Wednesday, August 30, 2017

5 Practical Ways to Meet Your Daily Word Count

by Alycia W. Morales    @AlyciaMorales

It's important for writers to be writing. Otherwise, it's difficult to call oneself a writer. Eh?

Some days it's a struggle to sit at the keyboard and put words on that screen. We all have them. The cursor blinks at us as if taunting us to dare to move it. One letter at a time. One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One paragraph at a time. One page at a time. One scene at a time. One chapter at a time. One book at a time.

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Below are five practical ways to get those words onto the screen:

1. Write 300 words a day 300 days a year. That gives you 65 days off. At the end of the year, you'll have 90,000 words to revise into a really great novel.

2. Write for 15 minutes a day. Not everyone has an hour or five to pound out those chapters. But all of us can find 15 minutes in our day to write. Before breakfast. Before bed. Before we get out of bed in the morning. On the train ride to work. Over lunch break. There are 15 minutes somewhere in our day that we can put words on the screen.

3. Use voice-to-text software. Write while you're driving, doing dishes, bathing the baby, walking around the grocery store, or running to your next engagement. Even if you're only using the recording app on your phone, you can get it onto the computer later.

4. Schedule an hour(s) in your calendar and take that time only for writing. This isn't time for researching, as that can easily become a social media/email-checking disaster. This is time for you to unplug from everything and simply write.

5. Challenge your friends to a writing marathon. Who can get the most words in an hour on Wednesday from 2-3 p.m.? Set a date and time to go at it. Encourage one another. Set a prize for the person who writes the most. Maybe everyone owes her $5 or has to go in on a Starbucks or Barnes and Noble gift card.

The key to getting words on a page is to guard whatever goal you set with your life. Writing 300 words? Writing for 15 minutes? An hour? Five? Don't let anyone or anything distract you during that time. Treat it like work. If you were at your 9-5 office job, would you be letting the dog out? Checking Facebook updates? Running household errands? No. Make writing a priority and get those words on that screen.

What ways have you found to meet your words counts? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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