A Powerful Morning Routine for a Solo Artist

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – This month’s Soaring Solo blog focuses on how to create a powerful morning routine for a solo artist.

 “Every morning starts a new page in your story. Make it a great one today.” – Doe Zantamata

This month’s blog might be a little bit challenging if you are not a morning person, but I invite you to read along anyway and see if there is any piece of this month’s entry that will resonate with you and perhaps make a difference in your daily life as a solo artist.

Now, I am totally a morning person. For me, my morning truly dictates how the rest of my day is likely to go and as a creative coach, director and fellow solo artist, I cannot afford to get up on the wrong side of the bed or start the day off on the wrong foot, so to speak.

All of that said, I will share with you my personal morning routine, or actually I like to call it my “Morning Ritual” and my hope is that you can infuse your own twist on it and begin each day with great promise and intention.

So, let’s jump right in to five ways to create a powerful morning routine for a solo artist!

1. Morning Pages

If you are familiar with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, you have likely been doing your Morning Pages for awhile now. For those of you who do not know what I am talking about, allow me to expand.

Full disclosure, I have not read Ms. Cameron’s book in almost two decades, but from what I recall, the instructions for morning pages essentially boiled down to this: 

-Before doing ANYTHING else, as soon as you wake up, you reach for your pen and paper (and yes it has to be handwritten, it cannot be a smart device!), and as quickly as you can without stopping to censor or correct your writing, you simply dump onto the page whatever is on your mind for 3 full pages. There is no agenda. It is simply an uncensored dump that you do every single day. You do not go back over it and read it when you are done either. You express and then you close the journal and put it away until the next morning.

Now, if you want the exact prescription on Morning Pages and Ms. Cameron’s reasoning for why they are so vital to creative types, then I encourage you to buy her book. However, I am going to tell you the value I have derived from having done mine for the last two decades since reading her book. 

For me, Morning Pages get me in the habit of writing in some way, shape or form every single day. More importantly, because they are rapid fire entries with no allowance to correct or control, I get into the habit of allowing myself to write freely in other areas of my life with a constant critic or perfectionist voice slowing me down with doubts, judgements, and limited beliefs.

I am also a very anxious person and also battle tremendous amounts of stress with my endless to-do lists. Therefore, my Morning Pages are a place for me to clear the clutter of anxiety and stress when I first wake up so that creativity and positivity and clarity may flow through.

So, I suggest that you pick up a journal and a pen, place them right next to your bed, and as soon as you wake up tomorrow morning, try writing three pages of Morning Pages and see how it feels.

2. Meditation

After I complete my Morning Pages, I go into my meditation room (yes, I have dedicated a full room to my meditation practice!) and I light candles and burn incense. For me, the use of candles and incense and having a special zone in my home dedicated to my meditative process allows it to feel sacred and special which I believe it should be.

I will then listen to a guided meditation from the internet, sometimes for 5 minutes, sometimes 15 or 20, it all depends upon how crammed my day ahead is. But no matter how jam packed my schedule is, I know that I simply cannot skip meditation or my packed day will become a stressful nightmare.

Before I select the meditation that I will listen to, I tune in to myself for a moment and ask, “What do I most need in this moment to face this particular day?” and whatever surfaces for me as an answer, that is the type of meditation I will seek out. For example, some days I will search for meditations focusing on anxiety or stress relief. Other days I will search for a meditation that is centered around productivity or being in the flow or manifesting goals. The point is to check in with myself, my feelings and my needs and dedicate my daily meditation to that particular download.

If you are anything like me and you have a hard time slowing down, paying attention to your internal world, and allowing your busy mind to run the show, I encourage you to start a meditation practice and see how your life will change for the better.

As a solo artist, hearing your creative intuition is imperative, but if your mind is chaotic and noisy, the creative messages will not come through.

