I Wrote Morning Pages for Two Weeks

I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for over 25 years now, which reads “Don’t think!” You must never think at the typewriter — you must feel. … The worst thing you do when you think is lie — you can make up reasons that are not true for the things that you did, and what you’re trying to do as a creative person is surprise yourself — find out who you really are, and try not to lie, try to tell the truth all the time. - Ray Bradbury

For two weeks, as soon as I woke up, I opened my laptop and wrote whatever came into my mind.1 Julia Cameron suggested filling three pages, but I didn’t want to let this routine be another form of homework. I just stopped whenever I felt like I was done after 20 to 30 minutes. Sometimes, I wrote more than three pages and sometimes only a few paragraphs.

I decided to give morning pages a try because I wanted to form a habit of writing without the fear of self-censorship and criticism. I didn’t want to be the adult who was once an artist as a child. I wished to cultivate the nonconformist spirit within me.

The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time. - John Stuart Mill

After two weeks, the impact was less than transformative. There was no enlightenment. My life was not magically charged with the sudden burst of creative energy. I still struggled to focus on a single project and often stared at the monitor lifelessly.

However, when I reread my journal, I realized what I wrote in the morning was worth revisiting. The sentences were not refined but seemed more authentic than my blog posts. Some ideas even inspired me to work on long-form writings.

Curious to have a peek? Here’s some snippets from my morning pages this week (never sharing my journal again):




My Input and Output

Current input:

Current output:




I’ll continue to jot down my stream of consciousness every morning. I don’t expect morning pages to be the secret sauce for my creative endeavors. I only know that my work will be more truthful if I’m aware of what I really care about. So far, rereading piles of private journals seems like the best way to learn about myself.

  1. I set up Dabble Me to send me an email every morning. I wrote my morning page as a reply to the email so I didn’t need to worry about managing all the data. Writing on my desktop email app also helped me be more lighthearted. I could pretend like I was writing a letter to myself. ↩︎