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Write a Thousand Words a Day

June 12, 2010

For some, writing a thousand words a day might be a great deal to ask, but, it’s a nice round number to at least shoot for. If you want to really accomplish something in writing, try to wrap your mind around the ‘thousand words a day’ concept. Make a thousand words your daily goal. Even if you fear you are writing gibberish, tell yourself that you can put down a thousand words of something.

Try to get in the habit of writing a thousand words a day, at least on a day here or there. Try writing a thousand words a day, one day a week. Maybe you could put in a thousand words on a day off, such as a Saturday. You could start with simply a daily journal and on one day a week you commit to writing a thousand words.

When you’re in the writing mode and excited about an idea, it might be easy for you to attain a thousand words a day. Writing in rough, quick or sold draft mode, a thousand words in a semi-short sitting, or at least a little here or there throughout a day, certainly is attainable. Don’t worry about writing intermittent incoherent thoughts, at least at first. Don’t worry about writing a story necessarily. Pour out your heart if you like. Vent and complain if you feel the need. Just start writing and try to aim at a thousand words in a day, sometime. Start with a thousand words on one day. See how easy or hard it may or may not be for you.

I like to think of a thousand words as a bare minimum on a writing day. But, if I can only pop onto my computer for a little while, on a day filled with other things than writing, I know I can put in a thousand words if I give myself half a chance to do it. At least a thousand words is definitely my minimum goal on a writing day. On a really bad day, I won’t even get to my computer. On a slightly bad day, I will only write emails and that sort of thing. On a simple bad writing day, a day that I do some actual writing, I might only put in five hundred words. But, that is something.

I’m not even trying to write anything this summer. I’ve put my writing aside for grandmotherly duties and fun. I’m sharing my computer as well as my time and energies with family, with the plan of picking up where I left off on novel the eighth come fall. But, I’m still trying to post something here once in a while. I’m trying not to entirely fall away from my sometimes writing tendencies. On a day like today, my grandsons, who are here for the summer, will come up to me every minute or so, asking for my computer. ‘Are you done yet? Can I have your computer yet? Can I play computer games yet?’ will be the lilting mantra from either and both, even at once. It’s hard to write with interruptions, even cute lively lad interruptions. But, you can write something, at least to get in some sort of habit of writing. And then, later, you can sort it all out. You can read what you wrote later and see if there is anything worth keeping. You can make sense of the chaos later on.

What actual kind of writing can be accomplished, writing a thousand words a day? If you write a thousand words a day, you can accomplish a short story in a matter of days, a novella in a matter of weeks, and a novel in a matter of months. Yes, I am only talking about drafts. Maybe your draft will be rough. Maybe your draft will be really, really rough. Maybe your first draft will be impossible to repair into something worth publishing. But, maybe, just maybe, your thousand words a day will soon turn into something useable: something you can really polish up into something you will love and be proud of.

Write a thousand words a day on something. You can plan to write a short story that might turn into a novella or grow up into a novel, or you can just start writing a story and see what it turns out to be. Write a thousand words a day on a story, not caring at the outset what length it will be, but simply let the story grow into what it is meant to be. If you want to write novels but seem only to write short stories, so be it. A short story might grow up to be a novel someday. And, if you aren’t a born novelist, but simply a short story writer, don’t forget that plenty of short stories have grown up to become movies.

Have you ever sat in front of your white paper or white screen and nothing comes? You draw a blank? You are staring at a blank wall in your mind’s eye? Is it writer’s block? Your brain is blocked? You don’t know where to start? You have no idea what word to write first? Just write. Just do it. Just start writing anything. Try writing about your childhood, or your children or grandchildren. Write down your feelings or even crazy dream imaginings. Write about the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you. Write about your wildest dream. Write about the person who has angered or hurt you the most in your life. Cheat a little. Get wordy. Don’t hesitate to blab on and on. Start with something that you think should be short and blab a ton until it is long. Soon, before you know it, you will have written a thousand words. Like this little bit. I was only going to write a little thought. But, now, I’m closing in on a thousand words for today. There, I just did it.

I wrote a thousand words today. Sorry if I bored you. Now, it’s your turn. Write a thousand words today. And then, soon, very soon, if you write a thousand words a day here and there, you will have something. All it takes is a thousand words a day to get started. So, start. Get writing.

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