As god is my witness NO MORE ZERO DAYS!
@ratherastory provided me with a cool word count tracker spreadsheet. There’s dozens of these on the net but I really like this one. It was depressing to see, however, how little I’d been writing thus far in 2012.
I’ve set myself three rules, one ironclad, the others strongly suggested.
Rule #1 – (Ironclad) No more zero days.
I don’t care what’s going on, where I am, who I’m with and what I’m doing but unless there’s a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion (and perhaps EVEN THEN because that sounds like I’d inspire some awesome stories!) I will write.
I don’t care if I have to write it by hand on a napkin, words will be written.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a dozen or a thousand. Words will be written!
(Although if it’s only a dozen, they’d better be the most awesome twelve words I have ever written!)
Rule #2 – Meet the daily word count goal.
This one is key, but not ironclad because I know I’ll have bad days, crazy days and just genuinely fucked up days. I know there’s a day waiting for me where I will not have slept the night before, work will be hell, I will work through lunch, the commute will be 5 hours and once I get home my laptop will shit itself and refuse to boot. I know that day is out there.
On that day, I will not be writing a thousand words.
On that day, I WILL write because 1) I have my writing backed up, 2) I will have access to those backups. I will write, I just may not have 1000 words in me.
On days that aren’t like that hell day however, I will write 1000 words before I contemplate doing anything else. If I’m stuck on Revenant, I’ll work on the 3 short stories that patiently lurk in my folders waiting for my attention. If I don’t feel up to writing short stories, I will do a writing prompt. If I don’t feel up to those things…well I’ll grit and crank out 1000 words anyway.
So far this week I’ve had some very very tired moments and I’ve managed to say “finish the 1K before going to bed” and I’ve done it. This is good.
Rule #3 – keep upping the ante, especially in rule #2
Writers write. Check. I’ve got that.
I’m down with that, but I’m not really going to get very far on 1000 words a day.
Don’t get me wrong, 1000 words a day is GREAT! Many many many professional writers write 1000 words a day.
Right now, 1000 words a day feels right and reaching that goal is taking less and less effort. Last week, 1000 words would take almost 2 hours. Last night, it took 35 minutes.
I started taking writing seriously way too late in life in my opinion (yes, I know, many writers start late in life.) and I’ve got a lot of wasted time to make up for and I have a lot of ambitious projects I want to do and I have a TON of learning to do about the craft.
They say you need 10 000 hours to master something. I say you need to write 10 million words to master writing. You need to tell a thousand stories maybe to master storytelling (of course, your mileage may vary).
The sooner I get the shitty words out, the sooner I can learn to write the good ones, to make the stories in my head great.
The sooner I can see my name on the spine of that book.
This is the reason for rule #3.
In a few weeks, the daily goal will rise to 1500 words.
By the end of the summer, I will be changing the daily goal to 2000 words. 2000 words a day and one can be quite prolific.
Rule #3 isn’t about word count alone. I need to push other things as well:
- try other genres
- change up the character archetypes I’m comfortable with
- write characters that I’m less comfortable writing about, learn.
I’m feeling fired up. I hope you are too.