Morning Pages: a tool for creating insight, innovation, and calm

writingIn a world of constant change, we need to find new ways to make sense of what is happening.

Our rational, conscious minds will be slow to catch up: they are still stuck in understanding the world the way it used to work. But our unconscious minds will already be spotting new patterns.

To lead ourselves and others better through this time of change, we need to find reliable ways to draw on the power of our unconscious intuition.

Sportspeople know how to do this: as they leap and stretch to put the ball exactly where they want it to go, they don’t think what to do — they just know it or feel it. Artists do the same.

So how can we train ourselves to draw on our intuition more freely?

Exercise is one way.

And when Julia Cameron wrote The Artist’s Way she created a tool that can help people reconnect with their creative, intuitive selves quickly, deeply, and reliably. The technique is called Morning Pages.

To use Morning Pages, sit down with pen and paper first thing in the morning, before your conscious mind is fully awake. Then write out longhand whatever comes into your mind until you have filled up three sides of paper.

When you have finished, look back through what you have written, make a note of anything significant, and then get on with your day.

Repeat the process the next morning or for as long as you feel a need to draw on this extra source of information.

You will probably find you benefit on three levels:

  • First, you will get any niggling worries out of your head and down on to the paper. This calms you, clears your mind, and allows you to get on with your day, focused on your priorities.
  • Second, writing without thinking will often surface unexpected insights and understandings. Your unconscious mind can be wiser than your conscious mind.
  • And third, sometimes you will even find solutions.

Journalist Oliver Burkeman was sceptical about Morning Pages when he first tried them. Now he wishes he’d started years ago. You may find the same.

Is your mind stuck on an issue it can’t seem to resolve? Have you tried using your intuition to find answers? Would it be worth trying out the Morning Pages? At worst you’ll get your niggling thoughts out of you and down on to paper. At best, something unexpected will emerge.


Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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