The Effects of Writing 750 Words Every Single Day
On Setting Habits
If you asked me what my morning routine was a few years ago I would have bluntly told you that I did not have one. If you had asked me if I was an organized person, I would have laughed. The truth is, I wish I had fixed my life a lot sooner.
Not having routines and being disorganized are intrinsically connected. I was never on time. I never finished the work I wanted to. I never had time to read the books I had on my shelf. I was inefficient and losing sleep because of it. I can’t remember the exact moment of frustration that prompted a change, but I was not happy.
I needed a routine. I needed to set good habits. I took a course called The Habit Course and it was awesome. I learned how to create and plan good habits and keep them. I started getting to the gym at 6:30am. I started meditating. I did my work on time. I finally had a routine. Everything started becoming automatic and soon I was consistently in bed by nine and up right at six.
The productivity boost I got from having a morning routine was very significant. I was finally able to accomplish all that I wanted to in a day.
What I had not fully embraced from The Habit Course was the act of consistent journaling. I half-heartedly wrote in a notebook a few times, but never committed this activity to my routine. A few months later, I discovered the concept of “morning pages”. I also discovered a neat little web app that lets you write these things very easily.
Morning Pages are exactly what they sound like. You write three pages every morning. The idea is that you write down a stream of consciousness right after you wake up until you hit three pages of content. This roughly translates into 750 words. At first, the idea is absolutely daunting. My first dozen posts were essentially whining and looked a lot like this:
It’s tough writing every day. Very tough. There is a lot to write, and my mind isn’t always ready to spew out everything. The problem right now is a headache. My head hurts and I’m very tired. I don’t know why I’m tired.
The next dozen were increasingly more optimistic. At the time of writing this Medium post, I am on a streak of 55 days. After a few hiccups at the beginning, each day’s writing has met or exceeded the 750 word goal. I am also proudly at the top of the “current streak” leaderboard on MorningPages.net
55 Days with Morning Pages
At first I did not see the point of writing. It was slightly rewarding to be consistent but I did not feel any significant benefit from the writing itself. The effects became much more noticeable after a longer period of time.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of “brain fog”. I had constantly experienced a feeling of mental sluggishness before I started writing. This has all but vanished completely. Furthermore, my writing has seen a significant improvement in quality and I am able to write much more quickly than before. Work that previously took hours to complete are easily finished within conservative time limits and are of generally higher quality.
The effects reach beyond writing. The act of recording your thoughts seems to have an organizational effect on the brain’s ability to express ideas. I feel much more articulate when speaking and have more purpose in my words. It’s amazing what a few months of consistent writing can do.
The last benefit is that I record what I think. I am now able to go back and see my day’s thoughts for every single day of writing. When I see too much negativity in my writing I know it’s time to change something.
I am not being overly optimistic about the effects that Morning Pages can have on your life. You will be a better writer. Your brain will be more organized. Simply writing down your thoughts will not make you a better person by itself, but it has had a dramatic effect on your brain’s ability to process and articulate thoughts.
I personally have found a tremendous amount of intangible benefit from writing down 750 words of stream of consciousness writing every single day. I hope that you as a reader of this post will try it out and find the same immense benefit that I did. I hope to continue this habit for at least a year.
I highly recommend MorningPages.net as as place to write. You could write your Morning Pages anywhere, but this site has a pretty sleek interface and is available completely free. It’s also on GitHub.