Why I Hate Morning Pages

I think most journalers have heard of Morning Pages.  Julia Cameron came up with this idea in her book "The Artist's Way" and it's been a popular journaling phenomenon ever since.

The idea is that each day you wake up and write three full pages of a brain dump into your journal every single day.  If you don't know what to write, then you write "I don't know what to write" (which is what I found myself writing most days, over and over again, in new and different ways).  This is supposed to break open your psyche and reveal some amazing truths that you may have never thought of before.

This seems to be a great idea and I can see how beneficial this would be if it worked for you.  But the truth is that I just can't find a way to make them work.

I am an avid journaler.  This is how I work my issues, and I find raw truths that are buried deep within my heart and soul practically every single time I put pen to paper.  But those truths never come from your average brain dumps.  They come from exploring how I feel about situations, even if I don't know how I feel about them yet, and taking those explorations and breaking them into smaller and smaller bits until I find those amazing geodes of wisdom or "aha" moments. 

For some, Morning Pages may be an awesome way to get their shit unlodged, but for me?  It's a waste of precious journal space. 

Forcing ourselves to journal, especially when we don't feel like it, feels tedious and more like work than a form of self-therapy.  Journaling is supposed to be cathartic, open, honest, and cleansing, but when we're trying to force these things in an artificial way, it can actually turn us off to journaling as a whole. 

Which is the exact opposite of what journaling is trying to accomplish. 

So, what do I do instead of Morning Pages

  • I only do brain dumps when I am feeling irritated or angry or some other uncomfortable feeling that I need to rid myself of. 
  • I only journal when I have the urge to.  I never force myself to write for the sake writing alone.
  • I explore themes and thoughts and feelings in my journals.  I don't just write random things that have nothing to do with one another.
  • If I have nothing else to say, I stop.  I don't put a page limit or a time limit that I have to adhere to in my writing.
  • While Julia states in her video that these pages are supposed to be petty, boring, and otherwise (a way to get out all the crap that's irking you), I don't find my life transformed by paying attention to these petty thoughts and irritations.  In actuality, I find myself even more irritated after writing them.  So instead, when I journal, I concentrate on solutions and find the root causes of these things.  When this happens, I find that they just disappear.  So rather than writing a laundry list of BS to forever keep in my journal, I seek to eliminate the BS altogether instead.

For many people, Morning Pages may be a great way to start out their day, so I will always suggest that people try a practice before they make an assumption on whether it will work for them or not.  Because you never know unless you try.  But, if you're like me and you've tried out this practice and found that you didn't care for it, then now you know that you're not alone.

If you feel the same way I do, then each morning, instead of opening your journal, try meditation instead.  Or some yoga or gentle stretching.  Seek to calm your mind, body, and soul through introspection and peace instead of feeling pressured to produce something that, in the end, may not even help you feel better.

Have you tried using Morning Pages in your journaling practice?  If so, how do you like them?  Let me know below. 

Would you like to learn more about how to use journaling in order to find your own truths?  Then click here to learn more about The Soul Excavation Program, which teaches you how to use art, journaling, music, spiritual tools, and so much more to uncover the truths that lay buried deep within your soul.

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  1. I'm on week 8 of "The artist's way" and I have to say I'm not finding the pages all that helpful, I'm glad I'm not alone, I was worried I was just trying to weasel my way out of them or not doing them right. I'm thinking some yoga and meditation to start my morning may be a better more productive use of my time. Thanks for sharing every time I searched morning pages it was all about how awesome and life changing they were for people so it's nice to know I'm not alone in finding them irritating and not helpful.

    1. Though i am only on the 3rd week ,I completley dislike them. So you are not alone on this.