How Morning Pages improved my writing
A guest post by Dina Indelicato.
When I first started blogging, I had much more confidence in my writing than I did my technical skills. After all, I’d been writing long before blogging was a word.
I wrote for and published newsletters. My degree was in communications. I was contributing reporter to my local paper. My name appeared in several niche magazines.
My writing was great, I just needed to know how to publish online.
Now, things have shifted a bit. In spite of a slow and rocky start, I’ve managed to figure this whole WordPress thing out.
The only problem was that while I was doing that, I was just going through the motions when it came to my writing.
I knew that had to change, so I began doing a bit of research. I came across a technique called Morning Pages. It seemed like a good fit, so I gave it a try.
I’m so happy I did. It’s really brought my writing back up to par.
Morning Pages: a quick primer
Basically, this is a stream of consciousness writing exercise. This means that the task involves writing with no other goal than getting what is in your head out onto paper.
You simply take a pen or pencil and write three pages of content. No typing allowed. Sorry, it’s just not the same.
As the name suggestions, Morning Pages should be done first thing in the morning. Don’t wait until after breakfast, or you’re otherwise engaged in your day.
There’s too much risk that you either won’t be able to get Morning Pages done, or that you simply won’t get as much out of the process. In my case, I just grab of cup of coffee, sit down at the kitchen table, and start writing.
This works for me because my kitchen is distraction free first thing in the morning. There are also fewer technological distractions than in my office.
The first few times I tried this technique it took over an hour to fill three pages. This is because I was thinking too hard. Should I write about this? Should I write about that?
In truth, with Morning Pages you should quite honestly write about anything that you think of. Once I stopped my efforts at internal editing and quality control, I did much better.
Morning Pages sharpened my focus
All the technicalities of blogging combined with well, life in general, can leave a lot on your mind. That is certainly the case with me.
It’s difficult to stay focused on writing when I am thinking about my to do list, or mentally rehearsing a discussion I need to have. Other bloggers in my circle have shared similar experiences as well.
For example, I may be working hard on a post that needs to be completed quickly. In the meantime, my mind wants to focus on cleaning my house for the party I’m throwing for my sister in law’s birthday. Now that doesn’t happen nearly as much.
I truly credit this to Morning Pages. I think that it gives me time and space each morning to ‘dump’ the extra stuff out of my brain and onto paper.
Maybe it’s a bit like that old trick where they say if something is on your mind and keeping you awake, you should write it down. Once it’s on paper, you feel at peace about it. Then, you can do what you need to do.
I find it easier to come up with new ideas
It doesn’t always happen, but I do like to brainstorm ideas for new posts before I settle into whatever I am working on. This happens after Morning Pages, but before I start writing.
Before Morning Pages, things were pretty hit or miss. Sometimes I would come up with several workable ideas. Others, I couldn’t think of a single one that I liked.
Now, I almost consistently come up with at least two or three ideas that I am able to work into blog posts over the next few days.
I think that Morning Pages also serves as a bit of a warm up. By doing this exercise, I help myself to enter the ‘zone’. This helps ideas to flow much more freely.
I’ve also been working just a bit faster
I’ll never be a prolific blogger, but I can definitely say that my speed has picked up a bit.
I honestly believe that it’s because Morning Pages make me think on my feet. I can write through problems more quickly. Even my editing process is more efficient.
I believe this is because the time I spend doing Morning Pages reminds me that I am a good writer. It reminds me that I can just write, and for the most part what I come up with is pretty good.
I am very pleased that my writing isn’t as hesitant as it once was. Once I was able to write a post quickly enough for a fellow blogger to have it translated into a foreign language.
My Morning Pages tips
The first thing that I would like to tell anyone starting Morning Pages is to stick to the program. Don’t deviate.
Use a paper and pencil. Don’t rely on your computer or laptop. Work without any distractions. Always commit to writing those three pages.
Next, do not edit yourself or worry about how your writing is coming off. Remember that nobody else is going to read this.
There are no such things as mistakes in Morning Pages. If you complete your three pages, then you are successful.
Finally, relax and enjoy the process. Just write! Then, if you choose to read what you’ve written, relax. Don’t focus on mistakes.
Chances are you will write many weird, wacky, and wonderful things. You may even work through a few stressful problems.
I truly believe that these morning writings has had an amazing impact on my writing.
Now, to be fair, this is not a miracle cure or easy solution. This takes hard work and commitment. Just remember that the results are more than worth the effort.
About the author:
Dina Indelicato is a blogger enthusiast and freelance writer. She is always open to research about new topics and gain new experiences to share with her readers. You can find her on Twitter.