This number represents the days in a row that I wrote 750 words. From July 6th, 2011 to about April 9th, 2011 I wrote at least 750 words everyday on 750words.com.
First it started with one day, then one month. Then it got to the point where it was automatic. The first thing I would do everyday would be to pull out my laptop and write 750 words.
Usually I would get up around 5am and write my 750words, but this day was different. I had volunteered to be a chaperone for a college visit to the University of Illinois, so this required that I make it to the University of Chicago Woodlawn campus by 5:30am. This time shifted my morning routine just enough that I didn’t have time to write 750 words. After spending the whole day at U of I, I arrived back in Chicago around 9pm. Once I made it to the apartment, I started assisting Neal who was about a full day into his first-ever hackathon at Northwestern. For the next few hours, I was working on designs at our apartment and sending them through email to him.
2am comes around and I go to bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I felt a shock go through my system.
I forgot to write 750 words today.
It was beautiful how it all went down. Almost as if some higher power had orchestrated these events to happen so that I couldn’t keep my streak alive. But in reality, I just forgot. Plain and simple.
The beauty about losing a streak like that is realizing just how awesome it was. For almost a year straight, I wrote 750 words. That means I wouldn’t even have a chance of breaking it until 2012! It makes me think about professional athletes who make it to the Super Bowl, the World Series, or the Olympics, and come up just short. They have to wait another year (or another four years) just to have another chance at winning.
What do you do?
Well for me, it was tough to get back into it. Between April and August 2011, I wasn’t able to keep a streak over 20 days. It also didn’t help that we were going through the ups and downs of starting Code Academy, but in the end those were all excuses to not doing what was pretty easy to do.
At the beginning of September 2011, we were about a month away from the first class of Code Academy. There were a ton of things to do to get ready, and we were busier than we had ever been before. Staring at all that was in front of us, I decided that this was the perfect time to restart my 750 words streak. Why? No rational reason really, I just thought that it was so crazy to try to do something consistent during this time of instability that it just might work!
I haven’t missed a day since that decision and I am currently at 245 days in a row.
So how am I able to do this?
- Routine – I usually make this the first major task I do on my computer every morning. The mornings are usually when things are the most calm, and since I get up between 4-5am everyday, I usually get a head start on the world. The later I wait to do 750words, the more unpredictability sets in. The mornings are my time to do exactly what I want, so I take advantage.
- Set side goals - The least I need to do to keep my streak alive is to write 750 words, but focusing on the minimum amount to continue is not the best recipe for success. In late October 2011, I noticed that if I wrote 988 words per day for the rest of the year, I would be able to get to 500,000 total words written. So instead of focusing on 750 each day, I wrote 1,000. On December 27th, 2011, I crossed the 500,000 word mark. For 2012, I wanted to figure out how many words I needed to write everyday to get to 1,000,000 words written (or 500,000 for the year), and it came out to about 1,500 words. So now I do that. I haven’t keep up with that goal everyday, but when your goal is two times higher than necessary, falling a little short is still easily surpassing the minimum requirement.
- Focus – It usually takes me about 10 minutes to write 750 words and 20 minutes to write 1500 words each day. That is, if I am focused. Using the pomodoro technique is crucial since it makes me focus on writing and nothing else. Without that, you allow the opportunity to wander and let other priorities get in the way.
- Have fun – If this wasn’t something I looked forward to everyday then I would have stopped a long time ago. However, it feels great to just have a platform to write about anything. Great way to start each day with a clean slate.
What Do You Write About?
This is the number one question I get about 750words haha, and the truth is I write a lot of nonsense. A lot of nonsense with even more typos. That’s not entirely true, but the point I am making is that I don’t write for the intention of going back and reading it. I write to clear my mind for the day ahead. Will I go back someday and read this stuff? Maybe. But if I don’t, I won’t feel like this was a waste of time.
Right now I am less than one month away from breaking the elusive 272. I have given this number so much stature that it feels like I am going after Roger Maris’ home run record. Hopefully it’s not bad luck that I am writing about this before I break my own record, but if I don’t make it to 272 it will be my own fault.
If you follow me on Twitter, you will know whether I get past 272 or not.
Today’s Blog Post Word Count: 1000