We all have our ups and downs, and navigating through it all can get pretty tough. One tool that’s consistently been in my toolbox is a little practice known as morning pages. Coined by Julia Cameron, the concept is as simple as it gets – just three pages of your thoughts, scribbled down every morning. You just kinda keep that pen moving! When a thought comes up, you keep writing!

Free Female Diary photo and picture

“But what do I write about?” you think. Write that down: “But what do I write about?”

Keep that pen moving until the 3 pages are over!

And before you know it, it’s just something you do. It’s part of who you are.

If you skip this routine, you might find yourself feeling a little disconnected from your own life. It’s like missing a meeting with the most important person in your world – yourself.

So, why invest time and energy into this daily ritual? And in yourself? Well, morning pages are like a microscope for your life, allowing you to closely examine who you are and all the minute details that go into you and your relationships with everything. They offer a space where you can unpack your thoughts and feelings, much like a therapist would, without any judgement.

It’s akin to having your own personal counseling session. You’re engaging in a frank, heart-to-heart dialogue. It’s about confronting your fears, facing your challenges, and tearing down those mental barriers that are preventing you from living your best life.

Another beautiful thing about morning pages is their uncanny ability to organize your day. As your pen glides across the paper, it subtly outlines the tasks at hand, helping you pinpoint your priorities. It’s like your personal executive assistant, curating a to-do list for your day. I inevitably try and do things like include scheduling and talking about what I’m grateful for.

They also unearth those deep-seated family issues that might be hiding in the recesses of your mind. Your relationship with your family is like a garden – it requires consistent nurturing and sometimes, weeding out the unwanted elements. Morning pages offer a safe space where you can reflect on these issues, understand them, and work on resolving them.

Traversing over Walls

a boy walking on a rock

One remarkable aspect that I’ve come to appreciate is how these pages serve as a ladder, helping me scale those imposing walls we all encounter. Life is full of challenges, full of intimidating peaks that seem beyond our reach. With the morning pages as my faithful ally, I’ve found a way to keep the wheels of my journey turning, propelling me to take those crucial initial steps towards the looming mountain.

Reaching the summit may remain a distant dream, and you know what? That’s perfectly alright! Because it isn’t merely about attaining the summit, it’s about embarking on the journey, engaging in the learning process, and appreciating the gradual progress. Morning pages teach you the art of perseverance, equipping you to take on the seemingly impossible, one step at a time.

Famous Journalers

Many influential figures throughout history have been known to keep journals, using them as tools for reflection, idea generation, and emotional release. Some of these individuals include:

Ernest Hemingway: Known for his distinctive writing style, Hemingway often used his journals as a space for drafting his novels and short stories. His journals were filled with musings, narrative sketches, and reflections on his life experiences.

Virginia Woolf: The prominent modernist writer was also an avid journaler. Her diary entries provided an intimate look into her thoughts, emotions, and the challenges she faced as a writer. They continue to offer valuable insight into her life and work.

Albert Einstein: The famed physicist often used his journals for jotting down mathematical equations and scientific theories. His journals were essentially a creative playground for his extraordinary mind.

Mark Twain: Known for his wit and wisdom, Twain used his journal to capture his observations of the world, his travels, and the people he met. His journal entries often reflected the humor and sharp social commentary that characterized his novels.

Søren Kierkegaard: This influential philosopher and theologian frequently turned to his journals to wrestle with existential and theological questions. His journals were a medium for his philosophical contemplations and provided the groundwork for many of his published works.

Simone de Beauvoir: This French philosopher and feminist icon used her journals as a personal and intellectual exploration. Her writings provided a profound look into her life, philosophy, and the intricacies of her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre.

John Steinbeck: The award-winning author of “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden” maintained a journal while writing his novels. He used these journals to capture his thoughts, overcome writer’s block, and keep himself motivated.

Leonardo da Vinci: His journals, filled with sketches, scientific diagrams, and notes, offer a unique insight into the mind of this genius. They serve as a testament to his insatiable curiosity and creativity.

Free Human Leonardo Da Vinci photo and picture

Anne Frank: Her poignant diary, written during the Holocaust, is a heart-wrenching portrayal of life in hiding during one of history’s darkest periods. It continues to be a powerful historical and literary document.

Frida Kahlo: Renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo kept a journal filled with vivid illustrations, poems, and reflections on her life and work. Her journal entries served as outlets for her pain and passion, which were also central themes in her art.

Henry David Thoreau: This renowned American naturalist and author kept detailed journals of his observations of the natural world around him. His journals were central to his work and are considered a significant contribution to American literature.

Charles Darwin: The eminent biologist and naturalist maintained notebooks throughout his life, documenting his observations and thoughts that eventually led to his groundbreaking theory of evolution.

Marie Curie: The first woman to win a Nobel Prize kept journals documenting her scientific observations and experiments. However, due to her work with radioactive materials, her notebooks are still radioactive and must be handled with special care.

Marcus Aurelius

One standout example is the stoic philosopher, and Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. His reflections and philosophical thoughts, penned in his private journal, went on to form the timeless manual of stoicism, known as “Meditations”.

Marcus Aurelius utilized his journal as a personal sounding board, a safe space where he could question, reason, and contemplate the complexities of human existence and his own inner world. His journal was a tool for self-examination, a vessel for his candid introspections, and a mirror reflecting his mental and emotional state.

Just like Marcus Aurelius, we can use the practice of morning pages as our own personal “Meditations”. It’s not just about recording thoughts; it’s an active dialogue with our deepest selves, an exploration of our minds, and a bridge to understanding our life experiences better.

In Sum

What morning pages essentially do is allow you to face your true, authentic self. It’s about peeling back the layers, looking beyond the surface, and understanding who you really are. Each page is like a chapter in your ongoing autobiography, narrating the story of your life, in its rawest form.

In this fast-paced, digital age, morning pages serve as a grounding ritual. They demand your undivided attention, encouraging you to pause, reflect, and tune in to your inner voice. By committing to this practice, you are empowering yourself to navigate your life with a clearer mind and a deeper understanding of your own thoughts and feelings. So, give it a shot. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and witness the transformation that follows!

John Michaelsa Missoula native and author, has been captivating readers with his writing for years. A graduate of Brown University’s esteemed creative writing program, Michaels has spent the majority of his career crafting stories that resonate with his readers and capture the essence of the human experience. Despite the demands of raising children, Michaels has continued to pursue his passions, finding solace in the bustling downtown Missoula scene. There, he spends his free time honing his craft, whether it be working on short stories, playing music, or dedicating himself to his work at Sunflower Counseling, MT.