1,000 Words A Day

Apr 3, 2010 | 0 comments

Hard At Work

            In January Nyel and I hosted three Espy Foundation resident writers – a poet, a playwright, and a novelist.  They ate dinner with us each evening and often spoke of what they had or had not accomplished during the twenty-four hours since we had last seen them.  As they compared notes and spoke of their progress, they measured their successes in many ways.  They talked of their breakthrough ideas, the discoveries they were making, and, less often, of the quality of their work. They also spoke in terms of quantity – how many pages, stanzas, scenes or hours.
            One of the residents had been on a writing retreat the previous summer.  The requirement, in addition to classes and seminars and silence, was to write 1,000 words each day NO MATTER WHAT.  Both of the other writers were familiar with the 1,000-word-mantra and, as the days went by, each of them tried that measure as well.  Some days they said, “No problem.”  Some days it was harder.
            In February I began working on a new book idea and I, too, have been trying the 1,000- words-a-day routine.  It is going well.  I have found that I usually meet my goal in two hours.  So, in March I upped it to 2,000 and set my finish time at noon.  So far it seems a great way to forge ahead on a first draft, but I’ll definitely have to attend to “quality” on the second go-round.

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