One of the books I’m currently reading is Managing Your Day-to-Day. In this book they reference an idea from the book The Artist’s Way (which I haven’t read but need to put on the list). In short, the idea is to sit down in the morning and free-form write 750 words. No censoring, no editing – just spill out whatever is on your mind. The motivation, or benefit, from the exercise is to “clear the deck” for the rest of your day. Once you’ve cleaned out your mental pipes creative ideas flow more freely throughout the day.
Perhaps you’re asking one of my initial questions. Why 750 words? I think the developer of 750words.com sums up why rather concisely:
It really just comes down to the fact that this amount of writing feels about right. You can’t just fart out 3 pages without running into your subconscious a little bit… 750 words takes a bit of effort, and it never fails to get me typing things that I have wanted to articulate without realizing it. And that’s the point.
I’ve journaled for several years in different mediums. I’ve penned in the coveted Moleskines, a diary app on my Windows Box, online applications (Penzu), and even on my iPhone. I’ve liked each of them for different reasons and I’ve fluctuated between their use depending on moods and location.
My latest find is a site entitled 750words.com. I’ve used it for the past week and quite honestly it’s one of the most productive journaling ideas I’ve come across in a while.
750words.com turns journaling into a bit of a game/goal-setting. Some of you time-management junkies have probably heard of the “Don’t Break the Chain” concept. Jerry Seinfeld made this popular several years ago. The idea is to set a goal and make sure you work on it each day. Over time you create a chain of check boxes or marks when you complete the goal. However, if you miss a day you’ve ‘broken the chain’ and you have to start over.
When you log in to 750words you’re greeted with a fairly blank white screen and a bowlingesque set of boxes. When you complete 750 words for the day a nifty X gets placed in the box. If you write every day you begin to accumulate a series of X’s. It’s a small thing, but it’s an incredibly effective life-hack. There is also a point system for further motivation. Again, the developer has ‘gamed’ the idea of journaling but it works. As most any writer will tell you, it’s important to write every day. Even if you’re just doing a mind-dump, it’s still words on a page and I think that counts for something.
Once you’ve completed your words you’re able to look at a series of stats which is a really cool touch. How long it took you to write, words per minute, and even something called Regressive Imagery Dictionary that will calculate the various emotional content of your word. The developer states, “It is a pretty simple tool and isn’t really all that trust-worthy, but then again sometimes it’s right on.” Either way, it’s fun to see what the algorithm comes up with when you’re finished. The other nice touch is that the graphs, fonts, and other artwork are nicely rendered which makes the site enjoyable to use. The other very nice feature is that the software keeps track of how many words you’ve written to date and other stats that allow a user to garner a sense of accomplishment and progress.
The only downside is that 750words recently became a pay-to-use service. It’s only five bucks a month which is certainly fair but you could obviously accomplish 750 words in any number of free applications. I’m still undecided on whether I’ll continue to use the service but the extra touches and built-in motivation(s) have certainly encouraged me to write everyday. That’s the big goal.
Good luck on your pursuit of 750!
Til next time,