The old fashioned way works better. When it comes to college students, the belief that more is better may underlie their widely-held view that laptops in the classroom enhance their academic performance. Laptops do in fact allow students to do more, like engage in online activities and demonstrations, collaborate more easily on papers and projects, access information from the internet, and take more notes. Indeed, because students can type significantly faster than they can writethose who use laptops in the classroom tend to take more notes than those who write out their notes by hand.
It's about learning a new habit: I've long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist's Way called morning pages.
Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically encouraged to be in "long hand", typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head.
It's about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day.
Unlike many of the other exercises in that book, I found that this one actually worked and was really really useful. I've used the exercise as a great way to think out loud without having to worry about half-formed ideas, random tangents, private stuff, and all the other things in our heads that we often write a check to 2 people out before ever voicing them or writing about them.
It's a daily brain dump. Over time, I've found that it's also very helpful as a tool to get thoughts going that have become stuck, or to help get to the bottom of a rotten mood. Here's how it works: I don't know if my hands even work anymore with pen and paper for any task that takes longer than signing a check or credit card receipt.
It hasn't worked for me. I fear that I might accidentally forget to mark daily pages as private. And it's just weird having my private brain dumps out on various sites that are designed to be more social.
I don't need to title my entries, or tag them, or enable comments, or any of that other stuff. This is writing, and it's online, but it's not blogging, or Twittering, or Facebook status updating. This is between you and you. So, three standard pages are about words.
Of course if words.
It really just comes down to the fact that this amount of writing feels about right. You can't just fart out 3 pages without running into your subconscious a little bit And that's the point.
Because words is nothing to sneeze at, it's also nice to have an easy way to know how many words you have to go. This site of course tracks your word count at all times and lets you know when you've passed the blessed mark.
And it gives you a nice big screen to write on, automatically scrolls as you write like a typewriterand automatically saves your writing as you go.
If you write anything at all, you get 1 point. If you write words or more, you get 2 points. If you write two, three or more days in a row, you get even more points.
It's fun to try to stay on streaks and the points are a way to play around with that. You can also see how others are doing points-wise if you're at all competitive that way.
How I see it, points can motivate early on, and eventually the joy of writing will kick in and you'll be writing without any external motivation at all.
Every day you write, you'll get beautiful stats that analyze the feelings, themes, and mindset of your words. Free-writing, in my opinion, is like a cheap, easy form of therapy that can improve the quality of your life in many ways.
If you're interested in the connections between free-writing and meditation, read this article: I didand my wife Kellianne helps keep it running smoothly.
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