A few months ago I discovered the 750 words concept.
The idea is simple: Every day you write down 750 words on anything that comes into your head. It doesn’t have to be well thought out, or even well-argued. You don’t need to spell check it and you don’t need to proofread it. And it’s even better if you don’t read what you’ve written immediately afterwards, or even ever.
You also don’t need to show what you have written to anyone, so you’re free to write about anything you want to without fear of offence or embarrassment.
I write for a living. Every day I churn out thousands of words on one subject or another. So why would I want to add to that load with another 750 words?
Because it is liberating.
I write about anything I am thinking about at the time. I have no specific topic, I don’t have to justify what I put down, nor do I have to rework a paragraph over and over to make a meaning clear. It’s the opposite of what I do for a living.
The real benefit of writing 750 words, though, is that it is a way of clearing the head, a sort of brain drain.
That last term is perhaps the best description of the process and comes from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.
I first came across Cameron’s book many years ago when it was lent to me by an artist friend. In it Cameron describes tools an artist can use to improve their creativity. Among them are what she calls Morning Pages. These are three pages of (preferably longhand) writing done every morning to free up the mind. I didn’t give it much attention the first time around but when I stumbled on the 750 Words version I became a fan.
I type my 750 words into a text editor and save them on my PC. The 750 Words site has a clever online tool that stores your notes for you and even allows you to do some clever analysis on it. I, however, prefer my daily ramblings to be stored offline.
I rarely re-read what I have written. That’s not the point.
Sometimes I think I’ve said something particularly clever in one of my 750 words and it may find its way into something else I write. But I most often simply close the document I’ve been writing into and head onto something else.
As a writer there is an additional benefit: It kickstarts my writing for each day, a sort of “warm-up”. A chance to physically and mentally get ready to write for the rest of the day.
At the same time 750 Words, or Morning Pages, are not only for artists and writers. Clearing your head of clutter, giving voice to innermost or suppressed thoughts, writing through a problem is a time well spent for anyone.
At the worst you could improve your writing skills.