Our Voice Through Journaling Pages

In my last article I mentioned morning dancing ... 

Another ‘practice’ of mine is ‘morning pages’.

Lately, I have been sharing these as long Facebook posts.

Fortunately, I am not a person that goes to bed with a chattering mind. It is usually still then, and I go to sleep very easily.

The morning is different, though. It seems as if I wake up with a new novel, a new book, to write every morning. Are you that way?

Rather than read the latest news bulletins I find myself needing to ‘go to press’ with my own ‘Morning Pages’ to reduce some of the stuff pouring through my mind.

I have been instinctively writing ‘morning pages’ through much of my life, and this has accelerated since social media and iPads made this easier, more instant, and portable.

Just now, I have come across the work of Julia Cameron who has created quite an industry out of this. She has books, courses and workshops on this. Handy as I have served loose workshops on morning and evening journaling during the past.

I am motivated to get a bit more serious about this now. In the comments below, I will link you to Julia’s work.

Julia suggests you start with a notebook, a cheap one and not a fancy notebook so you are not tempted to go fancy with this new habit.

I use a mobile app in iPad called PlainText, which I am writing this on now. Its a totally no frills text writing app that automatically backs up on my Dropbox Cloud account. I have not lost any of my jottings yet. It is faster and smoother than using Google Docs with Google Drive. With Google Docs I would be fussing with formatting rather than just letting it all flow.

So what flows through this Morning Pages Journaling? 

With me its usually ‘silly’, often shallow, sometimes probably quite poetic and elegant, and sometimes deep, prophetic, commanding and controversial as if I am receiving the update to the 10 Commandments!

It does not matter, let it flow ...

Just write down whatever is twisting and turning around in your mind and let it out. At first, this may be a daily ‘giving out’ directed at family, friends, neighbours, and of course the government.

Also popular are writing out gratitude thoughts. Do not force this, though, as if your guilt is forcing a duty to do this. Only write on your gratitude if that happens to be what is flowing during your morning awakening.

Julia Cameron suggests keep this going until you fill 3 pages? I do not know about using such boundaries, especially as notebook pages come in different sizes. I suspect in Ireland we could say 3 x A4 sides.

As I use the PlainText app, that does not include page lines I am not focused on how many pages I write.

Julia Cameron suggests 3 pages are filled in 15 minutes. I do not stopwatch my writing, but I do not like to keep it going for long as, like everyone, I have other things to do.

15 to 20 minutes per writing session seems average for me. 

I just get started, then when the intensity of writing fades away I may look at the time, and it is usually 15 to 20 minutes later.

Some of you reading this may thrive on order and ordered goals, so the discipline of 3 pages in 15 minutes may be something that ‘speaks to you’. For me, that’s too much like taking an exam.

I suggest flow this as much as you can without reference to time and space. Getting it all out, getting your voice out, gives a lot more space to face a clearer focused day. What you write in your Morning Pages may well be your instruction for the day.

Some of you may be thinking, “WTF” doing this first thing in the morning ... as they also describe their morning with a cloudy head, blurry eyes, and the only creative thought is “where’s the coffee?!”.

If you live this cloudy challenge each morning, then maybe a kick start is needed to get that flow going. Otherwise it just risks your day being a ‘that’ll do’ survival kind of day, and looking forward to returning to the bed, or maybe booze and bed, again.

So, ok, you have the coffee made, but before you drink it all, maybe just smelling it, get to a comfortable seat, where you won’t be disturbed for at least fifteen minutes.

Take a few calming breaths and give yourself the opportunity to fully become whole through your mind and body.

Then envision, remind yourself, a favourite special peaceful place, especially one beside water. Maybe imagine yourself in the water and it feels good, comfortable, and safe.

That is a perfect place, perfect imagery, to kick start your day, and you may well find your Morning Pages Journal content starts to flow abundantly.

What I write during the morning I do not spell check or edit. I usually come back to do a bit of that around lunchtime. Some people wait until evening.

When you eventually edit, keep it light and do not get into mind-knotting as you are probably not preparing for publication. If some or all of your writings are for sharing through your social media outlets then serious editing is still not needed then, either.

So what about Evening Pages Journaling?

Yes, that’s valuable and may be initially preferred by some people. A good purpose of Evening Pages is to review your day and aid an easy rest at night.

I do not do much Evening Paging myself. Maybe a quick look, especially at any comments if I posted on social media. This only works if comments from others do not upset you but add to our insight if we accommodate the wider views of others into what we say.

With Morning Pages we are facing the day ahead of us but with Evening Pages we review a day that has happened. During the morning we set our course, and during the evening relish where we have pulled in for mooring.

For some people, Evening Pages is the opportunity to give out things we wanted to say during the day, but did not.

Evening journaling is our chance to voice these things so we do not lay in bed having conversations with ourselves that prevent decent sleep.

Journaling at the start and end of our waking days is a wonderful essential practice

Through doing this, we set ourselves up with a motivating directional start and a relaxing end to each waking part of our days.

We truly move through our waking days with clarity, and let our sleep time be unimpeded by stressful head chatter.

If you do not already do morning and evening journaling, try it for a week, and see how this may change the clarity of your life, and let me know in the comments here 🙂

Our waking days are dynamic as the mornings introduce the new day’s light serving its inspired package of new possibilities.

Then, later, the darkness arrives and lures us into a space of reflection and contemplation before we pass into the other side through sleep, that feeds us what to journal the next morning.

During the past 60 years of my life I have witnessed many rites rituals either fade away or be transformed into templates the suit our modern digital world. Outdoor and community door to door events are now hosted in hotels and theatres. Some are now conducted on group video services like Skype and Zoom.

There is very much a TV drama approach to many rituals now rather than the passing down of ragged costumes and props. The sense of cycles in rites rituals seems to have faded away too. The honour of cycles of growing, harvest, decomposing, and transformation into new life, will continue to be shared. Sadly connection often seems lost due to the layers of commercial imagery coating it all, and burying it.

When someone eats a chocolate Yule Log on Christmas Eve, how many know the origin of this, and the rite of passage it once honoured and motivated?

We seek to find peace and solace through habits. We are motivated to be good citizens as a priority over being good people.

Routine stifles space. It stifles our voice, and we become frustrated, confused, angry, lonely, depressed, and with intense longing due to the solitary confinement of our inner flames.

The simple habits of journaling can still be within structure that we feel secure with, without entrapping us into stifled space that routine manifests.

So much personal magic of clarity can bless us if we approach our mornings with Morning Pages Journaling space rather than a blurry grope of coffee ... and then evenings with Evening Pages Journaling space rather than groping for an alcoholic pint to send us to sleep.

Journaling can serve a sense of sacredness.

These simple journaling practices will help you greet the day with a clear head, welcome the night with a sense of completion, and transform your life. Woodland Bard event dates Please support our Labyrinth Gardens work as a Patron
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