I’ve often heard the advice “write every day” for those who want to write more and write better.  Make it a regimen.  Make it part of your daily routine.  Recently I’ve been conducting an experiment: can I use the 15 minutes every morning that my commute recently decreased by for writing.  Thus far the answer is a resounding “yes” with an average of just under 400 words a day.  That’s when I sat down, crunched some numbers, and was amazed at what I found.  And just how much of a tool writing even a few hundred words every day can be.

In the average year there are, roughly, 261 weekdays.  Let’s just focus on those and leave weekends out for now.  Write 100 words every weekday and you can add two zeros to the end of that number.  26,100 words.  That’s a couple short stories, a medium length novella, or roughly a third of a novel.  That doesn’t sound like much, but that’s only 100 words.  Even here, halfway through the second paragraph, this blog post is longer than 100 words.  Make that 200.  300.  400.  500.  The words add up at a shocking rate.  It takes just 383 words every weekday to hit 100,000 for the year.  Manage 500 words a day, that’s 130,500 words.  That’s enough short stories to fill an anthology, 4-5 novellas, or one long novel.

All on juts 500 words a day.  All from just settling into a comfortable regimen.  And that’s even giving yourself the weekends off.  Throw in the weekends, and suddenly 548 words a day results in 200,000 words a year.  These are all daily wordcount goals well below Nanowrimo pace.

This is over simplifying things.  These are rough draft words we’re talking about, raw and unedited.  This is where the power of setting aside time for your writing comes into play.  I’ve been writing in the mornings, averaging those 400 words.  If I then do no writing, only editing in the evening…I’ve still got 400 words of fresh draft hanging out, waiting for an editing pass.  Find a good time available every day to write, and enough time to do some editing every day will also appear.

Create a regimen.  Track your averages.  Multiply it out.  You’ll be shocked at how much you can get done over a long period by only doing a little bit each day.

About the author

DLThurston DL Thurston is a writer of novels, screenplays, and the occasional short story. He has short stories due out soon in the Steam Works anthology from Hydra Publications and in The Memory Eater. When he's not writing, he also brews beer and even drinks it sometimes. Check out his exploits either on his blog or on Twitter.