Only 500 words a day?

It is well known that writers recommend writing every day. Due to my variable health I am often unable to do that. I write when I’m well enough to write. That’s pretty much it. Because of this, I have a novel, written back in 2009 for NaNoWriMo that is written but not edited. I will freely admit that editing is not my favourite way to spend my precious writing time and this means that poor Paper Dragons has been passed over for short stories and flash stories again and again.

I attempted NaNo again this year, but have not managed to keep up. Despite getting off to a flying start, I just haven’t had the health to write every day. This gave me a minor epiphany as I realised that writing every day is vital if I am to write the second novel. When I wrote Paper Dragons, I wrote around 2,000 words a day. The action of sitting down to write each morning put my head in the right place and I was able to pick up where I left off the previous day. This time, I did not have that continuity. Writing only when I can works fine for short stories because I can mostly get them written in one or two writing sessions. However, for the second novel, sporadic writing was making the process forced and painful. So, I need to write every day.

I am lucky enough to be a member of a fantastic writing group. With their encouragement and support I have now published two flash stories in their flash fiction anthology, Flash It! I am very proud of those stories but already feel I could write them more succinctly whilst painting a more vivid scene. That is due to the wonderful members of Fiction Writers Group. They have taught me so much. One of those members, a true inspiration to me and an unofficial mentor, Earl Chessher, posted a comment the other day that resonated with me, following my little epiphany. He wrote, “Just think. If you can manage only 500 words a day, in six-and-one-half months you could write a novel!

He followed this today with,

One word a day is a flash fiction piece a year.
Two words a day is a short story a year.
Ten words a day is an enhanced short story a year.
Twenty words a day is a short novella a year.
Forty words a day is a novella a year.
100 words a day is an enhanced novella a year.
Then, you suddenly jump to 500 a day and voila, you’re writing TWO novels a year!

Since Earl’s first post, I have written every day. 500 words is only 20 to 30 minutes of solid writing. That’s my lunch break at work. That’s something that can fit in to every day, without much effort and can build to something great. Children of the Hidden Realm in underway and Paper Dragons is finally getting the attention it deserves. Thanks to Earl Chessher and FWG.


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