“You should write your 750 words today,” the e-mail says. It is the first item to come into my inbox each morning from the website 750words.com. I signed up to receive it, so I have no one to blame but myself for this insidious little note.
Although I don’t like anyone telling me what to do, I have been obeying the suggestion each day for more than a week. I’ve now challenged myself to write those 750 words every day for a month. “What’s that all about,” you ask.
I’ll tell you. You knew I would.
My friend Tui, a blogger who is a prolific writer, told me about the website 750 words.com on Facebook. She said it was “a quick & fun way to jump start your writing day,” and she said it was free. Fun? Free? I decided to investigate! I signed up for it, and this is what you get:
You get a blank page, and it’s your job to fill it … with whatever you want to write. It isn’t blogging. It’s stream-of-consciousness writing. Best of all, it’s private! No one in the whole wide world will see it but you.
I discovered that Buster Benson (if that is his true name) started this website so that it could replace the “Morning Pages” from the book The Artist’s Way. Did y’all read that book in the 1990s when it was popular? I think it’s still popular today, because there is an Artist’s Way website. It’s a book about finding our inner artist. You might not think that you have an inner artist, but you do. Unfortunately, in day to day life that artist can get lost!
The author of the book, Julia Cameron, helps you find it. The main tool she suggests is “Morning Pages,” calling them the “primary tool for creative recovery.” She requires that you write three pages of longhand every stinkin’ morning. It’s really not “writing” as you may perceive it. I like the way Buster describes it: “a daily brain dump.”
You aren’t supposed to think about it. Don’t let your inner Censor talk to you while you write! Just write. It’s a wonderful way to get out all of the negativity and then go start the day. Buster decided that three pages of longhand equals approximately 750 words. This wonderful tool counts the words for you and even graphs how you feel each day, by charting the words you use most often.
There is, as Buster calls it, a “bowling-esque score card” across the top of the page that keeps track of the days that you have written your 750 words (or more if you choose). The website even offers “incentives” if you have a streak of writing days, or if you can write without being distracted, etc. You are awarded “badges.” They are just silly little critters that appear on your stats page. So far, I have earned an egg, a turkey, and a penguin. I don’t know if that’s good, but I confess that I’m chomping at the bit to receive more badges!
The graphs are interesting, but I don’t know how accurate. I noticed that my writing gets a “PG-13″ rating for “Sexual content, Swearing, Violence!” I promise that the worst swearing that I do is an occasional “dadgum it.” I haven’t talked about sex and haven’t threatened to strangle anyone! I don’t know why I got that rating!
As Buster says, writing these words “help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day.” I’m not sure how that magic works, but I know it does! In fact, I told my friend Ann about it, and she tried it. She said that the writing gave her so much energy that she was ready to dive into her day! That’s how I feel about it, too. Nothing that I have written is worth reading again, but I got it out! Then I can allow myself not to think about it anymore for the rest of the day.
If you do this daily, you will begin to see patterns. It can be a powerful tool for change. You can’t complain about the same things day after day without finally breaking down and doing something about it.I plan to keep writing for an entire month (even though some days will be difficult). That’s really just because I want to earn another badge. I get a turquoise horse, I think, if I do that.
While using the website is free, I realize that Buster has expenses to keep up this website. If I write for another week, I should become a “patron” and buy him a cup of coffee, don’t you think? Y’all hold me to that.
Do you journalize every day? Have you tried 750 words.com? If you do, let me know how it works for you. I’m curious to know if other people find that writing “morning pages” is helpful to their creativity.