I’ve wanted to start a blog for as long as I can remember having the internet. Over the years I started many but I had issues with people I knew reading about my innermost feelings and angst. Many of the blogs I started ended because someone I knew found out about my blog. The more recent ones failed because I knew what I wanted to say but not how to say it. I never thought I needed to know how to write, i thought I could just do it. Oh how wrong I was! I didn’t know the first thing about how to write anything!
Years ago I found a website called 750 Words that has helped me tremendously in building a better writing habit and learning how to write better. I read about how every writer should be writing three pages a day, which amounts to about 750 words. I have written about the site before and I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to practice writing. I am sad to say that it is no longer free though.
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.
– Excerpt from 750 Words explaining what the website is about.
There are two things I like about the site. One is that it keeps track of how many days in a row you have been writing and tells you what your streak is. The longer your streak is the more you want to keep going. Losing a significant streak, let’s say 50 or 100 days, really makes you feel crappy. So writing becomes more and more of a priority and you work harder and harder to fit it in to your schedule and get it done.
The second is that it is completely private. You can practice everyday and never have to worry about someone reading it. I use this a lot to free write about a topic I’d like to blog about. I free write there where no one can read it and I say whatever I want. Then I will often copy and paste it into the WordPress editor and edit and add images. Bam! A new post. Easy peasy!
If you are unwilling to pay for access to 750 Words the same thing can be accomplished with any word processing program, Microsoft Word or even Google Docs, a calendar, and a red marker. This article on Lifehacker explains the idea but basically everyday that you just sit down and write. Everyday after you write, you put a read X over the date. After you have a few days you have built a chain. Don’t break the chain!
I do have to warn you though, if, or maybe I should say when, you do break the chain it is very hard to get started again. I was working on a 100 day streak and I messed up and forgot to write one day. I was 60 days in and I was devastated! Al that hard work I had done was lost! That’s how I felt at first. That’s how I felt for almost a month!
I finally decided to try again and I realized even though I had broken the chain I had learned something. My writing was better and it was getting easier. Now when I mess up and I break the chain I will start again right away! The point is to make writing something that comes easier and easier. The only way to do that is to practice. I still don’t consider even consider myself a writer, let alone a good writer, but I am getting better everyday. I just have to remember, don’t break the chain!
Image via @ Fran Efless
Prompt inspired by the twist in today’s assignment on WordPress’ Writing 101 course. The twist was to You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day. Because I already have a god writing habit I decided to write more about that instead and possibly help other new bloggers.