7 days of 500+ words

A week ago I wrote about a shift I was making in the way I work in order to ensure that I write fiction every day. I have successfully completed a full week in which I hit at least 500 words every day. Here are some observations from this first week:

  1. 500 words is not much. I can do it in half an hour, which means I can do it almost any time. But because I can do it at any time, I haven’t yet established a consistent habit of when I do it. Mostly I’ve done my writing in the evenings. It would be nice to have specific time set aside, but I get what I can take at this point.
  2. I’ve been deliberately trying to slow down and think more about storytelling as I go. I don’t know if this is working yet.
  3. I am trying not to focus on the word count when I start. I just want to write. After 30 minutes, I check to see where I am.
  4. Despite 500 words being “not much” it is just enough to make it perfectly clear when I am struggling and when I am not. Last night I had trouble getting to 500 words. A few nights before I wrote 700 effortless words in 30 minutes.
  5. I wrote a total of 4,390 words. That in itself is nearly the length of “Take One for the Road,” which appeared in Analog in June. That tells me that I could, if I tried, write a first draft of 1 story each week, assuming the stories were fairly short.
  6. I’ve been tackling that story that’s given me grief all year long. It is tough but I’m making more progress in it than ever before. I jot down a lot of notes afterward that don’t get captured in my word count.
  7. I am used to writing complete scenes in one sitting but that hasn’t been the case this week. I stop when I need to stop and pick up where I left off the next day, sometimes mid-scene. That is a new experience for me.
  8. I look forward to getting in my 500 words. I wish I could do it earlier in the day and get an early “win.” But at least I’m going to bed knowing that I got in my quota of fiction-writing for the day. That alone helps with my stress levels.

The total number of words I wrote this week is about 500 words more than the length of my story so far. I rewrote a scene at one point and filed the original in my “deleted scenes” folder. Since the act of writing is what I am aiming for, I count the words, even though the scene isn’t being used. (I still got in the practice, so to speak.)

I still think I’m a long way from establishing the habit of getting in at least 500 words every single day. But one week is a good start and quite frankly, it is better than what I have done for most of the year thus far.

One comment

  1. I feel the same, Jamie. Currently I’m trying to achieve something between 250 and 500 words a day. It’s hard, but a habit must be established. Kudos to you and keep the good job!


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