Monday, March 19, 2012

The writer's little helper

Even though I have frequently seen #phdchat community members mentioning how useful they find 750words, I never really gave it a try. I thought it would be totally the same as writing longhand in a diary, which I try to do a few times per week, but recently I decided to try it out anyway.

The real reason to get started with 750words, is that my long-distance fiancé and I were looking for a place where we can write longer things to get a better insight into eachothers' thoughts and needs at a certain day or moment. We decided to open an account together and take turns in writing there.

Here's what I've come to appreciate so far, and why it is an improvement from my handwritten diary entries:

1. 750 words

Slightly a bit of a lame bullet point, but it really is about writing 750 words. I don't think I get to write that many words when I write longhand on paper. And the fact that you need to write 750 words before the entry is "done", helps you to go a little deeper and explore what worries you or excites you at a certain day or moment. It gives me a place an opportunity to figure out what is really on the bottom of my thoughts and why I am stressed out sometimes.


2. Write more, write faster

Writing is like training a muscle - first it is difficult (it takes you ages to complete your first paper or first abstract), but afterwards it becomes easier. You'll end up finding it simply easier to put together a sentence and get the writing done.
At 750 words, the website tracks your speed of writing (x words/min on average), as well as the total time it takes you to write your 750 words. My fastest entry so far was yesterday's 12 minutes. I think 750 words is an excellent place to practice writing and organizing your thoughts. Even though I write as I go there, without stopping the flow of words, I'm positive that this will help me on learning to write more and faster - something that will come in very useful since I just started writing my thesis.

3. Stats


One of the features that I appreciate most about 750 words is that it analyses your entry and shows you some lovely stats. You can find a nice description of how the service works here, from which I also used the following example from the stats. Since I am sharing my account with my fiancé, I find it also very interesting to compare our stats. Although it is obviously different from day to day, looking at the stats from both of us over a longer period of time does show some of the very differences between me and him.While most of my entries are mostly introverted, the majority of his entries are mostly extroverted - a reflection of our very characters.

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