200,000 Words

Last night, I passed the 200,000 word-mark for this year. I began tracking my writing when I began attempting to write every day, back on February 27. Since February 27, I have now written 200,266 words of fiction (with a tiny fraction of that–about 5,500 words or so–being nonfiction). This does not include my blogging.

It seems rather remarkable, considering I generally don’t write that much in any given day. But I think that helps illustrate the power of writing every day. As of today, I have written 219 out of the last 221 days. On average I’ve written just over 900 words/day. Given that I can write about 1,500 words in an hour, 900 words represents about 36 minutes of writing every day.

I cannot stress the significance of this enough. If you can find roughly 30 minutes a day to write, and you write every day, you can produce a lot of words.

Let me put his into some kind of perspective. 200,000 words of fiction is more than I have produced in total in the last ten years. (I probably averages something less than 20,000 words a year for each of the last ten years.) And given that the year still has several months to go, it is likely that I will come close to hitting 300,000 words before the year is out.

I’ve managed to do all of this writing despite having a full time day job, and two little kids. Most of the time I write after getting the kids into their PJs and reading them books, but before they go to bed. During this period of 20-40 minutes, they are watching cartoons and I am sitting in the room with them, squeezing in my writing. This discovery–that I could write anywhere–coupled with the discovery that I don’t need to block out large chunks of time to write, has been a revelation to me. The real trick is planning ahead, putting my butt in the chair, and writing every single day.


  1. Your posts, including this one, have been inspiring…more than that…they have been productive in my efforts to become a writer. After decades of work as a CPA, I now have the time and tools to learn this new career. No more excuses.

  2. Thanks a lot for your inspiring energy!

    I understand you when you say that taking 30 min. every day to write results in many words eventually. The only thing I can’t understand: where comes your inspiration from? I would guess that writing half an hour requires reading 5 to 10h, it does not seem to be your case, does it?

    1. Michel, I wish I could say specifically where the inspiration comes from, but all I can say is that it comes from everywhere. I probably read 3-4 hours/day and some of it comes from stuff I read. Other things come from simply observing the world, or from playing that famous game of “what if?” It isn’t always easy. While I really like the story I am working on right now, I had a hard time producing 100 words last night. Sometimes its on and sometimes its off. I’ve just tried to make sure I write every day because that’s really the only way I’ll improve. And I enjoy it and I find that sitting down at the keyboard and writing is a big stress-reliever for me.


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