ONE THING THAT WORKS: MORNING PAGES (OR 750 WORDS)
One Thing That Works is a series of tried-and-tested tips that have helped me in my daily working life. They're not the big-thinking, life-changing overhauls that can change the direction of your career, but rather the little tricks and rituals that I return to when I'm feeling overwhelmed or stuck: things that work for me, and that I hope will work for you, too.
If you're the kind of person who is always looking for insights on how to feel inspired and productive in your working life (that fact that you're on this site suggests that you might be!) then you're likely already familiar with the concept of Morning Pages. Introduced by author Julia Cameron in her popular book The Artist's Way, the idea is simply to commit to three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning, as a way of clearing all the crap out of your brain and readying it for a creative day ahead.
This can be a useful 'warm up' tool for writers who find it hard to get started with their daily work, but it's equally beneficial for any creative practice. The idea is not to write something coherent or reflective - much less something beautiful - but rather to pull all the annoying thoughts that have been playing on an endless loop in your mind, so that you're free to think about the things you actually want and need to.
Cameron strongly urges writing the pages by hand as a way to slow yourself down and avoid edits, but I have to confess that I find the process of typing on a blank document more cathartic than writing by hand. For this reason, I was happy to discover 750 Words: a platform that enables you to write your morning pages online, and then saves them for you each day. The site also has built-in analytics tool that look for trends in your thinking, based on the words you've put down that day - a step too far for some people, but the Type A in me enjoys seeing this data.
So, I know what you're thinking: Three pages sounds like a lot. Not sure I'm into this idea of writing an essay before breakfast. But the key is to remember that this isn't an essay. It isn't a journal entry. It's not anything you should even think about sharing. Just get down whatever thoughts are rolling around in your head - work, love, friends, family, whatever you're craving for dinner - and I promise you'll feel better after.