I’ve been using 750words.com since 2012. Last week, I finally hit a 200 day writing streak.

I first used the site back in 2012, when I was medicated, but still depressed and looking for a way to improve myself. I had a nebulous, but insistent idea that writing was the cure.

It kind of was? Morning pages are basically a muggle Pensieve: they allow you to draw out and “discard” thoughts for the time being, and read them back when you’re in a better state to reflect. The thoughts are still there, but less urgent. It’s rather like writing something down or creating a reminder so you don’t have to worry about it.

To begin with, free writing can feel like working a rarely used muscle: there’s an unpleasant pre-competency phase, but it’s not typically too hard to get past. In other words, it’s a great training tool for achieving flow. I’m happy enough with writing, but I think that people who really don’t get on with this particular form of expression could benefit from similar ten minute creativity sprints in whatever they prefer, like drawing or poetry or something. (I may try cross-training in the future)

The fact that morning pages hit the sweet spot of not-too-hard and just-hard-enough mean they count as an achievement for the day. Even if you’ve done fuck all else, a day with morning pages in it still counts as non-zero. This is crucial, as I think 90% of personal development is headology: morning pages are a great “magic feather” to trick yourself into thinking you’re a person who can have ideas and communicate them interestingly. With this established habit, I’ve been able to use the cornerstone habit power up to actually start a meditation practice for the first time in my life.

Mainly, I’ve learned how small habits really can make a huge impact over time. Little and often really is best.