Exploring ideas for affordable, sustainable, enjoyable living.

Free Writing Therapy

Far be it from me to sell you anything. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring to your attention the occasional awesome free thing I run across. With that in mind…

Have you heard of “morning pages”? The idea comes from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s very simple–every day when you wake up, you write three pages. Three pages about anything, whatever comes to mind–no self-censoring, no worrying about spelling, grammar, or punctuation–just stream of consciousness writing. About 2/3 of the way through you will find you often hit a “truth point” where you really get to the meat of something that’s been on your mind, and it can be surprising and enlightening. This is one benefit of the practice; another is to get your creative juices flowing, which can only happen when you’re not censoring yourself or preoccupied with unrewarding, mundane, and repetitious thoughts that we all seem to bear and even cling to as some kind of proof of adulthood. But of at least equal value is that when you write it out, you get it out of your head. Whatever is bothering you, whatever is on your mind, whatever is just taking up too much space in there, like ’80s song lyrics┬ádeep thoughts.

But writing three pages by hand does take awhile, and maybe when you first wake up you need to hit the shower and the coffee STAT, or get the kids up for school, or maybe you’re like me and you can’t actually remember your own name until after 1 pm.

Enter Three handwritten pages equals about 750 words; this site is nothing but a totally private blank canvas on which to write your words. You get a reminder every day by email, and it counts your words as you write. It even compiles nifty statistics based on words you use most often. No one ever gets to see what you wrote except you, not even the people who run the site, and you can always access everything you’ve written previously. After you’ve been writing for a few days you start to earn humorous little animal badges which are surprisingly motivational. You can write at any time of day or night. Best of all, if you join before May 1st, 2013 it’s free. Forever. (Of course you can always donate if you wish.) If you join after May 1st, you get a 30 day free trial period, after which if you want to create a membership it will cost the royal sum of $5 per month. The fees all go toward site maintenance and operating costs.

I’ve been using 750words for about 4 months now and I’m quite pleased with the results. I was skeptical at first but I was looking to try new things, so I figured, what the heck. I thought there was no way I had enough to write about to make 750 words once, let alone 750 words a day, but in fact I average over a thousand words a day, and 105 pages per month (which may come as no surprise to you given how wordy this post already is). For me it’s extremely therapeutic. Once I’ve written down what’s bothering me, I can put it aside and get on with life, and I have brain-space and energy to devote to things more interesting than worry or complaint. It also helps my memory to write things down–I don’t have to ever look at them again, just the act of writing (well, typing) them seems to seal them in.

So if you’ve ever thought of doing NaNoWriMo, or you can’t afford a shrink or an external hard drive, why not give it a try?

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