I want to share this concept because it’s something that has helped me out a lot since I first read about it over the summer. If you can work this practice into your writing routine, even somewhat regularly, you’ll become a better writer over time, and clear up some much needed head space to make way for more creative thoughts.
What It Is
It’s called morning pages and the concept is simple - every morning, you write three pages of stream of consciousness writing, before you do anything else in your day. Don’t type it out, it’s meant to be done freehand. Just write down every single thought that comes through your head, as you think it, until you’ve filled up three pages of worth of writing. That’s it.
How It’s Done
Don’t over think it. The first half of my pages are often just me running through all of the to-do’s I’ve had bouncing around in my head from the day before. Sometimes you’ll get stuck, and won’t know what to write next. It’s okay to write “I don’t know what to write right now.” This isn’t meant to be epic poetry, it’s meant to be a brain dump. A chance for you to let go of the small and seemingly random thoughts that your head is holding to make some room for fresh ideas.
Why You Should Do It
1. For Creative Recovery Anyone who regularly contributes creative ideas at work needs to give themselves time to recharge. If you spend every hour of every day at work staring at a computer screen, consuming information and facts but never give your brain any time to process it all, you’re setting yourself up to get burned out.
Your brain needs time to reflect on what it’s learned and to make connections between new information to the stuff that’s been rattling around in there already. By jotting it all down in your morning pages, you’ll feel a tangible sense of calm afterwards because you’re giving your brain the time it needs to acknowledge all of the information that you’re keeping top of mind. This gives you more brain space to dedicate to your best ideas.
2. To Prioritize Your Day After dumping out three pages worth of thoughts, you’ll generally leave the exercise feeling mentally strong. There may have been a reoccuring thought throughout the pages that suddenly materializes into an obvious task for you to focus on for the day. Before the pages, you may have just been sensing a more general feeling of stress, but writing your thoughts out gives you the clarity and perspective needed to address what’s bothering you, so you can tackle it and move on.
3. Stop Editing Yourself This one is huge, at least for me. I often procrastinate writing because I have an unrealistic desire for everything I produce to be perfect on the first draft. By forcing myself to write out imperfect, unfinished thoughts as quickly as I can, I’ve slowly embraced the editing process in my professional writing. It’s much easier to edit and improve an already written, semi-messy piece into something excellent than it is to agonize over every word and try to get it perfect on your first try.
How do you clear up space in your head to make room for creativity? Any other tips for improving your writing that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!