back to read our MPs?

    • Profile photo of Julia Cameron

      No need to re-read them, but if you want to, I suggest waiting 9 weeks, and then reading with 2 highlighters: one for insights and one for recurring issues.
      All the best!

  19. What to do with the morning pages? Do you keep them? Do you reread them or just draw a conclusion and throw them away?
    The last one is my approach. I am wondering if I am missing out on something.

  20. While checking if my question is answered is find the answer has already been there in the question above. THNAKS Julia!

    No need to re-read them, but if you want to, I suggest waiting 9 weeks, and then reading with 2 highlighters: one for insights and one for recurring issues.
    All the best!

  21. Do you recommend blank white or lined paper? (I’ve been using lined notebook paper.) Thanks!

  22. Do I HAVE to write by hands? Can I write with my computer instead? I use website like anyword.cc to write my morning pages because it is very convenient.

  23. Benedetta says:

    Hello! I’m reading your book “the artist’s way”. I’m doing the first week. I’m not sure about what I should do after the morning pages. I’ve understood that I have to:
    -write some positive affirmation about myself and creativity
    -let speak the censor with his negative stuff
    -answer to the censor transforming his bad affirmations in good.
    Have I understood right?
    Thanks and greetings from Italy!

    • Profile photo of Julia Cameron

      Dear Benedetta,
      This is correct– the Morning Pages are every day for the duration of the course, and the affirmations & blurts are something to do during the week they are assigned.

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