A while ago I’ve come about the hashtag #500words. In fact it’s been a tweet by Remittance Girl, whom I got to know as a fabulous writer of tweet-sized opinion pieces. But here she addressed a point I’m usually struggling with: writing consistently and writing every day. While it’s easy enough to drop the occasional witty remark on social media, it’s a completely different cup of tea to work on books or essays, be it fiction or non-fiction.
I don’t know how you do it, but I tend to work on a lot of things that happen to prevent me to write today, but of course I’m going to start tomorrow. In other words: I’m an experienced procrastinator. I’m even pondering to change my business cards to Senior Procrastination Advisor. So @RemittanceGirl’s tweet had a certain appeal to me.
Well, she of course has written more about #500words and it’s definitely worth to check out her post on Medium if you want to know more about this project.
So what’s it all about? In short it’s about a task you’re going to five yourself to overcome your writer’s block and to stop finding yourself absorbed in the absurdities presented to you by various news on social media. You agree to write at least 500 words per day (you can do more if you feel like it) for one week before you even think to open your social media pages. It doesn’t matter what you write about, just write. There’s also the rule not to edit what you’ve written and just type down what’s on your mind. For my own stuff I’ve added the rule to avoid politics, but that’s completely up to you.
I found this to be a surprisingly hard task and had to restrain myself quite a bit to not look into Twitter or Facebook – just to know what’s going on, of course. There’s a quote from Remittance Girl’s article I can fully rely to as being one of the worst enemies for my own writing – right after my ongoing struggle with my tax declaration:
„I get up in the morning, make coffee, and open up twitter, only to become overwhelmed by what the world seems to be turning into. I’ve felt a pressure to engage“
With the 500 word task I’m forced to shut off this urge to dive deep into Twitter lunacy for a while and to adapt to a more structured writing habit. All in all it’s a great way to get yourself into the habit of writing regularly without allowing too much interruptions or distractions. Of course you can show off your success on social media using the hashtag #500words.
On these pages I’m going to collect my 500 words – starting on Monday, April 17th. 2017. Be warned it’s neither very sophisticated nor high quality stuff, but rather spontaneous stories and comments, not always thought through and probably not very well planned. After all it’s not intended to be an story outline or an essay for a magazine, but rather a warm-up for the writer’s mind.