Journaling Night Notes: In Praise of Evening (not Morning) Pages

Author - Kim White
Published - March 20, 2010


journaling at nightI don't do mornings.

Pages, that is. When I first read Julia Cameron's 'TheArtist Way' I was stunned: she recommended that a person write first thing each morning ('Morning Pages'). Morning? Have I mentioned that I don't DO mornings? I felt a bit queasy at the thought of any kind of 'a.m.' contemplating. But is there another way to successfully journal without doing morning pages?

Yes! My friend Mari at calls them Night Notes. And I'd like to share my approach to doing NightNotes and the many benefits they offer (the least of which is a settled stomach.)

I began journaling at age 8 in a tiny, brown faux leather 'Diary' with a small lock on the side. I discovered almost immediately that I preferred to write at night. In the morning my mind was blank and the blank page seemed to mock me. But by the end of the day, well, I'd had all sorts of fantastic adventures that I could write about. A ride on the bus with a man with giant hair. A family fishing trip in which we got the raft stuck in some tree roots. Circus people with ponies and monkeys walking through our neighborhood. Yes, at night,I simply couldn't fill the pages fast enough.

As I got older and my life became more complicated, my Night Notes became more introspective.  I wasn't just recording events, I was mulling things over, trying to solve problems, and finding out who I was. I was reflecting on the day as well as myself.

My favorite time to write was right before bedtime. I'd get into my PJs, crawl into bed,  and prop a pillow under the journal for support. I'd switched by then to line-free blank books so that I could add stickers, newspaper and magazine clippings and do my own drawings.

Many decades later, I still do Night Notes. And mostly still in PJs and under the covers. Why did this practice stick?  Because over the years I have come to deeply appreciate the many benefits of nighttime journaling:

  • I'm relaxed.
  • It's quiet, so there are no interruptions.
  • It transitions me from a hectic day into sleep.
  • It's a kind of prayer, a way to reflect on the day fully appreciate the life I have.
  • I can regroup and set goals. What went right? What went wrong? What do I need to do tomorrow to get back on track or stay on track or get ahead?
If you struggle with morning pages, I urge you to give Night Notes a try. Get comfortable, find a quiet spot, and then reflect, reflect, reflect. I usually write until I catch myself staring at nothing. That's when I know I've let it all on the page. I've found, for that moment, peace within myself and I'm ready to rest. 

Good Night (Notes).
Are you new to journaling? Or perhaps you're an experienced journaler who wishes to restart a daily journaling practice? Our Build a Lasting Journaling Practice in 14 Days self-paced journaling course can show you how. 

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