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This article is cross-posted from my weekly newsletter, The Sunday Soother, a newsletter about clarity, intention, and useful tips for creating more meaning in your life that goes out every Sunday morning. Subscribe here. I am also a personal development strategist and coach working to help people regain their confidence and move past impostor syndrome. You can learn more about working with me here.
In 2017, I was in a bad place.
I was unhappy. I felt like every day was the textbook definition of going through the motions. Stuff was… fine. It just wasn’t… great.
Most disappointingly to me at the time, I was coming off of half a decade of something unthinkable to me: I hadn’t been able to meaningfully write for myself in nearly five years.
My blogging consisted of sporadic posts that basically just apologized for not writing and beating myself up about it. Every few weeks I would fire up the old Typepad and wait… and nothing would come.
More often than that, I would think about getting up early in the mornings to spend some time writing, or figuring out a way to carve space in the evening for it — and without doubt, almost every time, I would just roll over in my bed or on my couch and scroll on my phone.
My friends, I was in a rut. And I didn’t see any way out.
A year or so earlier, in my endless googling about “how to start writing again,” (hot tip: endless googling about how to write again is not going to help) I came across the idea of the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The book sold itself as helping people with artistic creative recovery, through a spiritual path.
Meh, I thought. Spiritual. Gross. The book also looked like it came out of a bargain bin at a self-help store, with its clunky design and nearly textbook-like appearance.
But something in me softened, and I bought a used copy on Amazon anyways.
The next few days I spent flipping through the book and raising my eyebrows, intrigued. There are a variety of exercises and reflections in the book, but the bedrock of the path is Morning Pages, simply three handwritten pages of stream of consciousness thinking, done first thing upon waking. It’s not supposed to be art. It’s not supposed to be self-edited. You’re not even supposed to ever re-read it. Morning Pages aren’t supposed to be writing as much as they are supposed to be a method of unblocking.
“I’m into that,” I thought. “And, bonus, it sounds easy!”
Reader… it was not easy. I got through about three days before I gave up the attempt, citing my inability to wake up early (it was not my inability to wake up early, but more on that later), and shoved the book in a corner of my condo.
An entire year later, I was having issues where I was waking up consistently at 5am no matter what I did, for no reason I could tell. One morning, it struck me: I was up two hours early anyways — why didn’t I give the Morning Pages a shot again since I had time?
It was like a rocket ship took off. That spring of 2017, I started what would become the Sunday Soother. I was writing again. I had a notebook full of ideas. Perhaps more importantly. I started to feel full of wonder, of possibility, of potential again. I was happier. Learning things about myself. Writing and creativity once again felt joyful, instead of obligations.
Two years after starting a Morning Pages practice, I quit my corporate job to pursue my full-time passions.
And here we are!
And I still do Morning Pages every (well, okay… almost every) day, and continue to learn more and more about myself and clear the path for ideas, creativity, and joy to come in.
Along the way, people have asked me so many questions about the Morning Pages process.
“Isn’t it hard to wake up early enough?” “Isn’t it hard to make the time?” “Do I have to do it right when I wake up?” “What’s the point, exactly?” “I don’t know what to write, what am I supposed to write??”
It was with my own personal transformation via Morning Pages in mind, and the understanding that others are so curious about the pages, but perhaps afraid to start, that I am creating a Sunday Soother community challenge to do 30 days of Morning Pages — all together.
Remember how I said I thought it was my inability to get up early that previously blocked me from doing Morning Pages on my first attempt?
It wasn’t that. God knows I have the willpower to get up whenever I want when the thing really matters.
What was blocking me, then?
It was my unconscious belief that I didn’t deserve to create a space for myself.
That I was unable to do a routine that would actually benefit me.
That I shouldn’t do things unless I could do them perfectly — and Morning Pages seemed intimidating, and I might fail — so I shouldn’t give it a shot.
That I already knew couldn’t keep a promise to myself that was important to me — so why even try?
Morning Pages blew all of those false beliefs wide open.
But it wasn’t easy. I was doing it alone. So often I had wished for friends, resources, insights about Morning Pages as I leaned into the creation of the practice and the routine. Should I do it this way… ? Or, who will even care if I don’t wake up early tomorrow to do this? Or, most often: What’s the point?
The point is that you do something good for yourself. The point is that you clear your mind for 20 minutes once a day. The point is that you deserve this space. The point is to prove that you can keep a small promise to you.
The point is also community. I have seen over the past decade the healing power of internet communities coming together to do something and to learn from each other. (I mean yeah I have also seen the internet ruin democracies and enable the Russians to read my DMs, but, uh, we’ll just put in a pin in that for now.)
I wanted to create a virtual space where people could push themselves to explore their own creativity and their own minds — and do it with support, resources, insights from those who have been there before, from others who wanted to help. I wanted to create a space where people could try it out, even if they ended up not doing the pages every day. I wanted a space for all of this.
By joining the challenge and the group, you’ll get access to all that and more. There will be a workshop about Morning Pages. There will be videos from me. There will be interviews with creatives about how they use Morning Pages. There will be community support. There will be prizes.
Everybody deserves to have access to this transformational tool in their life.
Everybody deserves to have a community of support in their own efforts to grow personally.
Everybody deserves everything they want.
And by everybody, I mean you.
We start the morning of November 11th. 11/11.
Come join. I’ll be waiting.
PS, because I know I’ll be asked: No, you don’t have to “be” a “creative” to join. If you’re a human, you’re creative. This group is for everybody and everybody, no matter your interests or your profession.
Got other questions? Just email me and I’ll be happy to answer.