Monday, November 08, 2010

1000 Reasons not to write today

words words wordsphoto © 2010 Chris Blakeley | more info(via: Wylio)

Every day when I sit down to write, I have 1000 reasons why I don't feel like it.

Those 1000 reasons? The first 1000 words of the day. I've learned over the past little while that if I can just get through that first 1000 words, about the first hour of writing time, I can churn out 2, 3, 4, even 5K words in one day.

What's funny is, I'm not really new to this whole writing thing. I've been writing novels since 2005 when I first began to seek publication. In that time, I've written 13 novels, one novella, and I have one current work-in-progress. That's a lot of words, a lot of days of sitting down to start writing on my WIP.

In the past, I've set a daily goal of 1000 words, and I've struggled, wrestled, and gritted my teeth to meet it. When I got to 1K words, I breathed a sigh of relief, then turned my mind to other things. But I've realized that not until I get the first 1K words out do I hit my groove, find my zone, start really writing from my heart in the story. The words begin to flow easier, and the word count starts piling up.

With each story, I learn more about the craft of writing, about story structure, and about myself and my writing process.

Now, instead of setting a word count goal of 1000 words, I'm setting higher goals, because once I force myself past that first thousand, the writing is so fun. I'm totally immersed in the story, and I get so much more accomplished.

What do you think your 'feel good about writing' threshold is?


  1. This is great advice! I'm always impressed by how much you can get written in a day. I need to try this!

  2. I'm with you. My goal is 1000, but I always seem to stop at 1,300 or 1,400 and I think it's for the exact reason you mention. That groove thang.

    Just so you know, I had so much fun meeting you and laughing with you!
    ~ Wendy

  3. I think my "feel good" moment comes when I step out of the pulpit each Sunday and realize that what I wrote that week (usually the final product comes sometime Saturday) has been preached. I was going to say "communicated" but I'd have to have input from everyone there to know if it hit home.

    My sermon outline in the pulpit has about 1600-1700 words in it. That would probably double if I were to write it out completely. Both the outline with notes and full manuscript are incredibly painful processes to me. It means I have to be organized, I have to actually take everything I've listened to and read during the week(s) prior and sift it down to a 35 minute sermon. Only 35 minutes to say everything! Arrggh!

    Maybe writing books would be better. Then I could include everything, right?

  4. NAILED IT!!!
    Seriously, woah. Outta my head Erica. It does seem like once we just get there and start working it gets easier. This is where I'm not so sure 1K1hr or word sprints helps me. Sometimes it's great to get me started but it makes stopping so easy too.

    Hmm, what's an adult version of a gold star?

  5. My goal has been 1000 words. I don't think I've ever accomplished more than 2500 in a day. The first page is the slow slogging part for me, but once past those first 250 I'm usually rolling.

  6. I'm continually amazed by the number of words you get written in a day and enjoy your #1k1hr tweets. One question, though. How many keyboards do you go through in a year? =)

  7. I've been trying to hit 1,000 words lately but it's been hard. I know I did better when I had a higher goal. I'd force myself to get through those first few hundred words. Then a few hundred more, and by the time I made it to 1,000, I was on a roll and the rest was easier and easier.

  8. You're my hero. Lately I've been up to 3k and when I do that it amazes that I struggled with 1K once upon a time.

  9. Wow, I've never really thought about it before. I have noticed that sometimes it is hard to get started but I am soon writing without problem. I will have to pay attention to see if there is a common word number in the switch with me.

  10. This is so inspiring, Erica, and I completely agree. Just sitting and doing it is the key. I can write big numbers if I get past the initial jitters.

    Congrats on your novel count! Thirteen down! Woo!