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.