When the Morning Pages don’t work

It’s not a groundbreaking statement to make that Journalling can help your writing. It is an art form in itself, but if like me, you want a way to quickly key into your creative side after a stressful day, it can be a resourceful tool. After many failed attempts at using Morning Pages to unlock my creativity, I decided to just accept that the system didn’t work for me. 

I enjoy writing by hand, but I do most of my writing on a computer, so I got cramp after one page. Also, three pages feels like so much to fill. I tried cutting down how much I aimed to write, but the thing that makes the Morning Pages so effective, is that you have so much space to write into. I couldn’t give it the time, I struggle to build routines, and it was becoming another stress for me. 

My alternative was to use journaling prompts to try and jump start the whole process. It gives my writing direction from the moment I put pen to paper. As I write, I am slower, because my only goal is to fill one page. I soon see what I am finding difficult to write about. If it makes me uncomfortable, I set my imaginary compass towards it and take that route. I think it is important to chase down the hard things: they are the silent blocks in our heads that hold us back. 

Journalling also allows you tackle it in different ways. You can be straight to the point, or, if you are not a particularly confrontational person, you can approach it indirectly. You can use questions that are more joyful – maybe about a time you felt loved, or write about your favourite childhood memory. Ultimately, you want to address the difficult things – the things holding you back – but by opening with what I call Light Journaling Prompts, you can start the process and when you are ready, address those issues under the surface. 

As you write, let yourself naturally uncover where you need to give your attention – look in the shadows, and find the thoughts that are trying to make you look away and ignore them – poke at them and see what lies behind. Then you can address it and heal, be powered by it, or explore it in more detail in your other writing.

Published by Heddwen Bethan

I have a Masters in English literature and Creative Writing and work as an arts administrator in Birmingham. I spend my free time cooking, talking about nothing in particular, and writing.

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