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Morning Pages

Hey friends,  Quick plug before we get into this week's email - this week, I launched my new, mammoth
Morning Pages
By Ali Abdaal • Issue #104 • View online
Hey friends, 
Quick plug before we get into this week’s email - this week, I launched my new, mammoth online masterclass on How to Study for Exams. If you’re a student of any sort, I think you’ll find it pretty useful. Because it’s hosted on Skillshare, you can access it for free with their 2-month free trial. I’d love for you to check it out :)
Last week I wrote about Roam Research, a somewhat Spartan but incredibly useful app for networked thought.
I’m pleased to report that I’ve continued to use it everyday, and I feel like the ‘tool for thinking’ approach that it offers has already helped spark fresh ideas and links between existing ideas that I wouldn’t have had without it. 
But an app without a use-case is like a hammer without a nail - it’s a bit pointless. My favourite nail for Roam has been Morning Pages
What is Morning Pages?
Here’s what Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way has to say:
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow. 
Morning Pages are traditionally written by hand (longhand) on paper (eg: a diary or notebook). I tried this for a few minutes and immediately became frustrated at how my handwriting couldn’t keep pace with my thoughts. So I switched over to typing them out, and now I do this every morning in Roam. 
I’ll be honest - I’ve never yet managed to write “3 pages” (whatever that means in an app like Roam) because as I’m speed-typing stuff onto the page, my thoughts end up going down different rabbit-holes and I get distracted by new ideas, and often the realisation that there’s something urgent I need to get done instead. But I’m trying to get better at just writing and not worrying about anything else until I’ve done my 3 pages. 
In just the last few days for example, my Morning Pages practice has helped spark ideas for 3 new videos. It’s helped work out a collaboration with a blogger I’ve been following for the past year, and it’s led to 7 hours of Zoom calls with students from around the world about how they use Anki Flashcards to supercharge their studying. 
If I hadn’t made it a point to just write anything on the page, I don’t think any of these things would’ve happened, and they’ve certainly made this weekend of lockdown more interesting than it would’ve otherwise been. 
So yeah - whether or not you’re interested in using Roam, I’d suggest trying out the Morning Pages practice. Who knows - maybe in a few days to weeks, you’ll find it’s changed your life.
Have a great week! 
Ali

This week on Not Overthinking
Not Overthinking is the weekly podcast hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherCastro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’. 
My Favourite Things this Week
1 - Podcast - I absolutely *loved* this interview with internet legend Hank Green on the That Creative Life podcast. In fact, here’s a screenshot of my Roam notes about it.
I've started taking notes on everything I read, watch and listen to in Roam
I've started taking notes on everything I read, watch and listen to in Roam
If you’re at all interested in the whole Creator thing, you should definitely follow Sara’s podcast That Creative Life. I’ve been listening to it since day 1, and very excitingly I was recently featured on it so you might like to check that out too :)
2 - Video - You might’ve already seen this viral parody of One Day More from Les Miserables done by a British family. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen all year.
Quote of the Week
What is something you believe that other people think is crazy? “That you should never publicly criticize anyone or anything unless it is a matter of morals or ethics. Anything negative you say could at the very least ruin someone’s day, or worse, break someone’s heart, or simply change someone from being a future ally of yours to someone who will never forget that you were unkind or unfairly critical. It’s so common today to complain or criticize others’ work on social media, or dogpile on someone for a perceived offense. I won’t do it. It’s not my job to be the world’s critic, and I’d rather not rule out any future allies.
From Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Resurfaced via Readwise
This week's video
My New Online Class - Behind the Scenes
My New Online Class - Behind the Scenes
Support the Newsletter
It costs $120/month just to host this newsletter. If you get some value out of it, please consider helping to support it by (a) checking out my how to study / video editing class on Skillshare, or (b) signing up to the documentary streaming platform CuriosityStream which comes with free access to all my exclusive videos on Nebula.
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Thank you!
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Ali Abdaal

I’m Ali, a junior doctor, YouTuber and podcaster from Cambridge, UK. Every Sunday I write an email newsletter with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discovered on the internet that week.

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Ali Abdaal, Cambridge, UK.