Since June of this year I’ve been practicing Morning Pages. Morning Pages is a writing exercise. The practice goes like this: First thing in the morning write. Don’t worry about what you write, just write. Write 750 words. Every. Day.
If you do a search for “Morning Pages”, you will receive many results, almost all positive. Writer after writer offers glowing descriptions on how Morning Pages can transform your creativity and increase your productivity. After reading multiple articles, I was convinced and decided to dive into this practice.
Proponents are fairly specific in their direction. You write first thing in the morning. You write whatever comes into your mind. You write every day. Don’t worry about editing. The writing should be done by hand rather than computer.
I had the most trouble with the last instruction. My hand writing is horrible and I don’t enjoy writing by hand. I can type well and prefer typing. I tried writing my morning pages by hand for about a month before heading back to the keyboard.
Morning Pages…no Longer
After more than half a year, I have decided, as of today, to stop the practice.
I appreciate all the positive articles and understand how Morning Pages can help with productivity and creativity. My decision to stop writing Morning Pages comes down to one thing; time.
Every morning I spend between 20 and 40 minutes writing Morning Pages. Sometimes rambling. Sometimes flowing. Sometimes sitting staring off into space wondering what to write next to fulfill my 750 words. If things were flowing well, I might take 15 minutes, but usually I would spend 30 minutes or so writing.
What hit me this morning was this: I have a lot of writing I want to do. I’m working on a book project. I have blog articles that I’ve written, but not edited. I am spending more time in the book of Psalms and would like to write reflections.
I don’t have much time for this kind of writing. Writing is not my full-time job. Instead, I get up early every morning and try to steal some time away from a full schedule. Yet, for the first 30 minutes I’m spending trying to get my 750 words. I spend approximately three hours per week on Morning Pages. Pages that no one will ever see.
When I thought about not continuing the practice, I was unsure whether it was a good decision. I wondered what other authors felt about practicing Morning Pages.
One of the authors I’ve been introduced to recently is Jeff Goins. He teaches some online writing courses and encourages those who desire to write. He helps aspiring writers by sharing his experiences and what he has learned about writing full-time. I wondered what Goins’ opinion was on Morning Pages.
After doing a search and looking through some of his articles I didn’t see where he directly addressed Morning Pages. The Morning Pages practice was absent from Goins’ posts describing his morning routine. I assumed, from this, that Goins didn’t find the practice as helpful as others had.
Then I found a comment where Goins responded to a comment that mentioned Morning Pages. Goins said he didn’t use any writing prompts. He said such prompts were “practice” and not writing for real. He does insist that those who desire to write, write every day, but they should write for real…whether good or bad.
Morning Pages are for the writer, not the reader.
Writing for Real
I do believe Morning Pages can be an important practice, but when you only have an hour per day to write, I’m not sure spending that precious time writing Morning Pages is the best use of the time. So, for the time being, I’m moving away from Morning Pages and focusing on writing that others can read. Hopefully this change enables me to spend more time on my current book project, Psalm reflections, or blog posts.
As Goins writes, “Write something meaningful and share it.” I can’t guarantee I will write anything meaningful, but I can make sure to share whatever I do write. While those who read what I write will, ultimately, determine whether my writing is meaningful, I can be determined share what I do write.
I’m interested if others have made similar observations. Feel free to leave a comment!