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Free, private diary-writing site with goal-setting and stats. The goal is writing 750 words or more each day.

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      03.02.2011 16:17
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      Finally a different diary-writing site that motivates me to come back each day.

      Any of you interested in writing a secure, completely private diary conveniently on your computer might want to listen up. I've tried quite a few, from downloadable programmes to websites, and I have finally found something that keeps me coming back every day.

      750words.com, as the link suggests, encourages you to write 750 words every day. What you write is totally up to you. The idea is just to get you logging in every day and getting things off you chest, and therefore out of your mind, all in the sake of decluttering and destressing. Apart from these less tangible rewards, you are also awarded points for your participation, which I'll get to later. It is definitely a motivator and makes me want to sign in and spend the ten minutes (I type fast!) to get those 750 words out.

      First I'll explain some of the simple aspects to the site, before I move on to the really cool things that make it different. You can log in straight away without having to sign up provided you already use a platform it's linked to. As these include Google, Facebook and Yahoo, it is highly likely you will be able to get writing straight away. Don't worry though, it's completely private and what you write will never be shared on those networks, or anywhere else for that matter.

      Once inside, you are presented with the page for that day. You can fiddle with the font size and style but only via the settings page as the idea is to get things out, rather than making it look pretty, I suppose. A word count at the bottom tells you how you're doing, autosaving constantly, and a message will pop up when you've reached 750 words. You can, of course, go further than that, or come back and edit/add more later on. There is also a function to send you an email to remind you to write.

      Now let's talk about the points. Points here mean prizes, albeit very simple virtual ones in the form of "badges". While logged in you can see a bowling-style scorecard on which boxes are waiting to be checked off (automatically) when you fulfil your quota. In case you were wondering, 750 words is equal to three pages, which is apparently optimum for journaling. When you achieve certain things, such as writing for three days straight, or achieving a certain total word count, you are awarded badges with animal pictures on. Whichever is the highest animal you have will appear as your avatar next to your name, which is shown on a list on the main page when you get your 750 words that day, in a list of celebrated members. Of course, again, it only shares with other people that you have written that much, not what you have written.

      As silly as it may seem, it really does help me want to write every day. Logging in and seeing an empty box for the day before does make me wish I had made the effort and had a clean sheet. I do like to compete with myself and I always wish I would journal more, so I have missed very few days since starting with this site, and those were mostly due to travelling. It has simply become a part of my routine.

      Here's another really cool thing. After you've finished your entry, you can check out your stats for that day. By analysing what you've written, the site then gives your entry a rating (PG etc) and shows various pie charts on how your mood is and what your entry related to. It's really quite accurate even if I thought I hadn't written too much that would give it away to a machine! It's definitely a fun thing to have a click on after you've finished. I'm always quite confused when it tells me my entries are of a higher rating even though they don't contain swearing or violence, etc!

      If there is something specific you wish to track every day, such as your mood, what you ate, whether you exercised..anything like that, you can add it to your entry at the top as metadata. Writing it all in caps followed by a colon will automatically add it into your metadata, so you can analyse it later if you wish.

      The one thing I think would have been a great addition to the site would be perhaps a prompt generator for days when you really want to get your 750 words out there, but have writer's block. Sure, there are other sites out there which offer this, but to have it all in one package would be brilliant.

      As you can tell, I really love this site. It might not have all the bells and whistles in terms of tagging entries, adding photos, and all that jazz. If you want that, I'd suggest you take a look at Penzu, which has come on leaps and bounds since my review and it is something I was using happily until finding 750words. If you are wanting motivation to write, and a blank sheet of paper to pour your mind onto, I'd go with this site.

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