500 Words a Day

I’ve been writing a lot lately. And reading a lot lately. And reading about writing a lot lately.

Generally speaking, I don’t like goals. Goals are fine for tasks I want to complete (“I want to write a book this year”) but goals tend to be demoralizing when I fail to meet them in time. Worse, goals make me complacent and lazy when I do meet them.

Systems are better. I said I’ve been writing a lot lately. The current system I’m using is 500 words per day, 1,000 words a day during weekends. And it’s going well. I have days that it’s a struggle to get started, and I have days that it’s a struggle to stop.

I finished a short story last week. The second short story I’ve ever finished in my entire life! It clocked in at 10,673 words (btw I totally checked my Twitter feed for that stat). Pretty chunky. This is a fat little story.

I’m currently letting it sit for a couple of weeks before I go back in to edit. There’s a ton of fat to trim, and Stephen King’s advice from On Writing is to cut the rough draft by 10%. I’m no mathy, but that means 1,067 words have to go.

That’s two whole mornings of writing! Just WASTED! What are you DOING, MAN!

I should note that blogging doesn’t count for my daily goal. I love blogging, and I’ve got the derelict LiveJournal account to prove it. But when I say “write 500 words” I mean working on something I consider to be valuable in the long term. Working on a short story counts. Working on a novel would count (though I don’t think I’ve got the sack for a novel).

I should take like one second and emphasize how good it feels to be writing again. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I can remember, and the last time I tried my hand at fiction was back in 2009, maybe 2010. That was the first short story I finished, by the way, and don’t think I don’t have plans for that little mess. BECAUSE I DO.

PS I know I said blogging doesn’t count, and it doesn’t. Not for my daily goal. But it still counts. It’s a bonus. It’s a good way to keep me on track with what I want to do, and it’s a good way to track what I’ve done.

Blogging is a great outlet for talking to friends and strangers about writing. Some other good advice from Stephen King: “If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

It’s been like coming home. What? You didn’t know I was sentimental? Shit.

I'm Tyler, and I blog about marketing, programming, writing, and things I'm working on.

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