200/300/400/500

 

I was going to do a post about taking a break when you’re a writer and how hard that seems to be. I will get to that, maybe later this week or early next, but today, I want to provide you all with a swift kick up the arse and, hopefully, some motivation.

I know what it’s like when things pile up and the last thing you can think about is writing. At that stage, anything seems like a better option.

It can be the same feeling you get when you’re at your wit’s end about something, staring into the abyss. Such situations are not much different from staring into a blank page and feeling like you’d just rather go play Freecell. If you don’t break the cycle you can spend weeks in exactly the same mental position.

All of this is especially true if you’re writing a novel. What you need to do is use the energy of a good writing session to fuel the next one. But getting that particular ball rolling can be a real Catch 22.

So here’s a little trick I’ve found that I hope might help you out. On those days, instead of looking at that page and expecting yourself to fill it, just push through it with a small word count. Give yourself a minimum.

200/300/400/500 words per day – these are achievable goals for you to meet. One or two 15 minute sprints with Sprinto would get you right there. Let me break down what these minimums mean.

200 WPD

A little over 200 WPD will see you writing in one year a novel the length of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by JK Rowling

300 WPD

That’s the first draft of a 110k novel over a year. The same kind of length as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.

400 WPD

146k words a year. That’s two drafts of a shorter novel around the length of The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.

500 WPD

182k words a year would net you a first draft around the length of a huge novel like The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien.

And all of these are assuming you stick at this word count, which you won’t, you’ll have those days when you fly right past it. And for those of my friends on Discord, go and work out how much you wrote today just chatting to people.

So that’s my advice: set yourself a daily minimum, even if it’s only 300 words. It will seem much less daunting when you’re looking at that blank page.

Now, go write.

Damian

2 Replies to “200/300/400/500”

  1. It’s like you were talking to me directly here. Caught in that cycle of not writing but not putting much effort to break it. And I really need to. I haven’t really done the writing daily routine before, but I think it’s time I do.

  2. Great post! For me, right now I’m trying to make sure I do something with my writing craft a day, even if it’s just editing, or just brainstorming. and I’ve given myself a daily goal of 50 WPD. Some days, 50 words is all I can scratch out. Other days, I blink and I’ve written 500 words.

    Once I can better balance motherhood, household chores, writing, and a part time job, I want to stretch myself to 200 a day. That time may be soon, but we’ll see. Baby steps 🙂

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