In November 2012, I stumbled across a website, 750words.com. Relatively close to the start of my college career, I was looking for ways to continue to engage with the writing habit I had when I was in high school, and was able to use this site for about three months in a row of writing every day. At the time, I also wrote a journal on pen and paper, but that habit fell away after about a year. Then, in 2017, I had another three-month streak of writing every day, which transformed itself into a new kind of habit: just sitting down for somewhere between 15 minutes and half an hour to put down whatever comes to mind. Then again for five months in 2019 — I was devastated when I forgot a day, waking up in a panic at 2 a.m. to find that my precious streak was gone, so I broke the habit again.
Then, in 2020, as you all know, the world changed quite a bit, and I looked for any opportunity to create structure in my life that I could find. This now means that as of April 3rd, 2021, I have written 750 words a day for 365 days straight. I’ve sat down every day for somewhere between fifteen minutes and two hours to write down 750 words. Most of the time, I’ll do this in the morning, right after reading my morning articles with breakfast and right before walking the dog. But that’s not always the case — on the weekends, especially, I’ll end up doing it later in the day.
This habit does mean that I’ve been writing more. I’ve built two spaces to publish text online. I now have a few recurring articles, and more springing up as time goes on: I’m extremely proud that I write and publish a little report of what I’ve done the previous month, every month; and I’m really happy with my little article about music that almost nobody reads, but I’ll be glad to look back on as small time capsules of my life.
It’s these writing moments that lay the foundation for other creative ventures that get expressed in small ways. Creativity isn’t about small bursts of wonder, though those do happen. The most important thing I’ve learned is to get an idea and then immediately write it down. I’ve been making a bunch of lists of ideas that make me happy: projects to work on, articles to write, little affirmations to keep in mind. These ideas grow over time, until they’re big enough that acting on them seems like sleepwalking, an effortless thing that just sort of happens to you.
I have written well over 277,000 words this year. But that doesn’t mean I’ve published even a tenth of those words. Instead, I use that space as a tool to plan, to get myself into a positive mindset, to meditate on what I want to work on in the world and about myself, to rant and ramble.
One day relatively soon, my morning routine will have to be different again, because I will have to start taking the train into the office again. But even when it’s hard, this habit is worth it — I love that the discipline I pour into this simple thing feels like the foundation for the rest of the things that I like to spend time on.