What’s Your Morning Routine?

My mother used to say, “I have no secrets.” In other words, if she thought it, she shared it.

So I want to share with you the secret of my morning routine.

As soon as I get up–well, pretty much as soon as I get up–I go out to the kitchen, flip on the Keurig, and then I go to the sink and pour myself 16 oz. of water.

While my coffee is making, I do some kind of exercise, maybe bending to touch my toes ten times.

I take my coffee to whatever spot I’m writing in these days and I pick up my journal. Now that we are almost empty-nesters, I write in a favorite chair inside the house; my dog appreciates it; besides, the cabin is really cold this time of year.

I write 2-3 pages in my big Everyman’s Journal, which I like to think of as my Everywoman’s Journal.

I have a couple of small assignments right now that I’m wrapping into my journal. I’ve written a very short entry every day since my mother has been on Hospice (today is day #52). It’s either a description of a visit with her, or a memory, or a reflection of some sort.

The other assignment began January 1. I came across a One-Bad-Poem notebook from 2007-2008, and it occurred to me that I could spend a few minutes each day revisiting a poem written 10 years ago. Here’s a sample:

Like Chalkboard Erasers

When I clump the old poems together
letters and phrases and whole lines shake loose
and drift over me in a chalky cloud.

Having this particular morning routine works for me, and it usually launches me into a day of getting writing done. Even if I have a day of driving ahead of me, appointments, or whatever, I move into my day knowing that I’ve accomplished something that matters to me, something that makes me feel alive. Writing.

So here’s my secret, that is not a secret at all if you’ve followed my blog for very long.

I don’t have to drink 16 oz. of water. I don’t have to write 3 pages in my journal. I don’t have to be brilliant in my mom diary. I don’t have to revise the poem, and it (still) doesn’t have to be good.

All I have to do is offer myself the opportunity. I pour the water. I pick up my pen. I think about my mom. I recopy the poem. Sometimes it’s a bit lame. But I’m not here to be wildly successful. It’s more like an experiment. I see what happens.

5 replies
  1. ren
    ren says:

    Mine?: Up early – glass of water, meditate for 15 minutes. Coffee, candle (under the rosemary oil) and journaling for 15 minutes. Morning run, yoga and shower and then it varies from there. The first hour and a half are golden. From there it varies.

  2. JudithAnne Mayer
    JudithAnne Mayer says:

    I have to wash my face before I actually feel awake. I cannot skip that step. After that, I agree with Ren–the mornings are golden. Morning hours are worth twice the time of afternoon hours. Writing comes in fits and starts between chai, contemplative prayer, qigong and watching the sun rise.

  3. Lissa Clouser
    Lissa Clouser says:

    I’ve heard about morning routines and morning pages for so long…. and I just can’t do them. It stresses me out more than anything. I can’t think in the morning. This year I’m trying something different for me. Night pages, I guess you could call them. I have a small journal and if I start writing I aim to fill a whole page. Sometimes it comes out like a poem, sometimes it doesn’t. The allowance to myself is that it doesn’t have to be every night, and with allowing myself that I find that I’m actually writing on most nights now. Just a few minutes before bed. It helps to empty out my head and allows me to rest better (usually). I flipped back through a few entries yesterday and found that I have lots of great fodder for new poetry! It’s only been a month, but this is already proving more workable for me than anything else I’ve tried. I guess the key is to just keep trying new things until you figure out a routine(ish) that works for you!

    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      Lissa — this is PERFECT. If something stresses you out, that’s a signal, and when something lights you up — that’s your green light!


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