1000 is the Magic Number

For me it is, anyway. As in 1000 words per day. Ever since I started the draft of my newest work in progress, I have committed to writing 1000 words per day as a manageable amount, and this morning I hit 18,000 words after two weeks. This is lightning fast, for me. It’s a new era for this tortoise.

Years ago, when I first started writing, I couldn’t give myself word count goals – too frightening, too much pressure. So I set time limits for myself. I had to work for an hour at a time. I made myself a CD that was exactly an hour long and I had to keep at it, even if I was just staring at the screen, until the last song was over. The first 30 to 45 minutes were usually agony, but by the time that hour was up, I was hitting “repeat” on the CD player. That tactic got me through several manuscripts.

So when one of my critique partners, L.V. Pires, tried to get me to participate in National Novel Writing Month, I practically threw out my neck shaking my head. “No word count goals,” I said. “I can’t deal with that kind of pressure.”

And then I found myself struggling, while managing my day job, to get words on the page. I found myself waiting for the perfect time to write. And wow, did this recent post by Susan Mannix on As the Eraser Burns hit a nerve for me. She quotes E.B. White: “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

Yup. So I decided to start my 1000-words-per-day goal. Why 1000? Because it’s enough to make me feel accomplished, and not so much that it makes me feel hopelessly overwhelmed. And here’s the biggest thing: my day job schedule is such that I have lots of pockets of time, pockets that were easy to convince myself were too short to make into writing time. But now, knowing that I need to knock out 1000 words each day, I can do 200 here or 500 there, and they add up!

Did I mention that I hit 18,000 words this morning? Really, I cannot overstate the awesomeness of this.

I have always been a person who expects myself to do more than I have time for. But I have found that when I get that 1000 words done, I feel like a rock star. And when I don’t, I feel like a slacker, no matter how many other to-dos get checked off.

So what about NaNoWriMo? Well, I signed up for the forum, but I don’t expect to get 50,000 words written in the month of November. 30,000 sounds just right to me.

What's that?  1000 "words", of course.

What’s that? 1000 “words”, of course.

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This entry was posted in On Writing, Works in progress and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 1000 is the Magic Number

  1. victoriajcoe says:

    Love this so much! Way to go, Kathy!

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