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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 July 21, 2021

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

      The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

      No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

      Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

      Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

      A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

      Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

      In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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      From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

      A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

      For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

      This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

      The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

      That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

      Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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      The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

      Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

      But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

      The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

      The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

      A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

      For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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      But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

      If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

      For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

      These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

      For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

      How to Make a Reminder Works for You

      Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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      Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

      Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

      My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

      Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

      I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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      Reference

      [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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