I Don’t Write 1,000 Words a Day But Here’s How I Plan To

Repetitive strain injury here I come

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

If I didn’t write most days for a week I’d spend the next week emotionally skewed. Whilst I pretty much stopped the game of publishing every day, writing every day is entirely different. Writing every day is consciously and honestly spending time on the craft that gives to you.

Publishing every day, just to publish every day, is giving someone else the power. The motivation shifts. You’re a slave to the algorithm and that’s not the aim here. Don’t get me wrong it can be nice to be a slave to the algorithm but that’s not why I write.

Separating those two things is quite interesting really. It’s interesting because I hadn’t realised they could be separated until I broke them in half and realised they both exist by themselves.

Moving forwards I plan to write 1,000 words a day. Not publish every day but write 1,000 words a day. Those 150 words just took me 2 minutes to write so at this rate, if I write about 15 minutes a day then I’ll have hit my target. 15 minutes is nothing. Here’s how I plan to write 1,000 words a day.

Unshackled by Perfection

To be honest I’ve never struggled too much with this issue of perfectionism. If anything it’s the complete opposite. I’m too heavy-handed and impatient. I will write, feel too embarrassed to read over my words so hit publish regardless and the state of the writing. I get a hit of dopamine. I get to cross the article off my to-do list. Everyone is a winner.

But I could do with refining things a little. There is a balance to be struck between perfectionism and patience. On the one hand, patience is the art of not pressing publish before you should. It makes sense to read your work, refine it a little before pressing publish. Perfectionism, however, is the opposite. It’s the act of keep rehashing the same words over and over. The balance of the two is important.

However, you don’t need either in order to write 1,000. If you want to write 1,000 words a day but you have a different publishing schedule altogether well there’s no need to be perfect or patient.

Write impatiently. Edit perfectly.

Write When You Feel Like It

There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about when to write. For me, it’s pretty simple. Write when you feel like it. But that doesn’t mean only write when you feel like but it means definitely write when you feel like it.

There are no rules for writing I feel but it’s absolutely a good idea to write when you do feel like it. For instance, my most-read article ever was written when I felt like it. In fact, I was in the middle of writing another article and a letter came through the door and I pivoted.

And that’s it, right? You don’t need to stick to some wonderfully structured system unless you want to. If you want to you can. I loosely have a system but I don’t always stick to it. If I stick to it too much I get bored and then completely rebel. So instead I allow myself to colour outside the lines a little bit and that way I don’t get bored. It ultimately results in more content created. Better content created.

See we’re on 556 words already. It’s not been ten minutes yet.

Write Where You Attention Goes

For a while, I tried to write out the night before what my topic was for the next day. I’d write the headline of the article I’d write for the next 5 days. Some productivity guru somewhere mentioned that planning the night before was the absolute silver bullet for being infinite productive. So I tried it.

What happened though, is either I’d forget to read the note that tells me what I’m meant to write about or I read the note and choose to ignore it. The thing is, I don’t do too well with writing prescriptively. Writing isn’t a prescription. You know it’s not ‘take 2 writing pills a day and you’ll feel better.’ It’s more creative than that. It’s important I write every day, so in a sense, it is ‘take 2 writing pills a day’, but those pills aren’t the same pills every day. Or maybe they are but the dosage isn’t. Anyway, my point is that writing is more creative than just a standard write this, write that.

I find the best way to write a lot is to write where your attention goes. If you don’t know where your attention is or if where your attention is doesn’t feel like much of a good story, you can use triggers to prompt your thinking.

Read a book, watch a Tedtalk or listen to a podcast. They are all great ways to prompt your thinking in a different direction, one worth writing about.

I would be cautious though because we’re not that great at knowing what makes a good story. Sometimes we think we know what makes a good story but most of the time that’s down to the audience to decide. So don’t limit yourself by thinking nobody will think it’s interesting. You’ll be surprised at what people find interesting.


Finally, Write for You

The most wonderful thing about writing is what it gives you. I don’t mean the traditional metrics, money, views blah, blah, blah. That stuff is cool and I’m not knocking it but it’s obvious. The stuff that is less obvious is the stuff that is worth talking about.

Like how great you feel after you’ve got something off your chest. How wonderful it is to finally articulate something you’d been chewing around in your head for ages. How nice it is when someone says thanks, that your writing helped them out in some way?

All that stuff is hard to measure but it feels quite lovely you know. And that’s the motivation you tap into when you aim to write every day.

1,010 you see. Well and the title.

340k+ views. Science-led self-help. BSc Biomedical Science, studying MSc Behavioural Science.

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