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Kickstart Your Creativity By Writing 750 Words a Day

Kickstart Your Creativity By Writing 750 Words a Day

    If you are a creative person, you may understand the idea of writer’s block in some form or fashion. You don’t have to necessarily be a writer to experience this, in fact software engineers, artists, or anyone that has to create things for a living is susceptible to the horrible affliction of writer’s block.

    There are a ton of ideas out their on how  to get over this creativity stumbling block, but they all come back to a standard tome.

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    Work.

    Creativity is work no matter which way you slice it. It isn’t always fun and in paraphrasing Merlin Mann, “you don’t need a beret to be creative.” Creativity is a dirty job. It is something that requires passion, long hours, and banging your head against the wall. It requires you to make a ton of mistakes along the path of creating something awesome. Creativity isn’t about being perfect; it’s a about working hard and making things, having ideas, scrapping projects, and getting to a point where something you have made is awesome.

    I am about to be a full time Programmer Analyst for an insurance company and have found that in working part time I have a lot to learn. I create crappy code and refactor it until it is something that is decent and then refactor it again until it is readable and somewhat efficient. It takes time and energy to make code that is worth a damn. To get to the spot of creating something that is worthwhile, I had to make a bunch of stuff that kind of sucked.

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    750 Words

    This is where the idea of 750 words a day comes in. I have partaken in writing 750 words a day for the past 90 days and I have to say that it is truly liberating. What this practice does is allow me to make mistakes and write a bunch of crap every day to get ideas out of my head and on to paper without being too critical of myself for 15 minutes.

    Writing 750 words a day is all about letting your “stream of consciousness” take the wheel allowing yourself to not think too much about what you are writing. It wakes up the creative “juices” and helps you get ready to work on real project that requires your full attention.

    The practice

    Writing 750 words a day is not at all my idea. I heard about it a while back in the form of “Morning Pages” which is the idea to write about 3 pages, long hand, every single morning. It is part of Julia Cameron’s, “The Artist’s Way” which can be combined with “The Artist’s Date” which is a weekly “date” with yourself to explore something creative that interests you.

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    I highly suggest writing your 750 words every morning, but you can write them anytime. There really isn’t a wrong way to do this; just as long as you write 750 words a day no matter what. Also, don’t try to critique anything you write or edit it while you go. In fact, don’t even re-read the crap that you wrote. Just let it come out, whatever it is, and then be done with it until the next day. This helps you to get in the habit of creating something without being critical.

      The tools

      I can’t say that there is any one tool or set of tools that make you a better “750 word writer”. You can use a junky notebook, a text file, a Word document, or even the 750words.com service. No matter what you use to write with the most important part is to write.

      Being the techy that I am as well as being obsessed with stats, I chose the 750words.com service. It’s free to use and keeps track of what you write. It also has monthly challenges that you can sign up for to keep you on the right track. Over the past 90 days I have written a total of 68,567 words. Most of which are total junk I am sure, but what is nice about 750words.com is that it parses your writing and gives you charts and graphs of what emotions your content carries, the “maturity” of your writing, your concerns, and your mindset. It’s a handy way to see what you are writing about and a good way to keep you motivated.

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      Get to work

      Now that you have a decent tool to overcome writer’s block and to spawn creativity it’s time to use it. We can think of a thousand reasons why 750 words a day won’t work for us or will be too hard or is stupid, but the fact still remains that we have to do something to induce creativity. Writing like this everyday is an awesome way to start and no matter what field you are in this practice can benefit you.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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      Last Updated on April 19, 2021

      The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

      The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

      Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

      The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

      Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

      In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

      When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

      Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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      1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

      When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

      As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

      That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

      The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

      What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

      Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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      There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

      So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

      2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

      When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

      No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

      3. Move Your Body

      A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

      It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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      So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

      4. Connect With Another Person

      Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

      One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

      Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

      5. Use Your Imagination

      When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

      That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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      And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

      Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

      Final Thoughts

      Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

      Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

      More on the Importance of Taking a Break

      Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

      Reference

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