When you meditate you will also become aware of the types of thoughts that crowd your head. Perhaps you are a negative thinker. Maybe you have a zealous inner critic. You might even have a to-do list a mile long that keeps you in a very anxious frame of mind. As you meditate more frequently, you will learn how to not get so attached to your thoughts. You will begin to simply notice them, allow them to flow through you, and maybe even select more productive thoughts in their place.

3. Exercise 

As a solo artist, you are the only one on stage for at least an hour. You will be up on your feet engaging with your audience, morphing into different characters, possibly even dancing! All of this requires your physical vessel to be in great shape.

This is where exercise comes in.

Personally, I have three forms of exercise I oscillate between: Yoga, dog walking, and swimming.

Whatever your form of exercise is, the point is, move your body! Get your blood flowing! I love yoga in the morning because it stretches me out and wakes me up. I love a brisk walk with my little Chug (chihuahua and pug mix) Ruby Peanut soon to follow because this allows me to actually break a sweat, get out in nature, and spend time with my fur baby. And then on super hot days, I love to hop in the pool and do a little water aerobics. 

Not only is exercise incredibly good for the body, it is also good for the mind. I find when I am exercising, creative ideas come to me with ease. Stress works its way out of my system through my sweat. And I feel so much more energized for the day ahead.

I invite you to consider what form of exercise you might step into, and even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day, get out there and get moving!

4. Breakfast

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I really find that to be true. 

Getting nourishment for my body and my mind is so very important to have my brain working at maximum capacity and firing on all cylinders.

I enjoy making a large and decadent breakfast and practicing mindful eating. By this I meant that I do not just plow through my breakfast as fast I can so I can hurry into the rest of my day. Instead, I really try to taste and enjoy each bite. Eat slowly and with gratitude and sometimes even take in a little world news so I start to let in the rest of the world and catch up to what is going on. 

Try feeding yourself well at the start of your day and see how it impacts your energy level and productivity.

5. Clearing the Residue of Yesterday and Setting Intentions for Today

The last part of my morning routine is clearing the residue of the previous day by lighting sage and walking around my office with it. As I do this I say out loud that I am releasing the previous day and any negativity or stress that the previous day held so that I can step into today with a clear, clean slate.

After I am done saging, I light a candle and I take a moment to reflect upon the light within me that can help light the path of other’s on their creative journey and I silently set the intention for the day. 

Since I am a director and a coach of solo theatre, my intention setting is typically about the clients I am seeing that day and asking for the guidance of higher power to serve the clientele on that particular day with the guidance that they individually need. On other days, I set the intention of truly enjoying myself and my work as a creative guide. Whatever the intention might be, the point is slowing down and setting one.

Well, that is my complete guide to a Morning Routine and I truly hope that something in here spoke to you. No matter what your individual morning routine looks like, the point is starting your day with intention. Do not just let the day pick up and drag you off into its plans. Instead, take the lead of your own creative life, and determine for yourself the type of day you would like to lead by starting it off with a meaningful morning.

Being a Solo Artist is not easy, but it is so rewarding. So set yourself up for success by utilizing today’s insights, and pease continue on your solo journey. It may not be easy, but it is so worth it!

Jessica Lynn Johnson
Soaring Solo Blog
Founder and CEO of Soaring Solo LLC

Enjoy these Solo Theatre Resources to further guide you on your solo journey!

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Jessica brings her 15+ years of solo theatre expertise to work privately with solo artists from all over the world on an as needed basis.

A 1 on 1 Consultation is for you if…

-You are curious about creating a solo show, but you need writing prompts to help you generate material.

– You are tossing around ideas for your solo show, but you need some accountability and encouragement to commit those ideas to the page.

-You have already written some material, but you need expert feedback on editing, story structure and play formatting.

-You have a great first draft, but need guidance on how to utilize multimedia and solo theatre technique in order to make your show a dynamic piece of solo theatre.

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Wherever you may find yourself on your solo journey, Jessica will help you overcome whatever immediate obstacle stands between you and your solo success.  

If you resonate with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com for more information.