It's a gloomy, summer Monday morning but it's not bringing me down one bit. I'm moving right along with my plans to start the week, and it's only 8:07 am.
Why am I actually excited for Monday? How unrelatable…
Mondays don't scare me, in part, to the fact that I love what I do. I get to wake up every day and do a little something toward a life I created for myself rather than building someone else's dream. For that, I am extremely grateful.
But a job is still a job. How do you keep the tasks you gotta do from becoming mundane and annoying?
For me, the answer is A SOLID MORNING ROUTINE.
I have worked very hard on keeping up with a morning routine since I left my job in 2010 to start focusing on my own company. I've finetuned the routine many times, and it continues to change as I change. But something that has stayed the same over all of this time is one of the first things I do every morning.
I write every day when I wake up.
This has been a game-changing part of my routine, and it's not because I work for myself or because I'm a creative. If you are neither of those things, I will still highly recommend this practice for a positive start to your day.
Why I Write Every Morning
To Get In Touch With What I'm Feeling
I've always done some kind of journaling, but I wasn't always sure how much I needed to do or the format that would be best for me.
It wasn't until I read Julia Cameron's THE ARTIST'S WAY that I got the clarity I needed.
In this book, Cameron talks about doing daily Morning Pages. Her website describes the practice as the following:
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
Three pages. That's it.
Stream of consciousness? That's easy.
The way she described this and wrote about the benefits completely convinced me, and I've been committed ever since.
I have a designated Morning Pages journal that I write in for 3 pages every day no matter what. I label the journals when they are filled with the time frame of writing they have in them so I can put them in storage for my kids to laugh at someday.
Actually, that's kinda mortifying to think about…
If I'm writing and I find I don't have something to say I just write “I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write. I don't know what to write.” until I come up with something else to write.
What I've found from doing this every morning is that I have a medium to put all the initial thoughts of the day in. Lots of negative thoughts happen like “I didn't get enough sleep” or “I have so much to do today.” Instead of letting them continue to sink in and potentially affect me further, I am writing them in my Morning Pages as they are my stream of consciousness. Then, once they're on paper, they've basically exited my head. Sure they might pop up again, but writing them down makes me feel like I've dealt with them.
PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to have some amazing ah-ha moment or creative breakthrough in your Morning Pages to make them worth it! So stop trying so hard!
If you are going to judge yourself because you've been doing Morning Pages and you don't think they're working for you because you haven't come up with some bright idea while you're writing them, been there. It could totally happen. Or maybe not. For me, I've found that my breakthroughs tend to come later and are more likely because I put all the thoughts and ideas that get in the way in my Morning Pages and out of focus.
I highly recommend you read The Artist's Way to learn more about Morning Pages. But even if you just start tomorrow with a notebook and three pages, you will see the benefits immediately. WATCH JULIA'S VIDEO ABOUT THE PRACTICE OF MORNING PAGES HERE.
To Get In Touch With My Own Ideas
My line of work is to create content that connects people to ideas and resources that elevate them to an intentional life designed on their terms. That is actually my mission.
If that sounds like a big responsibility, you're right. And I welcome it.
This is why, about 4-5 days per week, after I've written in my Morning Pages, I sit down on my blog and write my ideas and observations of the World to share with my community to help move that mission forward.
As a matter of fact, this very blog post is happening right after my Morning Pages today and with my first cup of coffee. Coffee is key for me after the lemon water, obviously.
Again… Why in the morning?
Do you know how much harder it is to sit down, and write your own ideas after you've read the news, watched some videos, talked to your coworkers and scrolled social media? Very hard. You forget what you actually think. Because now everyone else's ideas have introduced themselves to you. Probably for the 150th time. We get it, Susan. You don't like how the receptionist brews the coffee.
If you have any desire to share your ideas with the world, prioritize them. It's much more likely you'll keep up with it and that they will be authentic to who you are and what you think.
To Practice For Bigger Projects
You might know that I'm getting ready to work on something very important: my next book.
When I wrote VLOG LIKE A BOSS in 2016, it took a couple tries to get it right. At first, I was doing a Morning Pages style approach and writing for the book in the mornings and then proceeding with my day as usual after. That didn't work because it was far too easy to get distracted by other things. If you want to get a project done, focus on just that. Especially something as huge as a 250-page book.
So I found 3 weeks of time on my calendar that were not accounted for anything and decided that that would be my book writing period. Every day, I wrote until I reached the minimum amount of words I needed to get done with the entire manuscript in 3 weeks and then checked out to relax until I had to do it all over again the next day. I also kept up with Morning Pages before I started writing for the book to clear my mind of anything that would keep me from doing my best.
That said, having to sit down and write about 2000-2500 words per day is a very big task. If you're out of practice, it's probably not going to feel natural, and it's likely going to be pretty crappy content.
This is a huge reason why I write every day. I know that day is coming when I will have very big writing goals for a set period of time. If I'm feeling rusty and the words aren't flowing from lack of practice, we're going to have a very big problem hitting the deadline.
Thus. I write these words for you. To get in touch with my feelings, express my ideas, and to prep for my upcoming book writing time. Taking these simple steps just for me has been the catalyst for a great start to my day every day. I can only show you by example that I think it would be a major personal development for you too. And so I write!
QOTD: Do you write regularly? Have you considered making it a daily routine? Share your thoughts in the comments below!