Well over a decade ago, I read and practised the teachings from Julia Cameron's classic book for creatives: The Artist's Way.
As I first discovered morning pages and artist dates, I felt my creative soul rejuvenated and filled. I could never keep up the practice long-term. But, I do find myself returning to it again and again. Revisiting the same concepts and finding new ways to incorporate them in my life.
A couple of months ago, I came across 750 Words by a guy called Buster Benson. It's a web-based application that takes daily writing to a new level. Pretty much, The Artist's Way meets Digital Journalling, with a cheerleader / auto psychoanalyst / stats keeper + social media on the side.
The idea is that based on Julia Cameron's suggestion to write a minimum of three pages a day, the developer suggested that this is equivalent to approximately 750 words.
So, what the app does as you face a blank page everyday is to count the words as you type. Then, it congratulates you as you reach your daily 750 words. You can go past 750, of course.
Fine, you say. Your word processor can do word count too, you say. You don't need a machine to congratulate you for getting to 750 words, you say.
But, what makes the 750 words extra interesting is that apart from the word count and pep cheer, it provides you with statistics. If you're a data nerd like I am, that's pretty cool.
Daily statistics doesn't just give you your word count. It tells you how long you've been writing, if you've been distracted (had to stop before reaching 750, and then start again).
And, it gives you a general view of your content - what you're concerned about the most. Your mood for the time you were writing. And more.
Sure, it's not 100% accurate. And, most days, it will tell you pretty much the same thing. But, it's interesting way to do self-analysis. It's like having a pocket psychoanalyst:
"So, Shai, you've been very concerned about success today, and your mood is anxious... What's up with that?"
Well, no the app doesn't talk like that. But sometimes, it does seem like it's telling me stuff. It's pretty cool like that.
It also gives you overall insights, as well as insights into the world view.
And yes, it occasionally awards you with badges. You can see some of those graphs and badges in the image above.
Oh, and yes, you can even share your stuff on social media, if you like. But, I made a conscious decision that this is a private thing for me. Just writing for myself, not an audience.
Apart from the bells and whistles of the tool, what I really like is that it has inspired me to keep a daily habit of writing. As someone who draws a lot of energy and inspiration through writing, I have found this practice to be really, really helpful. I've already been amazed at how much it has helped me to sort a lot of stuff that's been going on.
Incredible how our psyche works that way, really.
While I have had a bit of a break in-between the first week that I have tried using it and the next time I started again, I am pleased to report that I am now on a long streak of almost 40 days. I think, in the beginning, I wasn't sure if I would really take the practice. I didn't feel like I could commit to writing 750 words everyday. Now, I do crave for my writing sessions.
I don't always write first thing in the morning. That's okay. As long as I write some time, it's all good.
And, yes, the benefit is far more than just the bragging rights of daily writing.
That's why, right now, I am keen to keep 750 Words as part of my regular personal and professional routine.