Morning pages and butter in my coffee

Some mornings I do it…and some mornings I don’t. But the days when I do tend to go better than the days that I don’t. This morning was a good morning. I woke up tired and wired, after falling asleep watching Modern Family on my laptop in bed.

It was 5.30 am and the light coming through the window was too bright to ignore and the clouds too pretty and so I got up and made coffee (with butter, my current fad, it’s meant to help you think clearly or something) and went to the table by my window and started scribbling three pages of total stream of conscious rubbish.

The Morning Pages are recommended in a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The idea is that within an hour of waking you write three A4 pages about absolutely anything – complete gibberish, to-do lists, complaints. You can, if you really want to repeat the sentence ‘I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this…’ for three pages.

There are a few purposes to it:

1) it helps to get rid of the ‘angry whiney stuff’ that lives inside us and ‘muddies our days’ – it’s a kind of detox by pen and paper. Once that stuff is cleared we are able to think more clearly and see solutions to problems.

2) it helps us to get in touch with our inner world – it will surprise you the kind of stuff that turns up on the page, fury at a school friend you haven’t seen in twenty years, dreams of living in a castle and having wings… (I made that last one up, I’d happily be in the castle without wings. The wings are not a deal breaker).

3) it allows our creativity to surface.

The Artist’s Way is all about how to get in touch with the creativity which we all naturally have – just look at children paint and dance and make up stories – but which gets knocked out of us somewhere all the way. We get shamed for our bad spelling and so we don’t ever want to write, we get laughed out for our painting of a dog that looks more like a chair… As we hit adulthood we get told that that is not ‘real’ work.

The Artist’s Way offers a series of exercises that helps us get in touch with the stuff we shut down. The beauty of it is there are no expectations. Nobody is ever going to read these pages and they don’t have to be good or even make sense. They are just helping you to get in touch with yourself and your imagination.

And also, for writers, they help you to get over the fear of sitting down at a blank notepad.

Cameron says that you have to stick with it until you get the bottom of the third page, even if you have nothing to say because usually, around page two and a half, something interesting will come up.

Keeping the pen moving across the paper is like pushing the arm of an old fashioned water pump. You pump and pump and it seems like nothing is coming but then, just as you are about to give up: Water!

Cameron says we need to write the Morning Pages by hand rather than a laptop because when we move a pen on paper we are more in touch with our emotions, or something like that…

She also recommends doing them in the first hour of waking because in the early mornings we are more in touch with our sub-conscious. I’m never entirely sure what the sub-conscious is or how it differs from the unconscious – but I think in essence it helps you get to the deeper stuff. That is why Hilary Mantel starts writing first thing in the morning, before she speaks.

And so my intention is to get up early every morning this week and look at the clouds and drink my buttery coffee and become Hilary Mantel. Who is with me?


Since writing this helpful post about how Morning Pages can stimulate your creativity and get rid of sh*t thoughts and all anyone wants to know is what’s the deal with the buttery coffee!

I wash the hands of the lot of you and pass over your creative well being to someone else! So the buttery coffee is called Bulletproof coffee and it’s made by adding a knob of butter and a glug of oil to black coffee. I skip the oil bit.

According to the Daily Mail Ed Sheeran and David Beckham are fans – and as you all know, I live my life according to what Ed Sheeran and David Beckham do which is why I have so many tattoos and am a gazillionaire.

Anyway, it’s supposed to help with mental clarity and energy. It’s also supposed to help with weight loss when you drink it instead of breakfast, but I’m failing on that because I have it with a breakfast of croissants or eggs or in today’s case – both.

Bulletproof coffee was created by Dave Asprey, a Silicon Valley guy who was inspired while drinking yak tea in Tibet. So that’s it. I read about it years ago and liked that a) he suggested using Kerrygold butter (Kerry is where my mum is from) and b) that it was a silly fad. I have yet to meet a silly fad I don’t like and won’t spend good money on. I did originally spend money on Asprey’s super brain oil and can report that I am still not a Silicon Valley whizz kid so I stopped that.

Happy? Now will you all go and write Morning Pages?! xxxxx

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to my newsletter

Sign up for sporadic updates from self-help land and life in general, including details on upcoming talks and events. Promise not to bombard you.