750Words.com – or Building the Habit

I keep seeing as I read about professional (and successful) writers that one of the most important things that changed the way that they write is the idea of writing every day. (See Cory Doctrow interview or Jerry Seinfeld’s Don’t Break the Chain).

So, with doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month and having to relearn AGAIN how to force myself to write every day, I realized I needed something to help motivate me to keep going once the month is done. (And to motivate me during the month too – I’ve already had too many days that I’ve missed as part of this new novel that has put me a bit behind the 8-ball from a word count standpoint).

So, I went back to a website I had looked at before, but just hadn’t warmed up. 750words.com The goal – write a minimum of 750 words every day – “Private, unfiltered, spontaneous, daily” is their tag line.

Just thinking about it again was enough to put me off. Mostly, I think, due to the fact that it was going to ask me to write everyday, no exceptions. Forced, like NaNo, but without the reward. That didn’t seem very appealing. Another thing to feel guilty about not doing.

But having missed the weekend again and falling behind, I wanted to leverage this idea of writing every day to help me out. I wanted multiple things pushing me on.

I signed up three days ago.

That makes me both happy and scared. Happy because since doing it, I’ve gotten all my words in. I’m on a streak. It takes me less than 20min to get all my words in and I can just crash through like I don’t care. No editing, no corrections. Just writing.

It sucks, but in the best way possible.

Let me explain. I have absolutely no problem stream-of-consciousness-vomiting all over a page. Writing at the speed of thought is not too hard for me. It’s the organizing of the thought before that is the issue, specifically drafting a novel. I have this idea of where I want it to go, so I’m constantly trying to push myself down that path. But that involves more thought.

If I’ve had a chance to really sit down and plan out a chapter, really see it all in my head, the words flow. The problem? I rarely get that kind of time and I need to get the words out regardless.

So a measly 734 words a day for my Camp NaNo goal takes an hour or more. Ouch. But when I’m just putting words down on the page, that takes less than 20 minutes. Hmm… I don’t want to duplicate effort. I don’t want to do 750 words of crap words and then still have to do novel drafting.

So yesterday and today, I tried to draft in 750words.com. Yesterday was brutal. I had no flow at all. But today was completely different. I was working on another scene that I haven’t really thought about at all. And I just started to write in my characters voice. For the briefest of moments, I was scared that it was all going to be a waste. I could feel the words restricting in my head.

And then a single question popped into my mind. “What if?” it postulated. And I was off. Nineteen minutes later I had 822 words, all draft worthy material, and I was starting to claw back from being behind.

What I have always needed for my habits is consistency  And I really hope that 750words.com gives me that needed shot.

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