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Entries in Cool Websites (2)

Wednesday
Mar102010

5 Reasons Why 750Words.com Rocks

It may be a little too early to call this one, but I think 750 Words is on to something great with their website. I’ve been using it for the past week, and the experience has been nothing but pure awesomeness (which was going to be the original phrase that Wednesday was holding, but it didn’t quite fit).

1. WRITING BECOMES A GAME

If you’ve ever read a “How to Write” book, chances are somewhere in there was something like this:

“If you want to be a writer, sit down at your computer and mash the keys until you have written 3 pages. Then tomorrow, rinse and repeat.”

You’re motivated and determined and this lasts a couple of days, two weeks max, before you trash the work, start over, give up all together, take a day to break, which becomes a year-long vacation, until you’re back to where you started. Sometimes writing becomes a chore, and it shows through, which only makes the editing process that more tedious and painful. So how do you make something that becomes a chore fun again?

Turn it into a game.

That’s one of the main reasons for the success behind Wii fitness, is that it takes the labor of working out and turns it into a video game. And that’s exactly what 750 Words has done, they’ve taken the labor and chore out of writing and made it fun again, and consistently.

2. SCORES AND ACHIEVEMENTS

For writing something down, you get 1 point. For writing 750 words, you get 2 points. But the key is consistency, because that’s how you unlock achievements like the first one I just got, the prized 3-days-in-a-row TURKEY. And I’m now heading toward the Penguin and learning about the various other status-creature achievements that can be obtained.

When you’re writing, this changes your whole mindset of what you’re working on. You stop worrying about whether or not, you should trash this section, because it doesn’t fit in with the rest of your book, or not counting a free write because it doesn’t contribute to the big project your working on, and on, and on. Instead, you sit down and write the 750 words, to put a big X in that empty square space at the top of your profile.

At the time of this writing, there are no bonus points, free vacation day passes, that give you points for not writing, which is great because the only way you can stay in the game is by consistently writing.

3. LINGUISTICT ANALYSIS

I was not aware of this feature before signing up, but to me, this is possibly one of the funnest parts of the website. At the end of your writing, there is a series of little graphs and charts that target what you’ve been writing about. Here’s some of mine:

4. PUBLIC SHAME / PUBLIC GLORY

Every month there’s a challenge to write everyday, all in row, without missing a single day. If you complete the challenge you unlock some awesome achievements, but if you fail, your name goes up on the Wall of Shame, to show everyone out there on the internet how much of a screw-up you are. I haven’t got the guts yet to sign up for April yet, but maybe in May. I think everyone likes being awarded for their hard-work, and awards for that daily, solitary, 3 page, writing routine rarely receives any… until now.

5. YOU CAN CUTOMIZE IT

The clincher for bringing the whole thing together, is the user’s ability to customize their interface to their liking. Here are a list of the fonts you can currently use at 750 Words:

  • Arial
  • Courier New
  • Georgia
  • Meta
  • Obliqua
  • Palatino Linotype
  • Sharktooth
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet
  • Verdana

For me, I use Google Chrome to use the website. I’ve found that when working in FireFox and IE8 that there’s a pause, when the website saves my work. So I’ll be writing… (A few seconds pass)… and then the rest of the words type themselves out in sequence after. I haven’t had this problem in Chrome. This issue may be mine alone, but if you experience something similar try Chrome.

I leave the rest of the settings the same, but type in “Georgia” with the font size being 16. It has a nice look and feel to it, and is easy on the eyes as well.

So if you still haven’t checked it out, do so, it rocks.

Thursday
Mar042010

750 Words - Love The Idea, but I Can't Signup

What's 750 Words?

It's a website that gives you points for keeping up with your writing routine. You know, the one that you told yourself you were definitely going to keep up this time to finish your great American novel.Well, we know how that goes. Anyway, I love the idea behind this site, but signups are temporarily unavailable. Until they are, check out their FAQ and website.