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The Morning Pages is a practice where we try to write anything that comes to our mind and fill up at least three pages. It’s an unfiltered look into our minds and lets loose our stream of consciousness. The idea is to create new ideas or goals that are just beneath the surface of our noise-filled lives. I’ve been having a tough go at this practice. Our favorite podcast, [Whims at Work], have the hosts working their way through their Morning Pages. Here are a couple of episodes to ponder upon.
Heck, I’ll struggle to come up with even one solid page of journal writing. Three pages sounds like a goal that only a master writer such as Stephen King can come up with on a daily basis. He says that he [writes at least 2,000 words a day].
I don’t how he does it but he’s on a Kung Fu black belt level all on his own. My little white belt barely holds my pants up. Now I remember @joebuhlig say that it’s the third page that holds the magic sauce. The first two pages gets the minor details out of the way as we try to wade through the mess in our mind and get to the magical third page that should hold the golden treasure bucket that reveals the mythical unicorn we’ve been chasing.
Working out my writing muscles
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I view writing and journaling as a workout. I am not going to do a marathon when I haven’t even completed a 5K race yet. I have to start off small. I might do several 5K races first before I graduate to half marathon events. After a few more half marathons under my belt, I can graduate up to the full marathon race.
I’ve found the Morning Pages to be a difficult endeavor. It forces you to crawl deep inside your head to bubble upwards those goals and dreams that are sequestered deep inside. Many beginners start and stop early in the adoption process. I think it might pay better start small and eventually work my way up to the three Morning Pages.
My writing tends to come in spurts. I write sporadically throughout the day and week using Day One on my Mac or iPad. It could be a small paragraph or a long form essay as I try to explore issues that are going on inside my head. I might be inspired by an event that is happening right before my eyes. It’s a spur of the moment thing when I write. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m writing about. I need to capture it before that stardust floats away like dust in the wind.
Maybe I’m missing the point of the Morning Pages? I just can’t imagine sitting in a desk for an hour trying to write the same thoughts I’ve been having for the past week. It sounds like writers block until I get that aha moment, for now what I’ve been doing seems to work.
I’ve decided to turn to J.D. Meier’s Friday Reflection as a way to get to my weekly goals which eventually builds up into a larger goal. At the end of each week, I review my collection of journal entries to come up with a theme or trend that happened. I write down three things that went well this week. Next I write down three things to improve on for next week. Then I look for trends that pop up. Sometimes my ideas pop up out of nowhere and don’t necessarily pop up in the three Morning Pages. You can see an example of this in @justindirose’s A Productivity Journal.
I work my writing muscles slowly over time. One paragraph suddenly turns into half a page. That half page works up to a full page. Then I might get up to two pages. Maybe I’ll become prolific and get up to the three magical Morning Pages. It all starts off small with the Agile Results Friday Reflection.
You can read more about the Friday vision in J.D. Meier’s excellent book here:
If you’ve found the Morning Pages helpful to you or if you practice a different technique at goal creation, give a shout out and tell us what you have working for you!