One Thousand Words a Day

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‘m actually a few days in to my thousand word a day experiment, and it has now occurred to me that the first day’s writing probably should have been about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. Better late than never.

I listened to good interview with Chris Guillebeau, and he said that he sets his daily writing minimum at a thousand words. Stephen King prescribes the same amount to start, and then recommends graduating to two thousand words eventually. Up until now I haven’t had a daily writing minimum-I just write whenever inspiration strikes me, or if it hasn’t stricken, Sunday or Wednesday nights.

I consider myself to be serious about blogging, but my writing output doesn’t really support that consideration. How serious can I be about something that I don’t even do every day?

So now, a thousand words every day. It can be a blog post or writing that contributes to another project like a book, ebook, guest post, or the next blockbuster screenplay. Emails don’t count, of course.

My average blog post is around seven hundred words, which means that at my new clip, before bumping up to two thousand words a day, I’ll be writing about ten blog posts per week. I intend to pick the best of the bunch each Monday and Thursday, which I hope will raise the average quality of my posts. In addition, this lets me tackle more difficult subjects or longer stories that may or may not come together. If I’m writing the night before a post is “due”, I tend to play it a bit safer.

Besides Chris G and Stephen King, I was inspired to do this after reading the talent books. In fact, those books were also the inspirado for doubling my posting to twice a week rather than once a week. Between the two books, I’ve been convinced that the more you do something the better you’ll become at it. So besides having a larger output of work, which is a good thing, I’m hoping that I’ll learn something in the process.

Talent is Overrated makes a big point that while repetition is important, it’s not enough. You have to work outside your comfort zone. This is why, for example, experienced doctors aren’t any better than rookie doctors. They aren’t engaging in “deliberate practice”, generally; they’re just operating within their comfort zone.

So along those lines, I’ll come up with little missions for myself, like trying to write a post with a lot of humor in it (I joke around constantly, maybe excessively, in real life, but all of my posts are serious for some reason), or trying to rewrite from memory someone else’s post that I liked.

I think of writing as this laborious, time consuming process, but after timing the first couple thousand words, I realize that I write about four thousand words per hour. That means that it only takes me around thirty minutes per day to do my mandatory writing. What’s embarrassing is that I consider blogging to be my profession, or at least an integral part of it, yet I clearly wasn’t writing a full thousand words per day on average. Even when I get up to four thousand words per day– a two hour workday– while not as catchy as a four hour workweek, is pretty manageable.

You might want to integrate this habit in your own way. I was telling an artist friend about it, and she told me that she does marker drawings first thing every morning. Another friend told me that her actor friend free-writes every morning, because he wants to some day write plays. The daily habit is a powerful one and doesn’t have to take a ton of time.

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I know I mentioned that I was going to have a travel post today, but I need to do a tiny bit more legwork before posting it. Probably Monday.

Have I mentioned that I’m going to Japan in November? I got a good ticket that has a 24 hour stopover in Beijing on both ends, so I’ll also get to check Beijing out for the first time.

Question: any interest in paying a small fee ($5-10) per month to get way more blog posts emailed to you? With this 1000 words per day thing I’m writing way more than I can publish here, and paying customers would be good motivation to keep it up.

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