As I’ve previously posted, I am a huge fan of Morning Pages. Those three (most days…some days I only write 1-2 and I’ve skipped a day or two altogether) long-hand pages are a fantastic way of clearing out the brain first thing in the morning (though they can be done any time of the day). Committing to them again and writing stream-of-consciousness has definitely increased my ability to tap into the creative flow. It also helps to quiet the inner critic.
The Artist’s Way is pretty insistent about the MPs being done long-hand (I think hand writing allows for more of a connection between the mind and the page) but there are some obvious drawbacks. A lot of mornings, my wrist is aching by the end of three pages. And, if I don’t finish all my pages in the morning, or if I want to add more, it’s inconvenient to lug my big notebook around.
The MPs are absolutely worth the small inconveniences but it would be nice if there were another, complementary, way to get them done.
Yesterday, I checked out a website that Wendy Blanton had mentioned in her comments on my recent MP post. The website is 750words and it is fabulous! The idea is that 750 words equals three pages of 250 words each. There’s a nifty word counter to let you know when you’ve hit 750 words. Just like the MPs, these pages can be done stream-of-consciousness (though I think they can also be used for free writing and even story writing). The entries are private (unless you configure sharing options) and there’s an added password option for when the site has been idle for 10 minutes or more.
When the 750 words are complete (though you’re always free to keep writing), you can check out a page of statistics about your entry. There’s a word-per-minute calculator as well as a timer. There’s information on which words were most often used and even a pie chart telling how you’re feeling (though the website admits it’s mostly for fun and not terribly reliable) and another telling you what you’re primarily concerned about (both based on the words used in the entry). You can even track your own custom statistics and a to-do list. In addition to the statistics, there are points given for completing at least 750 words daily, badges and challenges.
I made my second entry today and I’m hooked. I don’t know if it will entirely replace MPs for me (I still have to look up exactly why Julia Cameron insisted MPs be written long-hand), but it’s a fantastic addition at the very least. I love that I can see statistics (which can tell me when I’m getting distracted and how my writing flows over time) and that I can even make the entries from my iPhone. I like that I can write any time of the day and that I can export the entries or cut-and-paste them to my word processor (for when I free write for a story). Typing on the keyboard was also very restful for my wrists as opposed to writing long-hand. It’s still early yet, but I think 750words is definitely a valuable addition to the traditional MPs.