Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Daily Word Challenges

When I first started writing seriously towards publication (back in 2008) I used Inkygirl's Wordcount Challenge. My goal, every single day, was to write 1000 words. 

If I didn't meet my daily goal, I would simply pick it up again the next day. This is how I got through every first draft I've ever written. 

As life changed, as I shelved novels, slugged through revisions, and juggled multiple manuscripts, I made lists, instead, concentrated on chapters or scenes, switched my mind on and off from one project to another, and the daily word goal disappeared.

Now that I'm a few thousand words into a current rough draft, I think of the Wordcount Challenge. I think of its simplicity, its malleability, its guilt-free calories. 

So, I'm pledging 500 words a day for this rough draft because that is what I can handle from 9-10PM each night after the little one falls asleep. And if I don't meet the goal one day, I'll pick up again the next, and if the weekend is full of sun and family and friends, I'll pick it up again on Monday. And so it goes.

Sometimes, novels feel daunting, bridgeless and river-wide. But if I think of it in 500 word sips, it feels manageable. It feels more like joy. 

If anyone wants to play along with me, let me know (you can challenge yourself to get anywhere from 50-1000 words, whatever works for you.)  It's always more fun to do it together.



  1. I think we each have our own way of plodding through a novel to finish it. Sounds like you have set realistic goals. I read the other day in a writers book that you must find what works for you..that made me feel better as I don't write every day.Some days I read. Somedays I let my mind wander. But it works for me. I still end up with a book a year--my bigger goal.

  2. I love the idea of guilt-free goals. For me, guilt is a terrible creativity crusher. I haven't yet found my steady rhythm, other than to "touch it" at least five days a week. I often hit patches while drafting that I have to brainstorm and plan rather than churn out pages that might not be needed or aren't going the right direction. On those days, "touching" the book will mean messy notes that will make drafting faster another day.

  3. I've enjoyed Inky girl's wordcount challenge, too, but I'm with you, I usually aim for around 500 most days. I love Laurel's idea of "touching it" five times a week. Sometimes I'm planning or doing more research--and those days count too.

  4. I haven't been writing much in a while. Need to get my nose back to the grindstone.