Completing NaNoWriMo this year started me thinking “Could I keep up that pace for a year?” I don’t mean writing a novel a month; it’s a common thing for writers to do 50K in a month while writing a book. And I don’t mean the standard “write fast, first drafts are garbage anyway, clean up for years later” approach.

Fifty-thousand words a month. What if those were fifty-thousand usable words? Words that represent short stories being sent out for publication (the chance to be published, at least). Words that represent blog posts, right here. Not tweets, not texts, not emails. Words fit for human consumption. Words chosen, hand typed! for their impact, for specific audiences.

Applied to a year, that’s 600,000 words. That’s just under two words to the mythical million words to put in to really hone the craft of writing. And in half the time Ray Bradbury said it would take!

I’m not saying it’s just a number of words to really find your voice as a writer, any more than Bradbury was saying it’s always going to take 3 years, no more no less, to become a writer. But these are words that get sent out immediately. Blogs get published. Short stories completed and submitted. There’s going to be feedback aplenty.

It works out to 1374 words a day, give or take, and roughly 9618 words a week. Figure a 5000 word short story, or somewhere in there, and seven (!) 660 word posts. Maybe some are more, maybe some are less. It’d be easier (ha!) to throw in working on a novel, to break it up and take some pressure off blogging. Also, just round it up to 1500 already.

  • 750 words a day towards a short story for the week. Then submit. Post results on the blog.
  • 500 words towards a novel. Stop at six months, start the revision process and start a new novel. Result is two 90,000+ word novels in a year.
  • 250 words a day at least on the blog. This post is just over 370 words in length. Doable

I can get 1000 to 1500 words a hour done, and I can set aside up to two hours a day, sometimes more. This is starting to look like a pretty edible elephant, all divided up like that.