Commitment and the 1,000 Word Pledge

I have noticed that on a multitude of blogs, the authors post entries about how many words they have written that day, the status of a particular project (there are even widgets designed specifically for this purpose!) and I have sort of read those entries and just said, “Okay.  Gee, thanks for sharing.”  But, I have to admit that I get it now!

I am probably the most inconsistent writer there is.  I always was.  In high school – somewhat, in college – definitely, and I would write when I was on the bus, walking on campus, when I was at work, or during calculus class when I should have been trying to understand the math!  I couldn’t help it – I didn’t have a routine and just wrote when the ideas came to me.  I’d stay up all night and work on a paper or story if I had to, but it all seemed worth it because the end product was usually pretty good.  I still write my papers and stories in that way now.  When I have an idea, I jot it down and the next time I have an idea, I jot it down and before I know it, the project is finished.  

Well, I am going to try to take the advice I have been given (by many) and commit to a word count each day.  Now, I have to be completely honest here because the word count is going to be divided among the major pieces that I have in the works.  The first piece is of course my thesis, the second is a novel, and the third is going to be whatever else comes along.  This may sound disorganized to you, but believe me it is much more structured than I have ever been.  

So, my pledge is to write 1,000 words each day.  (Productive, substantial words that I feel good about.)  I think the the pledge is important because our attention spans are diminishing these days, we are all over-booked, and required daily to multi-task more than ever.  This commitment will hopefully be exactly what I need to accomplish everything that I plan to in the next year with regards to my writing.  

Wish me luck and let me know if you have made similar writing commitments or pledges to yourself.  Has one worked better than another for you?  Am I being too easy on myself or is 1,000 words a good number?  Be honest!

~Melissa 🙂

PS…Blog entries don’t count!

6 thoughts on “Commitment and the 1,000 Word Pledge

  1. Hey there,

    This is an admirable goal, but you might be a little optimistic. I’ve heard quotes from professional writers that range from 200 to 600 words per day. Also, if you consider nanowrimo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/), which is a shared writing commitment every year in November for each contestant to write 50,000 words for the month, which is 1667 words per day. Although I have not written in that yet, some friends of mine have, and they unanimously say that November is a killer month, and the quality of words are definitely not something they are proud of, but are something to be used as editorial fodder for the next lull in the creative fount 🙂

    My own goals when I was writting were to have two pages per day. I ended up near that most days, and averaged about 10 pages a week for most of a year.

    Short attainable goals seem to work well for me, your mileage may vary 🙂

    Cheers.

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  2. 1000 words is a lot to start with, remember the main idea behind a commitment is the commitment itself. So if it’s 10 minutes, or 50 words — even if you don’t feel especially good about them it’s okay. It’s always better to outdo yourself than to do yourself in because you don’t think you did well enough.

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  3. gretchenleebourquin and No One,
    Thank you both for your feedback! I really appreciate it.

    This whole idea of counting words each day is new to me, but I am willing to give it a try. I don’t think I would commit to 1,000 words on a single piece each day, but since I have a couple of major pieces in the works, I think that it is realistic (at least for me).

    For example, today I wrote 362 words for my thesis, 615 for my novel, and 399 for a short story that I will classify under my “other” category. That’s a grand total of 1,376 words. I think I can manage that each day, but I will certainly keep you all posted. ~Melissa 🙂

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  4. 1,000 words a day can be a tough but doable goal. Think of it this way: if all the words were for one source, that would be the first draft of a novel in 3 1/2 months. If you’re splitting it among multiple projects, I’d say that it’s definately an easier goal to do.

    Honestly, I think the best thing about the word count goal is that it forces you to write. Unless you’re on a strict deadline of some sort, I wouldn’t necessarily require yourself to write the 1,000 words each day, but I’d do something more like: 300 words/day on your thesis, 300 words/day on your novel. On the days when you’re really struggling to get the words out, having the word count goal forces you to sit there and stare at the screen until you get something out. Those 300 words may be tough but you feel a little better once you get there. On the days when you’re not struggling to write, you’ll blow right through the goal. Of course, those days, the goal isn’t really necessary — the fact that the words want to pour out will take care of it for you.

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  5. Justin,
    Thanks for your comment!

    I agree that breaking down the “1,000” is much more achievable…and much more aligned with my typical way of writing. But, this way I am holding myself a little bit more accountable and placing two of my writing pieces at the forefront. I have a lot of things “cooking” at a time and my thesis has definite deadlines, so I have to modify how I write to accomplish everything I need to do to write that.

    It’s worth a shot!

    ~Melissa 🙂

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  6. Great post!

    I agree with Gretchen, it can be a lot to start off with 1,000 a day…but you’ve also got the right idea by splitting it up, that will enable you to acomplish the task much easier.

    I must admit that I sometimes look at my pieces and take into account length when done with it, but I overall try not to let that direct the actual writing itself. Nothing, IMO, ruins writing more than writing for the numbers than the actual meaning you started out with when creating that piece.

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