Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tara Aspires to Pterodactyl Status, Via Words

Have you heard of 750 words?

Well you should have - and if you haven't before, then you have now.

I first learned about this site from Ryan at Cyan Years. It was Christmas Eve, and I was feeling a little fret-lagged (the term I use for making the anxiety ridden shift from bustling New York to quietly boring New Jersey.)

I took a peek at this new writing tool - which was a sort of private daily blog that keeps track of your words each day and interprets their meaning in a page of statistics, designed to be an eyeball into your subconscious.  Like the "morning papers" that the author suggests a writer should always keep in The Artist's Way, a book I had read coincidentally not too long ago. In fact it was these same papers that I had tried to force myself to no avail. There was really only one disciplinarian in that equation, and that was me. And I sucked at it.

I didn't think that 750 words would be any better. At an average of 3 pages (for those big-handwriting folks) daily, I figured I would last a day or two. Maybe a half a day - I get lazy. If I had been trying to write for this long, even with a number of blogs already under my belt, how the hell would I be able to keep THIS going without losing enthusiasm (and steam) after the novelty wore off?

Well hell, I thought, why not? I had nothing better to do than sit trapped in a house during the great blizzard of 2010.

Long story short, I wrote about 7 days straight. Granted, it was during the holidays, and I was literally stuck in the house with snow drifts of up to 5 feet outside my door. But there were many other useless things I could have done with my time - and instead, I allowed myself to squeeze in about an hour or two of thoughtful reflection before I busied myself with something consisting of less neural activity.

I've since been on-and-off on my usage - what with work, sleeping and procrastination. But sooner or later, I'll log on, start typing about how I don't have anything to write about, and before you know it, I'll have surpassed 750 words.

Oh, it's absolute drivel; but my mind is suddenly clearer, my shoulders lighter, and my fingers satisfied with their efficiency. More than often, it's the only way I can get through all the muck of criticism and anxiety to find what's really going on inside my little inner-me.

I'm not really that into fads, diets or yoga, or any other sort of obsessive trend that some bloggers may enthusiastically rave about. I also think it's really effing annoying. But I have to admit, 750 words has done me a world of good, both as a writer and a person. Sure, I can write in my blog till the cows come home, but the truth is, I'm always going to have an audience in mind. This site allows me to write as if it were a journal, where I don't need to be conscious of who else is reading.

So why is it actually better than your basic, run-of-the-mill journal?
I admit, I do miss writing like in olden days. However, here's what I don't miss:
  • Obsessing over my handwriting
  • Hand cramps
    Having my innermost thoughts lying around for sneaky people to read
  • Wasting trees

Here are the reasons why 750 words (or any other live diary, for that matter) beats pen and paper:
  • It's smart; all of your words are counted each day and tallied altogether, so you can keep track of your progress. It also lists statistics based on what your focuses are, which can help to see what's driving you subconsciously day-to-day.
  • Like Jesus, it saves. Every day. And you can go back to re-read things without having to navigate through hastily written handwriting.
  • You can copy and paste anything that's good enough to show elsewhere.
  • You get gentle reminders to write every day, and little incentives to keep you going. Like a penguin badge. Penguins make everyone want to work harder. (Personally I aspire to the Phoenix, Pterodactyl and Monocled Owl.)
  • If you forget to write one day, no one stabs you in the face.

And there you have it. I have successfully plugged But don't try it for me - I bet you'll be hooked from the moment you start.

And that's when I'll get my check.

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