The doing part is the only difference between an aspiring writer and a writer. The daily practice of sitting down and putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is what separates aspiring and practicing. Through habit, we develop our abilities. Incremental improvement every day. It is about quantity versus quality. Why? Theodore Sturgen, the famous science fiction author sums it up best.
If we apply that to our own work, the volume that you produce then starts to play a key part. To get the gold, you have to wade through a sea of crap. Not every word that comes out of your favourite author’s brain is good. The same goes for us. The establishment of a daily habit where you sit and do is key. Volume is the driving force. Now for many people, the idea of sitting and writing 750 words a day will conjure up excuse after excuse. I know. I am that person too. I aspire to write more but life gets in the way. Sometimes life is the excuse. What we need along the way is some help. I set out to establish a regular writing habit. Commit to thirty minutes each until the habit was established. Challenge set.
I started a 5 minute morning journal habit a little while back and found it incredibly cathartic to sit and write. I would write down mostly what was on my mind. Work, home, health, personal, money, whatever was battling away in my subconscious. I wanted, however, to expand on this and start to create a larger contribution. I set myself a daily target of 500 words. The challenge with this was it was too far a jump for my will power. I also didn’t establish the right conditions to write under. I didn’t have a collection of ideas collated prior to sitting down (I know use Trello to compile any ideas that I would like to write about). I jumped between platforms. From Word to Pages to WordPress to Flow State and back again but always found that it never gelled for me. Another key factor was my process for writing. I tried to write and edit at the same time and this just doesn’t work. These are two different states of mind and phases of writing. I needed to blurt out whatever was in my head and then when I was finished, whittle away the crap to start to shape the writing. Writing is very much like ideation. The below graphic from Bryan Mathers, inspired by Tom Barrett sums it up best.
Then I discovered www.750words.com
This website is devoted to exactly that. The daily writing of 750 words. No fancy editor, just a blank canvas. Your words are counted on the bottom and you work daily towards hitting the 750 mark. Now if I was struggling to hit the 500 words a day mark, what I was I thinking extending that to 750. I didn’t think that it was an achievable mark at all but when the mark seems so far away, I just started to write. I wrote about whatever was in my head. In essence, I merged the cathartic process of morning journaling with the professional writing that I was seeking to establish. I just kept writing. Like a runner puts one foot in front of the other, I just kept my fingers typing on the keyboard. The funny thing is that I spent less time overthinking things and more time just saying them. If it didn’t sound good, I would rewrite a sentence. Sometimes I would rewrite that sentence 5 or 6 times. Iterating on the words allowed me freedom to not care about the order but about the way the words were accessed by the reader. It also allowed writer’s block to budge.
In fourteen days, I have written 10,775 words. That’s an average of 769 words per day. I have missed four days mixed in there but have quickly jumped back into it. In fact, I look forward to it. Once you have finished your writing for the day, 750words.com also breaks down your writing logistically, mechanically, and emotionally.
Once you have finished writing, you can export your writing really easily as a text file. The export is a month’s worth. Nothing like seeing 10,000 words appear in flash. I then sort through the pieces to arrange them in OneNote for further writing or just simply reflecting upon.
750words is free for a month and then $5 per month after that. I’m still on my trial but I’m signing up for sure.