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Take 60 Seconds and Get Inspired by One Word

By Jennifer Blanchard

The best way to become a better writer is to write every single day, no exceptions. Many writers have a difficult time getting started, however, because they just can’t seem to find time or can’t seem to sit down long enough.

Do you have one minute a day you can dedicate to writing?

Then you should try out One Word. One Word is a daily writing exercise that gives you one word each day and you get 60 seconds to write.  Not about the word itself, but about whatever reading and seeing the word inspires you to write.

When the 60 seconds is up, you can choose to type your name and e-mail address in the provided boxes and then save the post to the site, or you can click on “skip” and it deletes what you wrote.

What’s so cool and interesting is that the word evokes so many different thoughts from people.

For example, today’s word was “charge” and I spent my 60 seconds writing about charge cards because that is what popped in my head. When I went to the page where all the saved pieces were published, I was amazed to see the different things people came up with.  [Ed. Note: These examples are listed exactly as they are written on the site.]

Here are some of my favorites:

“Electricity shooting between synapses, thoughts spiraling out of control, faster and faster they whirl around until you can’t help it anymore, you want to shout, you want to call out, you want to yell “I’m here, look at me, I need someone to hold me and just make me feel safe and loved!” You can’t hold it in – you have to say something, anything, or you’ll burst – you have to say SOMETHING…
‘Hi.'”
[from Esther]

“Charge up your engines and turn the the key. The ignition may jump the first time but the second time you will have int  under control. Your life always follows the same pattern, like cutout directions on a cereal box that never seem to change. Prepare, dive in, screw up, and finally, succeed.”
[from song kim]

“Charge into things head first, don’t think about anything else. it’s a matter of spontaneity, it’s a matter of just jumping.

not unlike when you made me promise to look both ways when I cross the street, but really.. what’s the joy in running for a bus unless there is a chance that you will get run over?

this is why I promise things I don’t know, because it’s almost more amusing to see what happens rahter than try and plan it all out.

charge.

like the charge of the light brigade, it’s a matter of courage.”
[from jeff]

The idea isn’t to write perfectly, but to forget about editing (and your inner editor) and just write! Be sure you still read through you post when the 60 seconds is up and proofread it before publishing.

The best part is, you can use One Word to help you develop a habit of writing daily. As you write your 60 seconds a day, you’ll begin to get in a writing state-of-mind and will want to keep the momentum going.

A good way to take advantage of this writing momentum is to do a quick One Word warm-up before you start your daily writing session.  It can help energize and inspire you to keep on writing.

Give One Word a try. Then come back and let us all know what you thought!

Ed. Note: I just want to say thanks to my pal Eric Ozanam for introducing me to this fun writing tool.

Write Or Die: A Free Tool for Procrastinating Writers


By Jennifer Blanchard

I was recently introduced to an awesome writing productivity tool from a follower on Twitter (@armselig). The tool is called “Write or Die,” which is “a Web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences,” according to the tool’s creator, Dr. Wicked.

Here’s how “Write or Die” works:

  • There are 3 modes: Gentle, Normal and Kamikaze.
  • In Gentle Mode, when you stop writing, you will get “writing reminders” that pop up on your screen reminding you to keep writing until your time limit is up/you have hit your word count.
  • In Normal Mode, when you stop writing, you’ll hear a very annoying noise, which will only go away if you keep writing.
  • In Kamikaze Mode, when you stop writing, it gives you a few seconds and then it starts deleting your words. To keep it from deleting everything, you have to keep writing.
  • Once you choose your word count/time limit, mode and how “forgiving” you want the tool to be, you’re off and writing.

Now before you try out this tool, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • This is for productivity ONLY—Do not expect to write anything even remotely close to The Great Gatsby or Grapes of Wrath just by using this tool. This tool is not here to make you a better writer. It’s here to make you write, period. (You can worry about editing what you’ve written after you’ve written it!)
  • Kamikaze mode is the BY FAR the best mode to use—Since it deletes your writing if you stop for more than a few seconds, you are forced to keep writing in order to not get anything deleted. If you are serious about getting writing done, this is the mode for you.
  • If you’re attempting this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge, Write or Die will easily help you reach your daily word count (of 1667 words).
  • Remember to select all the text you wrote and copy it—There is no way to save your text using this tool, and once you navigate away from the page, everything you’ve written is gone. That’s why you need to copy what you wrote and paste it into a Word document in order to save it.
By using this writing productivity tool, you are learning to shut off your inner editor and just getting writing done. And that, Procrastinating Writers, is what it truly takes to be a successful writer.