Overcoming inertia, pressing through resistance, breaking through writer’s block—whatever you call it, we all struggle with it. As much as we enjoy it, writing is hard work, and there are a million temptations to keep us from it.
One way to deal with resistance is to form accountability partnerships. This was why here at NAF we ran our Works in Progress posts for so long. We’re getting by without those posts these days, but I’m always on the lookout for such resources so I can advise my clients.
That’s why I tried out the writing site 750 Words. A friend of mine uses it, and I enjoy seeing her Facebook posts showing how many days in a row she’s written and her badges for achieving milestones. The site is designed to inspire you to write more by gamifying your writing. With points and badges as rewards for daily writing, you’ll be less tempted to skip a day or to write less on a given day. I confess, on a day I was content to slip off with a mere 660 words, I pressed on and wrote another hundred just to put me over the top. Including some of these here that you’re reading right now.
But the novelty quickly wore off, and now I’m back to tracking my productivity on a spreadsheet and not sweating over whether I wrote 750 today or merely 740. (They chose the number 750 words because that’s about three pages of writing.)
I have two problems with the site. The primary one is that there is no free version. You can get a free thirty-day trial, but after that, you’re paying. I understand they are operating a powerful site with analytics and whatnot. But many membership sites offer a free version and then upsell you on the goodies. One way 750 Words could use this freemium model would be to offer only badges in the free version, and require payment to get the analytics and social connection features.
To use 750 Words on an ongoing basis costs $5 per month, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s $60 a year, which is comparable to some writing associations but provides a lot less benefit. Compare:
So if all I need is accountability, I could get that from one of these other groups. (Actually, I belong to all three but only use ACFW’s Novel Track program for accountability.)
The unique service 750 Words provides is its analytics, which are spiffy. But they can be misleading. For example, it often rates my work as PG, even when I fed it one of my blog posts about editing. The emotional analysis isn’t much better. My post on usage, which included a reference to Ground Zero, was flagged as being “concerned mostly about death” even though I only used that word once.
So in spite of the nifty badges and analytics, I’ve decided to give 750 Words a miss and keep using the Novel Track members as my accountability partners.
Whom do you turn to to ensure you meet your writing goals?