A few months ago a long time friend of mine recommended that I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In this book, Julia describes a program she created for artists to connect with their creativity through a series of exercises. This process has been so successful that people from all different professions have adopted the practice.

One of my favorite exercises is called The Morning Pages. Similar to writing in a journal, Julia asks you to write three longhand pages first thing every morning. These three pages of writing are strictly stream-of consciousness and they are not supposed to sound intelligent or meaningful. You are directed to just write what ever comes to mind and fill three pages. Often my morning pages are filled with a variety of emotions and “stuff”. Perhaps I am feeling negative about something that could be as simple as not wanting to do the laundry or clean the house. Some days, I write down my personal and professional concerns. I address my feelings of self-doubt. I purge them through this process. Sometimes, my thoughts are more profound and as I write, I find solutions to issues I have tossed around in my brain for days.

This writing exercise is a great cleansing. There is no right or wrong way to write. It is not supposed to be a creative exercise. You are directed never to read your pages to anyone else. In fact, the author recommends that you not read your own pages for at least eight weeks. The point here is that this exercise and all the petty, whiny stuff you write down helps you to de-clutter your brain and in doing so, you open the door to your creativity. As you rid yourself of the “stuff” that occupies your attention, it is amazing what happens.

I have a love-hate relationship to the morning pages and yet I still force myself even when I’m not in the mood to write. I stopped writing for a while and this past week I started again. I no sooner finished writing my pages one morning than the flood gates opened with new ideas for my business for next year.

Try it for a while. Make this practice a part of your morning routine and see what happens. De-clutter your brain and unleash your creativity. You will breathe new life into your personal and professional life.