how my mornings got a make-over

morning pages

I am not a morning person. At all.

I'm a classic night owl. I come alive in the  night life. That's when I have energy and my creativity surges.

But with kids, I have to be a morning person. I rise before them so that I'll be awake and somewhat ready as they start their day. This makes for a very early morning for me. I struggle with pushing snooze....multiple times, reading the Bible while I'm still groggy and finding words to pray when I'm not yet ready for the world.

Recently, I chanced upon this interview with Steffany Gretzinger, a worship singer and songwriter. In it, she talked about overcoming creative block, self doubt and her morning success habit: Morning Pages. I was so intrigued that I Googled it. I thought maybe it would help me since I'm a writer by trade and have to consistently be creative at work. I felt like I'd hit a bit of a roadblock.

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning made famous by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way. I tried it and am shocked at how it's transformed my mornings.

I keep a journal and pen on my nightstand. First thing I do when I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and am still in bed is start writing whatever crosses my mind: prayers, dreams, random thoughts, complaints, laments. This brain dump clears my mind and I actually feel ready to start my day when I hop out of the bed. I've even noticed how the process of writing gently wakes me up. It's crazy how something so simple has changed my  mornings from a bit of a dread to manageable. I take about 15 minutes to write out 2-3 pages. After that, I read one (and only one) verse of scripture very, very slowly instead of trying to digest a long stretch of a Bible passage. Then, I turn on worship music until it's time to wake the kids up. Such an easy start to the morning, rather than jolting out of bed because I've pushed snooze too many times.

Here are some of the benefits that I've found to writing Morning Pages:

  • I'm less anxious. With all the crazy, hectic first-thing-in-the-morning thoughts on papers, my mind is free from all that was swimming in my head.
  • I listen better. I didn't realize how my jumbled mind was blocking out God's gentle early morning whispers. Revelation has come from emptying my heart and mind on paper. I've also been more patient with the kids in the mornings and their non-stop conversations with me.
  • Creativity is free to flow. Got a few good ideas that popped up. I guess I'd stopped them up with all the random thoughts that were crammed in my head.

I have yet to read over the pages I've written. Maybe a few more days or weeks down the road I'll be ready. But for now I'm just content with writing out my early Morning Pages.

What do your mornings look like?