Every morning, first thing in the morning, you handwrite three free-flow stream-of-consciousness pages in your journal.
You write them free-flow because they are meant to take whatever has your attention from your mind and put them on paper. You handwrite them so that you might resist the urge to go back and edit your writing. You write them first thing in the morning to empty your mind, so that you might get on with the work of thinking and creating, with focus and clarity.
You might find that your morning pages are a messy mishmash of disconnected thoughts; so are the thoughts in your monkey mind. You might find that your morning pages are filled with fear, doubt and negativity; good, those thoughts are out of your mind now. You might find yourself repeating yourself in your morning pages, day after day, week after week; let yourself empty your mind of your thought patterns over and over again.
When you start writing your morning pages, for the first 30 days, you just need to write them, and put them away. You don’t need to reread them, and you don’t need to show them to anyone, even your closest friends and family members. Every month, you put aside a weekend to go over them, find patterns in your thought, distill actionable ideas, and build upon them.
Even on my worst days and weeks, when I fall off the wagon of my other rituals, I write my morning pages. I used to write them in a Moleskine notebook with a Neo smart pen, but the handwriting recognition was terrible. Now, I write them on my 10.5 inch iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. I use the MyScript Nebo app, which recognises my handwriting and converts it into text. Then, I save these journal entries in the Day One journal.
If you think of yourself as a writer, you’ll have to resist the urge to ‘write’ in your morning pages, instead of merely recording your stream of consciousness thoughts. If you don’t think of yourself as a writer, you’ll have to resist the thought that your morning pages don’t look like ‘real writing’. The most important thing about the morning pages is not how well you write them, but that you write them every morning.
If you already use a variation of this tip, and have had success with it, I would love to learn about your experience. And, if you have been inspired to start writing a morning journal after reading this post, I would love to know what impact it has had. Do share your experience in the comments below or on Twitter @gauravonomics.