I’ve long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist’s Way called morning pages. Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically encouraged to be in “long hand”, typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head. It’s about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. Unlike many of the other exercises in that book, I found that this one actually worked and was really really useful.
I’ve used the exercise as a great way to think out loud without having to worry about half-formed ideas, random tangents, private stuff, and all the other things in our heads that we often filter out before ever voicing them or writing about them. It’s a daily brain dump. Over time, I’ve found that it’s also very helpful as a tool to get thoughts going that have become stuck, or to help get to the bottom of a rotten mood.
750 Words is the online, future-ified, fun-ified translation of this exercise. Here’s how it works:
★ All Online
In the past, looking for a spare notebook was probably easier than looking for a computer. Not anymore. I don’t know if my hands even work anymore with pen and paper for any task that takes longer than signing a check or credit card reciept.
★ It’s Not Blogging
I’ve tried writing my 750 words a day on Livejournal, WordPress, PBWorks, Tumblr, and all of these other sites designed around putting content online. It hasn’t worked for me. I fear that I might accidentally forget to mark daily pages as private. And it’s just weird having my private brain dumps out on various sites that are designed to be more social. I don’t need to title my entries, or tag them, or enable comments, or any of that other stuff. This is writing, and it’s online, but it’s not blogging, or Twittering, or Facebook status updating. This is between you and you.
★ 3 Pages = 750 Words
I looked this up. 250 words per page is considered to be the standard accepted number of words per page. So, three standard pages are about 750 words. Of course if 750words.com hadn’t been available, I would’ve totally found a way to prove that 249 words per page was the accepted standard. It really just comes down to the fact that this amount of writing feels about right. You can’t just fart out 3 pages without running into your subconscious a little bit… 750 words takes a bit of effort, and it never fails to get me typing things that I have wanted to articulate without realizing it. And that’s the point.
Because 750 words is nothing to sneeze at, it’s also nice to have an easy way to know how many words you have to go. This site of course tracks your word count at all times and lets you know when you’ve passed the blessed 750 mark. And it gives you a nice big screen to write on, automatically scrolls as you write (like a typewriter), and automatically saves your writing as you go.