Thursday, April 12, 2012

Writing 1,000 Words A Day

A little over 40 days ago I promised myself for Lent that I would write between 1,000 to 2,000 words a day in fiction. Needless to say, I was a little overly ambitious. However, I’ve managed to stick to a rhythm of approximately 1,000 words a day since then and am still at it.

Obviously, just because I write a 1,000 words a day doesn’t mean all (or much) of it is any good. I fully admit that I’ve nearly given up a half a dozen times just trying to maintain the pace, but I’ve been at it a little over 40 days and I’ve heard that if you can maintain something of 60 straight days it becomes a habit.

So, how do you drive yourself to keep writing? What goals have you set yourself and how have they adjusted or stayed the same? How do you balance your writing schedule with everyday life?


  1. Hello Mark:
    Well, this is certainly a punishing schedule which you have set for yourself. For our own part, we only ever wrote to order for commissioned pieces and so the motivation to write was in order to meet the deadline and be paid. Otherwise, we doubt that we should have written a word!!!

  2. I heard it was twenty-one days to a habit, in which case you're good to go.
    I've discovered I write best when blocking out large chunks of time like that. I wrote my second book during NaNo 2010. So once the Challenge is over, I'm going to set aside time to write again.

  3. Great goal! Good luck keeping up with it. And who cares if the words suck? It's a draft!

  4. I haven't written for almost a month now (besides blog posts and emails) because of the trip and all the transitioning that goes along with it. I'm hoping to take a look at the ms this afternoon, if I can. I really need to get back into the habit again. I never have been able to keep up a pace of 1,000 words a day. Some days I write a lot and some days just a paragraph, but I think the trick is to keep engaged with the writing as consistently as possible.

  5. grueling pace for sure. tell us more! tho mark -- what kept you going? any good moments or exercises you used to finish on rough days?

  6. Good for you for keeping it up! Once it becomes a habit, you won't even think about that 1k mark. You'll be pumping out books faster than Nora Roberts or John Grisham. :)

  7. That's a great goal! :) Congratulations on writing 1k+ words for so long--and good luck maintaining the pace!

  8. I think maybe your goal wasn't so ridiculous since you're hitting 1k words a day. That's pretty amazing. I can do that if I have the time, but mostly, I don't have the right amount of time for it.

    Congrats on all the wordage! Here's to hoping it does become a habit!

  9. Everyday life usually gets the upper hand :)

    And I've spent so long in revision mode, I've forgotten what it's like to write a heap of new stuff.

  10. That's great, Mark. 1000 words a day is a good target, so that means you are close to 50,000 words. Cool.

    How is the 4 stories a month target going?

    I too want to fix a daily word count for myself. That way I may get more disciplined.

  11. When I'm writing a first draft I write 7000 words a week. That way I don't stress if I can only write 200 words one day because I can make up for it another day. But yes, I try to set myself specific times to write. That seems to help.

  12. I keep telling myself that I can pound a first draft of a novel in two months if I do 1K words a day. So far, so good.

  13. I'm really impressed! Whenever I challenge myself to write a certain amount each day I end up doing nothing, it always seems to have exactly the opposite effect of what I intended. It sounds like you are well on your way to a habit, congrats!

  14. 1k a day is definitely doable -- keep at it! Weekly goals help me stay on track. Last year, it was Write1Sub1 weekly; this year, it's a flash-sized episode of Captain Quasar every day.

  15. Jane/Lance – “Punishing schedule”…I like that. Well, no one said writing was easy;)

    Alex – yeah, suddenly NanoWriMo sounds more doable to me now that I’m used to writing more.

    Charlie – Amen to drafts!

    L.G. – I’ve felt the exact same way. At a certain point you just have to go for broke and do it. At least that’s what I did.

    Brian – Honestly, it’s like finding time to read. You just have to fill in every spare moment of the day and ask yourself…should I be writing right now?

    Emily – Gosh, I hope so! That’d be great:)

    Eagle – Thanks! I need all the encouragement I can get.

    Lydia – Thanks for the kudos:)

    Botanist – Yup, that’s why I’m trying to make it a part of my everyday life;)

    Rachna – Well, don’t get too excited…I cut a lot out. But I’ve started a work in progress with approx. 16,000 words at the moment worth keeping:)

    Lynda – That’s great! Sounds like you’re on a similar regime as myself.

    Ben – A shorter novel definitely, but three months at a 1,000 words a day probably works better.

    Julie – Glad you like it:) I understand that setting a challenge and undertaking it are two different things, so I’m trying to make an “honest” writer out of myself.

    Milo – Thanks for the encouragement. As always, I learn from your example;)