So I followed somebody on twitter who tweeted that he’d completed his 750 words today, but not every day this month so far, and anyway I clicked the link for the 750 words website. After a bit of investigation and feeling a tinge of dejavu I found out that it’s a site developed by Eric Benson who I followed quite a bit during the early days of 43things.
Intrigued, I signed up so here I am typing. The first thing that strikes me is wanting to make sure I’ll be able to access and retrieve the stuff that I write. I don’t just want to do a brain dump in order to get rid of it, I want to be able to keep it safe somewhere and use it again. But it’s a monologue without any sense of audience. Don’t the best ideas come about through participating in dialogue with others? Well maybe or maybe not.
Another comparison would be with write or die. Write or die works by using a big stick, the screen shouts at you if you stop typing for too long! So everything is written with a sense of urgency rather than a cool and reflective state of mind.
750words on the other hand is using a positive incentive, points. Who cares about points? Well usually I don’t , heck I don’t even have a nectar card and glancing down I see that this makes up 240 words so far, which means by now I’m a third of the way through the task for today. Will I be able to keep concentrating on typing for long enough to finish it without getting distracted or bored enough to go off and do something else with the good intention of coming back to finish it later. Perhaps. And then never ever visiting this site again. Except that the email reminders will come up at six o’clock in the morning. So there are some clever little tricks and whistles underneath the apparently simple idea of just providing an interface for writing something every day that takes up at least 750 words worth of text.
Another thing I notice is that I’m correcting my typos and misspellings as I go along, prompted by the spellchecker that’s built in to my firefox browser. As nobody is going to read this, in theory, then what is the point of making corrections? To get into a good habit.
And now I’m stuck facing the more than half of a blank page that confronts me as I run out of things to write about that come easily to mind. It’s my first attempt though. Maybe next time it will be different. Well it will, because it will be morning for one thing. Now I’m trying out a technique of noise reduction by typing softly on the keyboard. I’ve lost most of the ability to touch type. Where did that go? I don’t even mean typing without looking, I mean typing with all of the fingers of both hands. As a guitar player it’s always worrying to lose any amount of dexterity. No good just being worried though, what’s more important is what we can do about it, and practice of the kind referred to as best practice, is always a good idea. I’m not editing what I’ve written at all, just correcting typos so that I can’t get away with just splodging the keyboard whilst thinking of words. That would be cheating and cheating doesn’t pay. Not cheating doesn’t pay all that well either, but there you go. I’ll get faster at this with practice, and then I’ll be able to write a lot more effortlessly and create content that helps with everything else. Or at least write stuff that somebody wants to read. Ah, that kind of thing helped quite a bit because now I’m coming up to the back straight with the finish line clearly in sight. There’s a checkered flag waiting for me after just a couple more laps of the stadium. Did I mention that we are typing in a stadium now? Yes speed-writing has become an officially acknowledged sport in time for the 2012 Olympics which will be taking place just down the road from where I live. Forty two words left to write now, it’s so easy but I don’t have a clock timer set to see how long it took me to get the whole task done. I can see how I could get this done in the morning quite easily between the first and second cups of coffee!
What happens now? Where’s the BIG SAVE button?