Few things are more obvious to a writer than the following statement. If I could write five thousand quality words a day, it would change my life.This idea isn’t new, but it has been with me all day. And it’s as magical as lightsabers, warp drive, chocolate, or an endless supply of coffee.So let me say it again.If I could write five thousand quality words a day, it would change my life.What are some barriers to this goal?
Like most writers, even professional writers, I have a regular job that pays the bills. It provides useful things like health insurance for my family and a sense of security. In the positive margin of the pro and con log of the writing life, having a regular career allows me to finance my writing “hobby.” Computers, writing and marketing courses, book covers, and editors aren’t free. In summary, it’s hard to find time to write around a full-time job or jobs, but the money helps.
I didn’t list family at the top of this discussion, because I wasn’t sure if I should include it at all. Many writers will tell you that family demands are cancelled out by family support, but when it comes down to it, the family is what it’s all about. A lot of writers talk about quitting their jobs to write full-time but they don’t generally say they’re going to quit their families to write full time. In any event, I write at least in part for my family. I don’t consider them a barrier to success. They are the reason for it.
Physical injury is next on the list. Generally, I don’t have writer’s elbow or tendonitis but it does happen from time to time. For example, last week I reached into my backseat to pick up a backpack and twisted my wrist at a strange angle. This was dumb and completely my fault. It caused me to develop the aforementioned tendonitis in my right wrist. I am not a doctor, so this may not be a completely accurate medical diagnosis, but I know it hurts and it slows my typing. I also understand it is not going to get better typing five thousand words a day.
Steven Pressfield wrote a book called The War of Art, and articulated something he calls Resistance. His book should probably be required reading for anybody pursuing a creative endeavor. Resistance is all the psychological junk that gets in your way and prevents you from realizing goals. Much of it is disguised as important or crucial activities. (For example, I am trying to complete a novel, but suddenly decided I really need to write a blog post…
First Steps Toward 5k a Day
Today I’m going to share three simple steps that can help increase writing productivity. There are a ton of books, blogs, and experts on this subject. You can spend hours or weeks or months researching it or you can just listen to me and get started.
Set a realistic goal and create an accountability system. While my goal and life-changing Epiphany is that I want to write five thousand words per day, and that the premise stated above is absolutely true, I did something and ask myself another question. If I wrote two thousand words a day — really wrote two thousand words every… single… day, would that also change my life? I think it would. So I will make two thousand my minimum and five thousand my ideal daily goal. I already have a spreadsheet, which is going to good to on the past create a sense of accountability. So in summary, set a goal and make a spreadsheet to track your daily word progress. Or find one online.
Do your most important writing first. I worked on my novel for an hour and a half before starting this blog post.
Try voice dictation. I like using Dragon dictation on my PC laptop, but I would really like it on my Mac. So I may buy Dragon Dictation for the Mac. I am also using speech to text on my Android phone right now. The downside of voice dictation is the editing and clean up that it usually requires. There are many good reasons to use voice dictation, one of them being to avoid repetitive stress injuries caused by typing too much. However, I originally tried voice dictation to make myself think differently during the writing process. So there is that.
The bulk of my new word count goal will be fiction, but I believe two thousand to five thousand words a day will also allow me for some room to blog. Please look forward to further discussion of this topic another’s and leave comments. I would love to know what other people are doing to achieve their goals.Thanks for spending some time here on my blog and if you enjoy listening to podcasts and YouTube interviews, please check out www.KeystrokeMedium.com (where Josh Hayes and I talk about reading, writing, and everything in between.)Have a great day!
(The links below, are if fact, affiliate links. Using these links earns me a small commission, but that isn’t why I wrote this blog article. Both of the books are excellent. I have the older version of Dragon Naturally Speaking, and assume the newer version is also good.)