We try it!

We Try It: 750words

I am working on my dissertation. Recently, a friend of mine, who is also working her way through graduate school, brought the website 750words to my attention. 750words hassles you into writing 750 words every single day. She had heard good things about it, and now, after nearly a month of use, I am here to tell you good things about it.

The website is pretty simple. A row of boxes across the top of the screen represent each day of the month. Each time you finish your daily writing requirement, a box is X-ed out. The website times you and keeps track of hesitations. It also compiles summaries of your writing, so you can see if you’re worried, self-interested, or talking about money. You can compare your stats to the site-wide average.

All of that is pretty nice and I was at first very interested in seeing whether my moods were good or bad or how I compared with others. But, after a while, that stopped mattering. What mattered was keeping my streak going. See, and this is silly and may not work for all people but it certainly works for me, as your streak extends, as you write for more and more days in a row, you ascend up a ladder of birds. Day one, you’re an egg, but eventually, you can become a phoenix.

Keeping the streak going keeps me accountable. I feel like I need to at least try to write, even if I am not sure what to write about. And honestly, it helps to write daily. The 750 words come out with varying degrees of ease, but each time I step up to the keyboard, I am surprised by how much I get out of the exercise. This holds true even when I’m not writing on topic.

I started 750words specifically for graduate school. I wanted to make sure I kept up with my writing and that I kept an accurate log of the papers I’ve read and the work I’ve done. It doesn’t always work this way, however. I don’t spend all of my words on hard-core dissertation writing. Sure, sometimes I get some good stuff, but most of the time, I am reflecting upon my day and my work. It’s surprisingly helpful anyway as a tool to get my thoughts in order.

So if you need to get writing and you’re motivated by adorable e-stickers of cute birds, give 750words a try. I’ve found it extremely helpful.

Note: I have not been in anyway paid or otherwise influenced to write this post. This comes from my own enjoyment and appreciation of the site, and my desire to spread awareness of free, potentially useful writing tools.

31 replies on “We Try It: 750words”

For all you cat lovers out there, there is a website called Written?Kitten! where you are rewarded with a new kitten/cat picture for every 100 (or 200 or 500 or 1000, you deciede) words that you write. It proved ultimately too distracting for me (typetypetype “squee! shit…where was I going with that sentence?”) but it’s a cute little website!



What fun this was!  I love the post-writing assessment, it’s like an attitude check since I was basically doing a chain-of-consciousness type thing.  In 20 minutes I wrote 750 words at a PG-13 rating, feeling mostly upset and concerned with death (surprising considering the fact that that was only the first part of it, the rest was about how I wanted to see society change), writing with a mindset of “introvert, negative, certain, feeling”. I like this, and I feel better :)

I am terrible at self motivation, so things like this really help me, particular the pointless gaming. It’s also why I like the Pomodoro Technique, because I like to see how good I am at estimating the number of pomodoros each task takes. I’m getting pretty good, but I am also getting faster, which is awesome!

I will have to give this a try. Does it matter how long it takes you to write the 750 words? For example, could I use this to write an outline as I read papers or book chapters? Or is this more for continuous writing?

It’s a big empty box. There are no formatting options. What I’m doing, if I want formatting, is typing it up in Word and pasting it into the box so I still get the satisfaction of keeping track.

I want that penguin.

I used 750words for a few months a little over a year ago.  I like the site, and it can be a great motivating tool for writers of all sorts.  I’ve been an avid fanfic-writer since my early teens, and have over the past couple of years been branching out into original fiction.  In some ways 750words helped.

But I had to stop.  Most of what I was writing was just ranting about what I’d done that day.  I rarely actually wrote anything fictional, which was my main goal.  Worse, if I broke a streak, it RUINED MY LIFE.  Okay, slight hyperbole, but I would get needlessly pissed at myself.  For days.  It would distract me sometimes at my job.  I couldn’t sleep.  All because I didn’t write 750 words one time.

This is entirely a problem with me, and not with the site.  I would highly recommend it to those who want a little kick to the butt to keep them writing daily.  As long as you don’t have a personality like mine.

I will easily become addicted to this, I guarantee it. First I’ll get excited, like I am now, then I’ll get worried I won’t get my words in for the day, then I’ll get desperate, then I’ll get sad when I miss a day, then I’ll get excited again when I start back up, and the cycle will continue because I don’t like disappointing the Internet machine. Yup, I’m doing this.

I signed up a few months ago and then promptly forgot what it was called and was never able to find it again. I should really start bookmarking things, because this was such a good motivator to write a little each day and I love the little stats it gives you.

This is so cool! Reminds me of a site I used to frequent a few years ago. It was called 100Words and the premise was similar, but with fewer bells and whistles. You wrote 100 words every day for a month. You could do it every month if you wanted. Some people just rambled and some made these perfectly crafted mini-stories. There were some excellent writers on there. Not sure if the site is still kicking or not.

My advisor and I went through a similar dead patch for my M.A. (I was sick and broke after two years of course work though, so had to get that on track before getting back to my thesis).  Her threat to cut me off once I was doing better, worded oh so gently and with magnificent mother/teacher guilt inducement, meant that once I started writing I was a machine, eventually it just wrote itself.  Finished the whole 140 pages in about 4 months!   Good luck!!

Excellent site! I’m an obsessive word-count checker, myself. This looks like a great way to establish positive reinforcement for good writing habits. Eventually you learn to recognise your own rhythms: that some days just ARE spent reading, or procrastinating while ideas coalesce, or result in just one über-nerdy footnote (ME over the last ten days); and that all of that’s OK. Because other days you will reach a state of flow, and the words will just come (ME today! hurrah!!) and will keep coming, until they dry up again; and that’s OK too. And some of those words—perhaps a lot of those words—will be turn out to be drivel and crap, and need to be reworked; and that’s also fine. But it takes bloody AGES to reach that level of calm about productivity (at least it did for me), so this looks like a brilliant tool for developing self-discipline and positive reinforcement. In fact I’m going to email my students and postdocs about it right now. Thanks, Ailanthus!

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