The Good Patrons of 750 Words

A Note of Inspiration from Glenn Palmer

1 cup

Today I tie my longest streak writing these words. Tomorrow I start to set a new record. That’s pretty cool. This discipline has worked it’s way out into other areas of my life. I’m not sure that I’m using the idea correctly. Often, I know I’m not, like when I write sections of my stories or a letter to a friend as my 750. That’s sort of cheating, I guess, but it doesn’t feel like it. Writing is the thing. Writing something every day.
One way in which doing these words has made a big difference to me is that I know I can write something on demand, repeatedly. When I first heard of NaNoWriMo three years ago, producing 50k words in a month seemed impossible. Then, I saw the daily word count, 1666. That seemed quite doable, even though it seems impossible to a lot of people.
But, see, when I looked at that number, I realized that I could already produce 750 words in a day without batting an eye. 1666 was just doing my morning words twice plus some small change. Because of my morning words, what seemed to be a real challenge looked quite minor. Most days, it took me less than 30 minutes to do my words, so hitting the mark could be done in an hour. Looking at my stats every day gave me accurate measurements for what I could do and that wasn’t in terms of aspiration, it was in terms of things I had already accomplished.
Cranking out 750 words became a standard block. There have been days during NaNo that I didn’t hit my word count, either because life intruded and I didn’t write at all, or when I lost the thread of the story I was writing. There are always blank days and a struggle to catch up, but I never panic because I knew what I was capable of . This year, I fell so far behind that I had to produce 3000 words per day. Once I was caught up, I had a couple of 4000 word days, just to see if I could.
Here’s the thing, though, I always think of these goals in terms of morning words. Want to get to 3000 words? Four sets of morning words. Each one takes 30 minutes, so a mere two hours of actual writing.
My rhythm for writing now is 30 minutes writing, ten minute break, and I can be sure that this cycle will produce at least 750 words each time it is repeated.
Something else that has also surprised me is the sheer volume of what I’ve written since I started morning words. I got my 250k badge a couple of weeks ago. I’m up around 270k now. That seems like a lot of writing. But that is only the writing I’ve done as morning words. On top of that, there are blog posts, journal entries, stories. I don’t know what I’ve actually produced in total.
Wesley dean Smith tracks everything he writes and publishes the statistics each month. I think I’ll start doing that as well. I won’t be doing that for ego. I’m sure he doesn’t either. I’ll be doing it just to see what I’m really doing. I’m writing a lot more than I give myself credit for. Hell, even when I get a blank on NaNo, I have for sure written something else, and sometimes that something else is bigger than the missing NaNo output.
If nothing else, I should start giving myself credit for being a writing machine. Certainly, I would like the quality to be better. I know I’m improving, especially on my longer projects. On shorter pieces, like blog posts or writing exercises, the first draft is often good enough to publish. And a lot of the time, it’s best to publish something that’s pretty good and get on to the next project, rather than polishing and polishing in search of some unattainable perfection. I think that’s what Smith was talking about when he said to never rewrite. At some point you just have to ship and get on with your life.

Testimonial Note from Glenn Palmer on Sat, Dec 12
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