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Obsessed

I am officially obsessed with the writing site 750words.com. Premise: write 3 pages (about 250 words/page) each morning. “Morning pages” some writers call them. So this semi-brilliant guy has written a website where you can do just that (he talks about the details here). Only the best part is, you don’t have to do the pages in the morning. Any time of day will do (phew, us night owls all just breathed a big sigh of relief.)

So a friend mentioned this to me a while back and I looked and thought the site looked interesting, but then moved on (as is so often the case.) Yesterday, when mentally beating myself up for not having started my latest novel project yet even though we’re a full week into “summer break” (I can hear all the moms laughing their butts off. Really, they have no butts left.) I remembered the site. Proof right there that I’m still sane. I took a look and decided to just … start… writing… And … huh. Day 1, 800+ words. Hmm. I’m actually really happy with the start, particularly considering that I’m pushing myself to write in first person, which usually weirds me out.

I watched mom tweak and tinker with a hard-wire switch. A tangle of colored cables disappeared behind her practiced hands and into the depths of the control panel on the starboard side of the bridge, or Brigitte, as dad always called the main control room of our family’s space ship, The Depleted. Funny man, that dad of mine. He said he liked the idea of an exotic woman running our ship. Mom usually rolled her eyes at that, seeing as how she usually drove. I’ve learned more than a little about piloting by watching her. I’ve been more interested lately, something about turning thirteen got me more excited about the details of how we moved our big hunk-o-metal through space. Guess I’m finally growing up. Don’t tell mom.

I can set up alerts to tell myself to write each day. Email pestering, it’s how it all happens in my world. I honestly wonder how I got anything done before email. Day 2 dawns and my email is there nagging me at 9 AM. I, of course, was dead asleep at 9 AM, but by 10 I was up and at the computer.

Sadly, that was the last time I was at the computer for anything other than quick email checks until about 7 PM, but then there at 7 PM, glorious in all it’s plain pagedness, was my started 750words.com bit for today. Nothing much.

I ruffled Adara’s hair. Looked at mom. “We’ll be fine, mom. We’ve done two before.”

But it was time to write, and the cursor was blinking. And the site just keeps sucking me in. It was only later that I learned about the stats. And the metadata. Oh heavens, metadata on writing, a geek writer’s PARADISE! I could see that on Day 1 my writing looked like this:

 Please share a geek-out moment with me. Clearly at minute 6 I was interrupted by something. Words per minute on the left, total word count on the right axis. The dot indicates when I reached 750 words. My chart for today looks quite wonky because I took basically a 10 hour break in the middle, but yesterday’s is fascinating. I’ve charted my word output each day for National Novel Writing Month and have always been interested in the stories I could interpret from the data – the days when I could just really crank out the word count, the days when getting the minimum wordage down caused me physical pain (I’m not a tortured writer, though. I write because I love it. The majority of days are happy go-lucky writing days.)

In addition to the pure data, the site also runs some algorithms on what you write so you can learn more about what it is you’re writing. I found this even more exciting. A word cloud for my writing session for the day! And a general read on elements of writing – time orientation, involving the five senses, etc. Cool!

I’ve gushed quite enough, but seriously, check it out. 750words.com Even if your writing isn’t fiction, the way it tracks and gives you data to explore about your writing is fascinating. For someone who journals, this might be really insightful. And you decide on the privacy – my work is a novel-in-progress – I will share parts here but for the most part it’s not meant to be shared until it’s finished (which might happen faster than just 750 words in a day since I’m enjoying all the data and reporting, much more motivating than staring at the computer til your forehead bleeds!) So I can keep it private, these reports are not visible to other viewers of the site or people who look at my profile. But do feel free to friend me over there if you do decide to join. Karen T. Smith – the more the merrier!

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