Morning pages are the primary tool of a creative recovery: From my perspective they are the bedrock of a creative life. Three pages of stream of consciousness writing done “before the day begins,” Morning pages serve to prioritize, clarify, and ground the day’s activities- Julia Cameron
My 1000-word habit is something that I’ve referenced in a number of articles that I’ve written here on medium.
Writing 1000 words each morning is what Charles Duhigg would refer to as one of my keystone habits. It’s changed my life in countless ways, personally, professionally and financially.
Progress, Flow and a Peak State of Mind
However, the primary reason I do this every morning is that it provides me with a sense of progress. Recently, I was listening to a seminar given by Brian Tracy, the same one that inspired the idea for my post about why nobody ever changed the world by checking email. One of the things he said was success comes from task completion.
By completing a task, instead of the dopamine shot we get from checking email or the number of likes, we actually experience an increase in endorphins. We experience visible progress, which is a precursor to flow. And we feel compelled to complete more tasks.
By writing 1000 words each morning, I not only end up creating flow. I carry that into everything else that I throughout the day. I end up in a peak state of mind, which is a priceless asset. As a result, I crave flow and deep work more than I crave the temporary dopamine hit that I get from checking email or Facebook. This leads to a much more productive day.
When I start putting pen to paper in the morning, I’m working my way through a lot of incomplete thoughts and half-baked ideas. But this really in many ways is part of the purpose of having a daily writing practice. It creates clarity.
In her book Walking Around the World, Julia Cameron says the following:
A day at a time, a page a time, my daily three pages have unknotted, career, life, and love. They’ve shown me a path where there was no path, and I follow it now, trusting that if I do, the path will continue.
By getting incoherent thoughts out of your head and onto a blank page, you make room for coherent thoughts and better ideas. This is especially useful when you’re doing something like writing a book.
As I’ve said before, momentum is the lifeblood of any creative endeavor or startup. As a surfer, when I’m in the water for multiple days in a row, it completely amplifies my abilities:
- I don’t hesitate at all
- I don’t fall off my board
- I go for bigger waves and make them
I create and sustain momentum.
The same thing happens when you repeat any creative habit day after day.
- It becomes effortless to come up with ideas for things to write about.
- It becomes effortless to treat prolific writing as a practice.
- It becomes effortless to immerse yourself in deep work.
Creating and sustaining momentum amplifies performance. Some of the best things I’ve ever written were the result of writing multiple days in a row.
You can start the day by putting yourself in a state of flow. Or you can start it with hits of a dopamine, which you’ll crave all day long. The first makes you feel amazing at the end of the day, the second makes you feel like you’ve pissed away the countless hours of your precious life.