186 days in a row.
That’s my current streak at 750words.com, a site where, as its name implies, the goal is to write 750 words a day, or about three traditional pages of text. It’s totally private, offers zero in terms of formatting, and is about as plain an interface as you can get. While I could do that type of writing in an Evernote journal or a Google Doc notebook, there’s a weird community aspect to 750words that I find appealing. Right now there are about 3500 members, and each day, you can dig around and see how much other people have written and what streaks they are on, etc. I’ve com across some with streaks of over 1,000 days, totaling millions of words. And you get all sorts of meta data each day and badges when you hit milestones, silly on some level, but motivating on another. Here’s what the dashboard looks like when I finish writing each day:
But it’s not the site as much as the writing that I want to write about. When I was teaching, I used to have my kids freewrite every day, just as a way of exercising their writing brains. I wanted them to just use words, to play with language, to not worry about correctness or grammar or sense or anything else. And I would do it with them. These were never read, never shared, never assessed. It was just a brain dump. Exercise.
When I first started blogging way back in 2001 (which you can now easily access on page 369 of the archives here) I wrote short snips. As I got into it more, I wrote more and more often. In my heyday of blogging, I was writing 50-60 posts per month. But then a few years ago, I pulled back quite a bit. For a couple of years, I scarcely wrote a couple of things a month. Part of it had to do with 140 characters, I’m sure. But part of it, honestly, was that I’d lost confidence in my writing, in my ideas. When I’d first started, there weren’t many of us out there blogging about K-12 education and learning. And then suddenly about 7-8 years ago, there were so many amazing edubloggers out there I couldn’t even count them all. Blogging became a struggle.
But when I started writing every day again six months ago, I started finding my voice again. Or, at least, I started enjoying the writing again. It’s something I look forward to every day. And it’s just helped me clarify my own thinking about this whole conversation that I still, even after 15 years, find fascinating and important.
So I’m blogging again. And it feels really good. I’m happy that I’ve got a few readers out there. But I’m doing this for me, as my practice, as my meditation, and as a way of trying to make sense of the world.
Half way to a year of writing every day.