Saturday, January 16, 2016

750 Words

I love writing. I always have. When I was younger, I faithfully kept journals, wrote letters and stories, and loved completing writing assignments at school. Now that I'm older, I still do all those things (not so much with the stories), but now I journal much more and also have somewhat of an obsession with turning events into Haiku. For the last several Christmases, I've written a Haiku about each of the boys' perceived experience during the day. Those 17 syllables can be so informative!

Writing is a family thing really. Recently, my grandma turned 90, and my aunt compiled many of her written memoirs, poems, and memories and turned them into a book to give out at her birthday celebration. It is one of the most precious things I own. You can read about her memories and thoughts from a very young age. And 90 years ago was a long time ago, so in many of her stories, it feels like you're reading about a completely different world.

I started this blog for one because I wanted a place to log our family's memories and adventures. I wanted a journal of things we did and something that the boys could look back on. But I also started this blog so I could keep in the habit of writing.

A few years ago, I started following Moorea Seal's 52 list writing project. Basically, every week, she posted a new list for you to write, like "List the Things You are Thankful For," and "List Things You Want to Make." I was a faithful follower, and completed every list. Then, at week 20 the project ended. That's right. Thirty-two weeks short of the 52 weeks. And I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me mid-challenge. So my response was to make my own list of lists, which I put on this blog in its very early stages.  I've periodically checked back with Moorea Seal to see if the rest of her list was ever published on her blog, and you know what? Instead of finishing the list publicly, she made her list of lists into a book that you can now buy on Etsy. I wonder if anyone would pay money for my list of lists. Oh well.

The second year I had my blog, I wrote a review on Theo Pauline Nestor's Writing is My Drink.  I love(d) that book. I've checked it out from the library several times since then and have completed many of the writing tasks that I included in my original post. For example, one of the suggested posts is to keep a collection of "This is What I Think" writings and keep them close to your writing area. I consistently do this and love it. All of the writing tasks in this book are short, fun, and easy, and keep you in the habit of writing.

I say all that to say that I have found a new writing challenge for this year that I am really excited about. You can find it at 750 words.com.  I love it. It's basically a website that encourages you to write every.single.day.  It includes a monthly challenge to write 750 words each day that month. Literally. You don't have to accept the challenge, but if you do, and then complete the challenge, you get your name on the Wall of Fame. If you don't, it's the "Wall of Shame." Nobody is checking for sentences or punctuation. You just write every day. You can also earn "awards" and "badges" when you've consecutively completed so many days of writing. Additional awards are given if you can write without getting distracted. That's right. The website keeps track of how long it takes you to complete your 750 words each day and notes how often you are distracted while writing. It's not as much pressure as you think. It's a fun community of writers. When you're done writing, a computer program generates a compilation of stats including your most frequently used words, the rating of your post (I got a PG-13 today), your mindset (pulled from words in your post), your time orientation and feeling while writing. So I took the challenge for January. It's a fun way to either start or end my day and 750 words isn't nearly as much as you think. It usually takes me less than 20 minutes. I'm going on 19 straight days (I actually started a few days before January) and I've already earned 5 badges. The first 30 days are free, but after that you have to pay $5 per month for membership. Ridiculously reasonable. You can also upload everything you write on the website to your computer. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in a writing challenge.

Happy penning!

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