Jarsto's Writing Blog

January 24, 2006

What's So Great About 1000

I managed to cross the 1000 word line again today, exactly four minutes before midnight. But it got me thinking about why 1000 words is such a magical boundary for me. It's not all that much more special than 1100 or 900, or 500 or 1500. Granted it's a little more special, but I don't think that's the reason it's special to me. Though in a round about way it's why I chose it originally.

For our next segment I will be nostalgic, readers are to consider themselves forewarned.

It was the month of March, 2003. I'd managed to write 80,000 words on my then current WIP, started in December of 2002. So I decided to try something I'd read about other people doing: setting a daily wordcount goal. I made my target 1000 words a day.

I stuck to that target like glue over the next 34 days with just 2 deviations. Over 1100 words on day 30, and a final sprint of over 2100 words on the final day. Every other wordcount for that period was between 1000 and 1099 words. The last two words of day 34 were "The End" the first time I'd even been able to put that under a novel of my own creation.

I lightly edited the novel, QS to give the intials of its title, about six months later. It tightened up some of the language, but it wasn't the sort of edit capable of tackling the major short-comings of the plot. Recently, while in the mood to indulge in revisiting old sins, I read that edited version. There are still major problems in it, but I now have the skills to see ways to, at the very least, start fixing those problems. Whether I'll ever actually try I don't know.

But regardless of whether I return to it, regardless of whether I will ever try to pitch it to an editor, I learned a whole lot from actually writing a book to the finish. I mentioned that in my last post as well, but it bears repeating. Perhaps the most important thing I learned from it was that I could actually complete an entire novel. That alone was a huge confidence boost.

At the time I picked 1000 words for a few reasons. It was a nice round figure, and I thought I could do it given my then current schedule. That I could indeed do it is obvious and now given the same time I might be able to do 1500 a day. But back then 1000 seemed like a lot to try for and 1500 seemed out of the question. In fact I believe I hesitated for a while between 500 and 1000, finally aiming for 1000 to see if I would make it.

And that, in a nutshell, is why 1000 has an almost mystical connection with a good day's writing for me. It's probably illogical, but it's nearly impossible for me to feel bad about my writing when I make it past 1000 words on any given day.


  • I saw you on Miss Snark's blog and decided to come exploring. Last night, in a fit of motivation (or maybe it was the residual effect of the Theraflu) I though about doing 1000 words a day on my WiP--the sequel to a book I just queried agents about.

    I decided to aim for 500 on workdays and 1000 on weekends. We'll see what happens.

    I go through these obssessive fits of writing where I want to nothing but sit in front of my computer and type all day. Unfortunately, I have another semester of school to teach before I can do that again.

    By Blogger The Beautiful Schoolmarm, at 02:34  

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