Creating Tips

Daily Word Count for Writers

“What’s your daily word count?” has become the “how much do you bench” of writing circles.  A quick and easy…

Share this...
Share on RedditShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

“What’s your daily word count?” has become the “how much do you bench” of writing circles.  A quick and easy measuring stick to compare yourself to another writer.  Well I want in on that conversation.  “How much you bench. . .I mean, what’s your daily word count?”

Set aside for the moment how many words a day you write.  I want to focus on how you arrived at that number and if you are hitting your mark for writing.  Word counts shouldn’t be a measuring stick to compare you to other writers but to compare your daily effort to write.

Just look at the four authors below and note the difference in their daily word count and what they have to say.  There are 35 more authors you can look at in this post The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors.

Stephen King – 2,000 “I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words.”

Maya Angelou – 2,500 “Nothing will work unless you do.”

Michael Crichton – 10,000 “Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten.  Including your own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”

Earnest Hemingway – 500 “I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

 

So what should your daily word count be?  Is writing your job or your hobby?

Answering the last question may determine how many words you should write.  You may only have a set amount of time to squeeze in some writing.  If that’s the case, write for time and not a word count.  If you still want to have a number write for that time each day for five days and then get your average.  Now you can shoot for that number.

If writing is a priority set a daily word count as a goal to reach each day.  Having a daily word count is great for tracking progress on finishing your next book.  If you know how many words you need to write each day to get a certain number of pages you can plan accordingly. Now you have accountability and you can plan around proofing and when your publisher can expect their copy of your latest work.

Be comfortable with your number.  Adjust as you need to or by project.  Oh and 50 words are better than 0 so just start writing.

word count formula pic by: Roman Mager

Creating Tips

anonymous writing

anonymous writing.  the freedom to write pretty much anyway you like and not have to sign your name to it….

anonymous writing.  the freedom to write pretty much anyway you like and not have to sign your name to it.  sigh.

Some days are just for writing in your journal so you don’t have to share or put your name on it.

Sometimes laying off the shift key is nice.  Your typing speed picks up just a tad.  Your fingers and thoughts get in sync and you are humming right along.

Writing to write.  Typing to speak.

Forgetting the Balance in Art and not creating with your audience in mind one bit.  Focusing on emptying yourself of your thoughts and ideas.

Leave editing behind.  No pausing to make anything you are writing read better.  No checking for errors.  No backspacing because the thought fell off the table.  Keep going.  Type faster.

No apology needed because this is for you.  This is your piece to read.  But wait a few days or even longer to read it.

Anything worth polishing?  Anything worth touching up and sharing?  Find the good, edit it and then sign your name to it.  But only after going anonymous and getting the most out of your thoughts and ideas.

 

worth signing your work, pic by: Tycho Atsma

Continue Reading
Creating Tips

To Do List that Works – Before the Day Ends Checklist

2 hours left.  Down by 21 tasks.  It’s time to snatch defeat from the hands of time and evil procrastination….

2 hours left.  Down by 21 tasks.  It’s time to snatch defeat from the hands of time and evil procrastination.  Can you make a comeback?

Probably not.  Sorry, did I interrupt an inspirational moment?

Let’s be truthful.  You’ve had all day to knock out that to do list you aren’t going to get it all done in a few hours.

But you could try to cut the deficit in half or get within 5 tasks to start the next day?

Starting the day with a to do list that seems manageable is a great feeling.  Starting the day with a new to do list by adding the previous day’s to do’s is deflating.

I’ve tried a lot of To Do lists.  Wunderlist, Todoist, Things, Reminders, Any.do, iProcrastinate, Trello and scratch paper.

Want to know which one I recommend?  All of them.  They are all great and all had positives.  Try them all out to see which one is the best fit for you and the way you work.

The key to a to do list working for you is how well you pair with it.  Eventually you quit using one because the list you make goes unfinished and you stop making new lists.

