Morning Mill

A Mac app to help you write morning pages

Jack Hoge
Jun 13, 2016 · 3 min read
This is the nicest morning stock photo I found. No mills though.

A lot of people have written about the concept of “morning pages” — first popularized by Julie Cameron in The Artist’s Way, morning pages are brain dumps, writing intended to help you through the cobwebs of sleep and doubt, to get something on paper and just move on with your day. You can keep them, you can toss them, you can do whatever you want, but the value is in the doing, not necessarily in the finished product.

I love to start my day by heading to the coffee shop and writing a few pages. I’ve also wanted to build a desktop app for a while now. So for my first app, I built a simple tool that helps reinforce your daily writing habit — it’s called Morning Mill.

Morning Mill is simple — blank screen, blinking cursor. Your only goal? Hit your word goal before the end of the day.

It’s totally for you

Morning Mill is for anyone who really wants to develop a daily writing habit. There are plenty of great tools to organize your writing (Ulysses, Scrivener). Great tools to distribute your writing (Medium, Tumblr) or design an experience around it (WordPress, Squarespace). But these only become useful once you’ve written something. They don’t help you overcome the barriers that come before writing and prevent it — the anxiety, the distractions, the interruptions, the lack of formed habit.


What Morning Mill Doesn’t Do

You can’t save your writing

Every day, your content is gone and you’ve gotta start fresh. That’s the whole point. I’d like to say this is an intentional feature, but really I just left it out because I’ve only worked on Morning Mill for about four hours.

There’s no export

You can’t export to Medium, WordPress, Ghost, or anywhere else. For the first version, there wasn’t even copy and paste, but ultimately I decided that’s too restrictive.

No Formatting

Morning Mill doesn’t provide bold, italic, underlines, links, headings, embeds, separators — basically, you can’t do anything except write.

Zero Configuration

You can’t change your daily word goal. The goal is a very reasonable, very common 1000 words per day. If this works for you, this app is for you. If not, it’s not. This probably sounds ridiculous — yes, it is — but it’s also completely intentional. I asked myself, “does the ability to change my goal help me write more?” No, it doesn’t. That’s why 750words.com is 750words.com and not xwords.club or anyintegernumberofwordsyouchoosewords.com or howevermanywordsyoufeelareagoodtargetforyouwords.com.

All of those domains are available, by the way.

It’s got all the hallmarks of a great domain name — short, grammatically clear, easy to say over the phone.

“But Jack, I gotta change my goal!”

No you don’t. I know what happens here, because I do it myself with any app that tracks goals. I start off ambitious, miss my goal, feel bad, lower my goal, hit my goal, feel good, raise my goal, miss my goal, feel bad, lower my goal, hit my goal, feel good, raise my goal…all time that could be better spent actually doing something instead of setting and resetting goals about that something.

I am a state machine. These are all my states.

Oh, you don’t do that? Well, aren’t you special!? Okay, so maybe you’re not crazy like me. But if you’re not crazy in your own way about writing or learning or procrastination or setting goals, then you don’t really need an app to help you and you should stop reading this.

But then again, you are reading this, so I just caught you procrastinating! Download Morning Mill.

Jack Hoge

Written by

Jack Hoge

I build stuff sometimes, but not all the time. I'm procrastinating right now. Please assist.

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