Saturday, 17 October 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 35: A Writer's Journey

While writing a post for this challenge, a few days ago, I reached a total word count of 1.8 million words. I was quite surprised when I updated my word count spreadsheet to see that it had actually happened. One moment I was a few thousand words short, the next moment...there it was.
It is something I started about two years ago after a Facebook friend mentioned her lifetime word count. Since I still had every manuscript I had written on my backup drive (I changed computers a few times over the years) it was purely a matter of opening each file and recording the word count on the spreadsheet.
While I include the word count of blog posts (it is creative writing after all), it accounts for less than ten percent of the total number of words.
In the overall scheme of things, this number of 1.8 million doesn't mean anything. What keeping track does show me, is how many words I write per day, on average. Right at the beginning I was still feeling my way around at creative writing and have only been a serious writer for the past four years. This is evident in my daily average number of words that have more than doubled from where I had started fifteen years ago.
I personally believe that it is not only the number of words that I have written over the years, that has helped me improve as a writer. What stands out to me is that it has become a daily necessity to me, to write. A habit has been established, and it is the habit that grows my word count.
Of course, doing 50,000 words in one month makes a significant contribution, but if it is only 50k in one year, there is no real habit, no real growth. At least not for me.
Anyone can write 1667 words per day for 30 days. The true test comes if you can write 500 words per day for 365 days. It is not the 500 words that is the issue but establishing the discipline of writing each day.
My daily average this year is 740 words per day. During NaNoWriMo months, the average goes higher, but that is temporary and I don't worry about it.
At 740 words per day, I can write 270,000 in a year. This translates to 30,000 words for blog posts (+/- 300 words twice per week) and two full-length novels of 120k words each.
Just looking at these numbers is enough to make my pants shake, and yet that is what I do.
I don't see a huge mountain of words rising before me, I read the numbers as they fall behind me. Because, like any other goal, I take it one step - or rather one sentence at a time.

This has been 35 days of sharing some of the things that I have learned on my journey as a writer. Thank you for being on this blog challenge journey with me. Until next time!