I’m currently using Trello and good ol’ Field Notes.  Trello is working for me because I see my tasks easier in the board layout.  I’ve used it to build my daughter’s guinea pigs a home and I’ve used it for filming a video on YouTube.  I have my writing board and an Idea board.  I pair well with it so I’m using it.

Here’s their Editorial Example:

Here’s one they customized for Sales Pipeline:


I start separating from my to do list when I fail to get a few of them done.  It seems the list starts to grow larger and now has teeth and a vicious growl.

My problem is starting Monday with a to do list and not finishing every item on that list.  Tuesday’s list is new with the unfinished Monday tasks and so on throughout the week.

Here’s what I’ve done that has greatly improved my completion percentage daily and by the end of the week.  When I have a few hours left in my day I leave Trello and pick up my Field Notes.

This has become “Before the day ends” list.  I make a new list of projects, emails, unfinished tasks that I would love to finish before the day ends.  Some days the list has 8-10 items and some days it has 4.  It can even have just one.  Just finish this one task before the day ends.

I tackle this list differently.  I avoid going straight down the list.  Instead I pick which task is easiest to complete and go from there.  I’m often left with 2 or 3 so I pick which one is ok to leave until tomorrow.  I pick the 2 that will make me happy to get done before the day ends.

This method allows me to finish the day on a high note.  Checking the box instead of adding to tomorrows to do list.  One rule, can’t stress or become bummed if any of those items go unfinished.  I do a victory dance for the ones that get completed.

Celebrate victories and cut your big numbers in half.  Even by just one is reason to smile at the end of the day.

Continue Reading
Creating Tips

5 Easy Ways to Keep your Blog Alive

Keep your blog alive!  Posts are floating through the internet to help and inspire people long after you’ve posted.  In…

Keep your blog alive!  Posts are floating through the internet to help and inspire people long after you’ve posted.  In my case they are there to provide laughter and writing “don’ts” for teachers everywhere.

Here are 5 Easy Ways to Keep your Blog Alive:

  1. Don’t Over Promise in the Beginning.  Use the excitement to write and create not make big bold promises you can’t keep.  The inability to keep the promises will only make you feel like you failed if you can’t uphold them.  Instead of promising daily posts start with weekly posts or Monday, Wednesday, Friday posts.  You can always change your format as you go and build your audience.
  2.  

  3. Plan Ahead and Stockpile Posts.  Posts are the lifeline of your blog.  When you are able to plan ahead and write one or two weeks out this will ease the pressure to create the night before.  Your routine for writing and creating is your strength so allow for it to thrive.  Time restraints can hurt your routine.  Planning ahead also allows you plenty of time to edit with fresh eyes on your copy.  The tough days can’t kill your blog if you have a great post ready for next week that you can post today.
  4.  

  5. Create Before you Consume.  This is a great tip from Chase Jarvis.  It’s easy to read something great especially from someone that you look up to and question your skills.  So don’t fall into that trap.  Create, post, then consume.
  6.  

  7. Be your own Audience.  Yes I would love for my work to be shared over a thousand times on all media platforms.  That takes time.  Building an audience takes time.  I’ve had so many blogs die because I never built an audience.  Write for someone to read.  That someone can be you.  Read your own work.  Do you want to read it?  Does it inspire you?  Does it make you want to share it?  If it doesn’t write until it does.  Keep your blog alive by knowing that you have at least one reader, YOU.  (oh and it’s fun to go back in time and read some of the old posts)
  8.  

  9. Don’t Stop Posting.  Cody Holtz of ialivedigital.com is a friend who models a lot of these and has a year’s worth of work to show for it.  He didn’t over promise in the beginning and posted weekly.  He planned ahead and stockpiled ideas and topics he wanted to cover.  He now posts daily.  He offered this bit of advice, “If you don’t like what you wrote today, there is always tomorrow.”

 

Keep your blog alive.  If for no other reason you will enjoy reading it 10 years from now.

 

keep writing pic by: Nick Morrison

Continue Reading